Family of Texas ‘Clock Boy’ Ahmed Mohamed opens lawsuit against school
Ahmed Mohamed was arrested last September when he brought a homemade clock to his high school near Dallas, Texas. (File photo)
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The family of the Muslim boy who was arrested after he brought a homemade clock to school is suing the teen's former school and city.
The 35-page lawsuit, filed Monday, claims the the rights of the 14-year-old boy, Ahmed Mohamed, were violated. Named in the lawsuit were the Irving Independent School District, the city of Irving and the school's principal.
Mohamed was arrested last September after he brought a homemade clock to MacArthur High School in suburban Dallas. The bomb hoax charge was later dropped, but Mohamed was suspended from school for three days.
The incident drew national attention.
The family and their attorneys appeared at a news conference Monday in Dallas.
In December, Kelly Hollingsworth, representing the teen and his family, requested $10 million from the city of Irving and $5 million from the school district, and written apologies from the school district, Irving Police Chief Larry Boyd and Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne.
No specific dollar amount is listed in the lawsuit filed Monday.
Susan Hutchinson, the lead attorney in the case, said authorities showed "blatant disregard for the civil rights of this American" and that he was discriminated against based on his race and religion.
Representatives for Irving school district later issued a written statement.
"Irving ISD continues to deny violating the student's rights and will respond to claims in accordance with court rules," the statement said. "Because this matter is now in litigation, Irving ISD officials will have no further comment at this time. Irving ISD employees are focused on welcoming 35,000 students for the 2016-2017 academic year and doing everything possible to ensure each student is achieving his or her maximum potential."
The lawsuit accuses the school district of having a "long and ugly history of race struggles" and says the state of Texas and the school district "have a history of discrimination against Muslims."
The suit cites a pattern of disproportionate disciplinary actions for black students in the Irving Independent School District and a history of anti-Muslim sentiment in Irving. It also claims Mohamed's Fourth Amendment rights were violated when he was interrogated by police and principal Daniel Cummings for over an hour without his parents present before he was arrested.
The family later moved to Qatar, citing threats and a scholarship to attend a school there. They returned to Irving for summer vacation. They hired the same Fort Worth law firm, Hutchinson & Stoy, that is representing a Baylor University student who claims the school ignored her allegations she was raped by a football player.
"This is one of those moments where 'history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man's unending search for freedom,' " the suit reads. "In the case of Ahmed Mohamed, we have the opportunity to take a stand for equality and for justice, two things that should prevail above all else."
Ahmed Mohamed's father is Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, an immigrant from Sudan who is a United States citizen.
"I lost a lot of things in my life," Ahmed recently told The Washington Post. "The No. 1 thing people think about me is that I'm living 'the life' ... But I can't build anymore. My dad doesn't have a job anymore. I moved from my house to an apartment. I lost my place for building things. Over [in Qatar] it's very boring, I can't do anything. The only thing I can do is use the Internet."
By Allen Cone
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