IRVING, Texas – A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the father of a Muslim student who was detained by school officials in 2015 over a clock that looked suspiciously like a bomb.
Former MacArthur High School student Ahmed Mohamed’s father sued the Irving Independent School District and the City of Irving after the then 14-year-old was detained and questioned by school officials over a homemade clock he brought to school in September 2015.
Mohamed was briefly charged with making a “hoax bomb,” but the charge was later dropped and his father alleged officials discriminated against the boy because he’s Muslim, and violated his constitutional rights, the Dallas Morning News reports.
“They knew it wasn’t a bomb, that he never threatened anyone, that he never said it was a bomb, that he never alarmed anyone,” Mohamed’s attorney Susan Hutchison said when the suit was filed. “Despite all of those things, they yanked him out of his chair, put him in handcuffs and arrested him. There was no cause for arrest.”
Hutchison said in November that the teen deserved $15 million for his suffering, $10 million from the city of Irving and $5 million from the school district, according to the New York Post.
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay disagreed and approved the defendants’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
“First, other than wholesale conclusory and speculative statements, Plaintiff does not allege any facts from which this court can reasonably infer that any IISD employee intentionally discriminated against A.M. based on his race or religion,” Lindsay wrote, according to the Post.
The Morning News pointed out that Lindsay also specifically addressed the lawsuit’s allegations that MacArthur High School Principal Daniel Cummings was motivated by something other than student safety when he removed Ahmed from his classroom.
“This is not a situation in which a person standing in Principal Cummings’s shoes can take unnecessary risks,” Lindsay wrote. “One the one hand, by not taking action he is faced with the gruesome prospect of death or serious injury of persons had the device actually been a bomb and exploded; and. On the other hand, he is faced with a federal lawsuit for denial of a student’s constitutional rights because the device turned out not to be a bomb.
“Woe onto the principal who fails to act on a potential threat that later becomes a reality!”
Both the school district and city released statements commending the decision.
“The court recognized the challenging situations faced by the individuals who serve our communities in public schools,” district attorneys Katheryn Long, Carlos Lopez and Melisa Meyler wrote Friday. “Schools and principals must make decisions every day regarding student safety. The opinion confirms that there was no suggestion of discriminatory intent by any school district employee.”
The ruling comes not long after a judge dismissed a separate defamation lawsuit filed by the family against Glenn Beck and former Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne, who discussed the situation on Beck’s show.
After a publicity tour that involved stops at the White House to visit with former President Obama, and a stop to chat with wanted war criminal and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, the Mohameds move to Qatar, where Ahmed is studying on a scholarship offered in the wake of the hoax bomb incident.