They handcuffed the kid.

I for one remember being 14 years old: I spent it overwhelmed. In junior high (7th and 8th grades in my school district at the time), my general proficiency at the whole learning thing bit me where it hurt the most: my ego. My success in 7th grade placed me in advanced classes the next school year that even carried the letter “X” in their name to signify their specialness. “English 8X,” and such.

It overwhelmed me. “Math 8X” was algebra delivered one year early and some geometry offered up two years early, and I nearly flunked. I liked my side projects too much: I wrote all the time, more than was expected or required in my English class by my English teacher, because that is what a 14-year-old who likes a certain subject in school does. I would bring my extra work into class to show my teacher because I could not not think about Math and Science enough that year. My teacher was bright enough to let me read my work in front of class to help me along, because I suspect she knew that my fragile ego needed to know that there indeed were things I could do well.

So I understand Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old at MacArthur High School, near Dallas, Texas. He is the opposite of me: he loves science and engineering and devotes whatever extra time he has to tinkering and building things. On Monday, he brought in to school something he had thrown together in 20 minutes: a clock. He was arrested, led out of school in handcuffs by five police officers, and given a three-day suspension, which he is still serving. He was spared spending any time in jail, but he was fingerprinted and locked up in the Irving juvenile detention center. Here is the moment of his arrest (please notice the NASA t-shirt):
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