After reading the story, I understand why the school overreacted. Stereotypical bombs have a large countdown clock. I doubt most bombs actually have those on them. Any self educated person could look at the wiring and tell if it’s actually a clock or not. I would have probably known that before I joined my team’s electronics sub team. It’s a sad story that he may be charged with a hoax bomb over some English teachers lack of knowledge on electronics. (Keep in mind I don’t know what the clock looked like. I can’t watch the video since I’m in a quiet place.) Hope some FIRST team can recruit him. He just sounds like a good old robotics geek (like the rest of us) that didn’t think about the fact that his clock may look like the stereo typical bomb.
When I was a sophomore in my high school Aerospace class, we built model rockets and my group’s rocket looked pretty awesome so I decided to keep the rocket. During lunch that day, one of our deans walked up and examined it to make sure it didn’t have an engine/bomb/explosive in it. He was not particularly worried or suspicious, he just needed to “make sure”. I wonder if it would have changed for me if I had been from the same cultural/religious background as this poor kid.
This year I am participating in a seminar course discussing the implications and definitions of terrorism, and from what we’ve discussed in class it is really stupid to think that this kid is a terrorist. If the school is jumping to these conclusions, then they are misinformed about what terrorism is. The issue of terrorism goes much further than the shallow thinking that these school officials are exerting.
Gone are the days that kids building rockets, jets, and blowing stuff up is considered normal and encouraged, or at least tolerated with stern warnings. There have been far too many stories involving those subjects ending up very poorly for young people when the law gets involved(a friend of my wife got a felony conviction for experimentation). People see it as a threat and something that should be punished, but forget that that is how many people got into science and engineering, especially those involved in the early NASA programs. I have luckily managed to be smart enough about my more questionable experiments so as to avoid this very issue coming up. It feels wrong to know that some of the things I’ve done that have taught me a great deal about science and engineering carry with them a potential for jail time.
To be honest & only knowing the story over the internet, I am not sure the English teacher did anything wrong. Doesn’t everybody carry around dual function bomb/alarm clocks? The administration and the police however way overreacted. At least the police had the common sense to admit it and drop it.
I’m a grown man and this whole situation is so infuriating on so many levels that it makes me just want to cry because I am so ashamed of the level of racism, islamophobia, fear, and just plain ignorance, stupidity, and absurdity in this country.