President Barack Obama has invited the 14-year-old Texas student accused of bringing to school a "hoax bomb" that was really a homemade clock to the White House.
Obama praised Ahmed Mohamed, saying more kids should be inspired to like science.
"Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House?" Obama tweeted Wednesday.
Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great.— President Obama (@POTUS) September 16, 2015
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest addressed the controversy during a briefing Wednesday and said Mohamed has been invited to the White House for an astronomy night.
Josh Earnest: Ahmed is a chance for us to check our own biases. Was invited to the WH Astronomy night.— Fred Lucas (@FredLucasWH) September 16, 2015
"There are millions of teachers all across this country that dedicate themselves on a daily basis — many of them are underpaid too — but they dedicate themselves on a daily basis to trying to nurture the curiosity of their students. That’s heroic work," Earnest said. "But at least in this instance, Ahmed’s teachers failed him. That’s a shame. It tugs at your heart strings a little bit."
"For all of us, this has the potential to be a teachable moment, to search our own conscience for biases that might be there. The reason you should do that is because this is an instance in which you have people who have otherwise dedicated their lives to teaching our children who failed in that effort because of things in their conscience, because of the power of stereotypes," Earnest continued. "There is more that needs to be learned by this situation."
Police in Irving, Texas, announced during a press conference Wednesday that they would not pursue charges against the teenager, as there was no evidence that he intended to cause any harm. Mohamed was detained by police after a teacher said the homemade clock, which beeped during class, looked like a bomb. The Irving Independent School District is expected to release its own statement later Wednesday.
Earlier Wednesday Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton also threw her support behind Mohamed in a tweet using hashtag "#IStandWithAhmed" which began trending nationally.
Assumptions and fear don't keep us safe—they hold us back. Ahmed, stay curious and keep building. https://t.co/ywrlHUw3g1— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 16, 2015
Editor's Note: The headline on this story had been updated to emphasize the student was falsely accused, of building a “hoax bomb.” The story was also updated to include comments from White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.