I have to say, I don’t usually talk about something so political on my blog. But this story has got me so fired up and thinking, I have to write something. There are so many points of view that affect what happened to the Muslim student, Ahmed Mohamed, that it’s hitting a big nerve with people. In fact, I’m reading so many points of views and opinions, it’s time I threw mine into the ring. Because I seem to be adding to the conversation of many Twitter and newspaper article comments about School Culture. That is a big part of this. It’s the reason the officials treated the clock project with caution. Any school in our country would. That I think is as equally sad as taking it to the levels they did with arresting, finger printing, and questioning Ahmed without his parents.
The fact that school officials and police have to deal with the threat is outrageous in American society to begin with. That is clearly an outrage in itself. I know. I’ve had to deal with teaching children for all most two decades of Lock Down Drills, watching for people that might shoot kids on the playground from hills that surrounded my school, or think of what I’d do if someone should come through the school with a gun. These are things that, when it comes down to it, are more acceptable than the fact Ahmed is a Muslim and a student of color.
School Culture isn’t what it was when I started teaching in 1997. The innocence of American schools has been destroyed. It started with Columbine, when two kids could change the make up of American schools by deciding that their enemies needed to be destroyed instead of dealing with high school in the usual way kids had in the past. Then, Sept. 11 happened. Terrorists won by causing a rooted fear in American society. Distrust is connected with Muslim and Islamic people. This incident shows the 20 years of progression of what American Schools have become.
Who do we blame? I want to say ourselves. But that wouldn’t be right. There were events that living through them, caused the fear. But I do know the progression of the School Culture. And the way the rules are set by politicians and adminstrators following laws to prevent these things from happening again. Truly, Ahmed is not a victim of this alone. We are all victims from the things we are losing from the youth who are affected by it.
I’m an 80s kid. I remember the rebel and radical images portrayed of kids back in the 80s. Heavy metal was going to rot everyone’s brains. Warning stickers were put on albums to protect the innocence of youth. D & D was children devil worshipping. What was to become of society? It’s almost laughable now to what the current young generation has to deal with. Some of those things that were considered bad actually made my generation strong. Maybe with all of this being put into light, the School Culture will be reexamined. But what happens when one kid slips through the cracks, sets off a bomb, and the authorities are blamed for not being tough?
We got to approach this different. But how? I’m at a loss here. It’s hard to suggest a solution with 20 years of attacks on the school system, violence, and terrorist fears haunting most of America. I don’t know if there is a clear answer. But there has to be a start. Maybe what happened to Ahmed could be the start of that; the healing this country needs. I look forward to seeing what this young man will do with his opportunities from this, and maybe it will help future school officials and police to take a step back and think before assuming someone is something by how they look. If they had taken a close look at him, he was so geeked out, with glasses and a NASA t-shirt, he could have been on the “King Of The Nerds” reality show. And talking to his parents would have been a perfect way to handle it than cuffing and fingerprinting him. The fear can’t take us over or the real terrorists will have won. Taking a step back and looking at this situation will hopefully bring change that is so needed in our schools today; looking at kids again as kids.