For me to talk about race is just adding to the fodder. This issue is too multilayered for that. I acknowledge that brown children are limited to the unimaginative capacities of mainstream white society. So on one layer this is straight forward racism, religious stereotyping and otherness brought to the forefront yet again. I Stand with Ahmed.
Underneath there is a second layer... Police brutality. A story we’ve continually been force fed all summer long. Brown bodies dehumanized by excessive force. Handcuffing a kid in front of his classmates and taking him into interrogation without his parents contacting him is a dehumanizing scare tactic. If he were white, would he have had a better chance with the authorities? Would they have sent him home and had the authorities pick him up from home? I Stand with Ahmed.
But there’s a third layer to all this- school policy. Schools must keep all students safe… first. Being a former teacher, I know firsthand that kids bring objects to school that they shouldn't. Where I worked we had a bomb threat plan, a lightning policy, a tornado plan, a lockdown plan, all kinds of plans and drills which were meticulously practiced in an effort to keep parents feeling like their child was a priority while in our care. My own kids come home monthly talking about the different drills they perform as if it's a fun alternative to indoor recess. And as a parent, I know the school can’t control everything, but I feel reassured they are doing their part to keep my child’s safety at the forefront. Let's all be real, this planet isn't safe because of poor decisions made by people on this planet.
If Ahmed's awesomeness was not an assigned project I can understand the teacher's shock, fear and confusion with a highly well put together device she had no clue how to take apart. This being said, I stand with the teacher. It is the responsibility of the teacher to think of the safety of ALL students when at school. She followed protocol and acted appropriately in as much as alerting the proper channels when the suspicion arose. Whether this suspicion was rooted in fear, racism or confusion she made the proper move. I Stand with the Teacher.
It's juvenile for us to believe this to be a one sided story of racism and religious stereotyping. It is, but that's not the only revelation that comes from this incident. Police brutality, school policy, pressures on teachers to protect students, the lack of energy toward developing young minds and other issues I've yet to discuss or uncover come to light here.
For me, I do not want my kids to be compromised because a teacher feels bullied into not acting because of how racist, sexist or otherwise it seems when following protocol. The media needs to stop blaming the school and start looking at the police. Should the police have handled things differently? ABSOLUTELY should the school? ABSOLUTELY NOT. And for any of us to think otherwise is asking for more Columbines, more Sandy Hooks, and other deplorable situations to occur. Teachers aren't soldiers and they're asked to make battlefield decisions regularly. It's time we evaluate this request and look closer at our society and uncover how we got in this fearful place in the first place. I stand with Ahmed, but I also stand with the teacher.
None of these images are mine
I'm a former teacher and former college athlete, currently working to make life more equitable for all people. My mission is to get parents to partner with their child's teacher.