After President Obama weighed in on the incident in Irving, Texas, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest explained why the president decided to personally address the situation.
Earnest asserted that 14-year-old student Ahmen Mohamed, was “wrongly handcuffed in his own school yesterday simply for bringing in a clock” and that the president wanted Americans to do a little soul searching.
“I do think that for all of us this has the potential to be a teachable moment, to search our own conscience for biases that might be there,” he said.
Earnest asserted that the school officials who informed law enforcement officials about the device had let Mohamed down. “At least in this instance, at least some of Ahmed’s teachers failed him and that’s a shame and I think it tugs the heartstrings a bit,” he said.
According to reports, one teacher reported the digital device to the principal after it beeped in her class. The principal then called the police.
When asked directly if he thought the boy was arrested because of his race, Earnest referred to “the power of stereotypes” but declined to blame racial prejudice directly. He admitted, however, that “difficult and penetrating questions need to be asked” about the incident.
Breitbart News asked if the president had seen a photo of the homemade clock, but Earnest admitted that he didn’t know.
When asked by Breitbart News if the Secret Service might make a similar mistake with the suspicious device, Earnest dismissed it as a “hypothetical” situation. Earnest also admitted that he wasn’t aware of any specific zero tolerance policies led to the arrest of the boy.
Obama has extended an invitation to the boy to attend a planned astronomy night next month at the White House.
“We are hopeful that Ahmed will feel right at home here,” Earnest said.