A Texas middle school-aged boy was arrested on Friday, Dec. 11 for allegedly threatening to blow up his suburban Dallas public school in Arlington. The incident is now bubbling up with conflicting stories, a comparison to “Clock Boy” Ahmed Mohamed, and no mention of school zero tolerance policies behind these situations.
Armaan Singh, a student at Nichols Junior High in the Arlington Independent School District, was arrested last Friday on the charge of making a terroristic threat following a classmate’s report that Singh threatened to detonate a bomb at Nichols Junior High School. Singh’s “charging backpack,” had wires to charge electronics. Arlington PD said Singh admitted twice to telling another student he was going to blow up his school, using his backpack but Singh told officials he was only joking when he told a classmate he had a bomb in his backpack. Authorities kept Singh at juvenile detention through the weekend, released to house arrest, according to KDFW 4, who spoke to the 12-year-old.
“On Thursday, I was doing my test in my class and then the student behind me saw inside my backpack,” said Singh. “He saw this battery thing I have for charging electronics and he assumed that it was a bomb, and I said, ‘No, it’s not.’”
Arlington police spokesman Lt. Christopher Cook said it doesn’t matter that Singh told them he was joking, KDFW 4 reported. “People have got to learn they cannot make these types of threats, which cause alarm, which cause evacuations,” noted Cook. “Just because you say it’s a joke, it doesn’t get you out of trouble.”
At the time of the incident, police evacuated the classroom and quickly determined that there was no credible threat without calling in the bomb squad.
“Unfortunately, nowadays you cannot do that,” said Cook. “When speech crosses that line, whether it’s written, like on social media, or it’s verbalized, like it was in this manner, we take that very seriously.”
Singh and his family insisted that the other student made the whole thing up, and that authorities overreacted because of his Indian ethnicity, keeping him in custody for three nights. The Washington Post chimed in by asking if Singh was “Another ‘Clock Kid,'” referencing “Clock Boy” Ahmed Mohamed and drawing “parallels” between the two arrests: “The two cities near Dallas neighbor one another,and the circumstances of their arrests are similar.” They highlighted that Mohamed was Muslim and Singh, Sikh. Singh, of Indian descent, was born in San Antonio, according to the Dallas Morning News, which reported police said the Singh family’s faith and ethnicity were irrelevant to the case.
Breitbart Texas reports on the school-to-prison pipeline and the often devastating outcomes of these choking zero tolerance policies that criminalize typical kid behavior nationwide, which played a pivotal role in the Ahmed Mohamed incident in Irving ISD. The Associated Press agreed.
In November, local law enforcement arrested Arlington ISD high school student Shalaria Jones for multiple alleged social media threats in which she was connected to tweets calling out a campus shooting. Breitbart Texas reported Arlington PD Police Chief Will Johnson emphasized they took that threat serious. The Arlington ISD Student Code of Conduct handbook defines a terroristic threat as a “threat of violence to any person or property with the intent to cause a reaction by an official or volunteer to deal with emergencies, prevent or interrupt the occupation or use of a building, place others in fear of serious bodily injury, or impair or influence activities of the government or school.
Texas public school Student Code of Conduct handbooks are often posted online in school districts. They include a whole slew of potential violations written in accordance with the state’s 1995 Safe Schools Act and Chapter 37 of the Texas Education Code, including threats, hoaxes, plus perceived and sometimes even discretionary threats and their often harsh blanket consequences. In Texas, the education code grants school districts broad discretionary leeway and the authority to refer students for those discretionary offenses deemed “disruptive.”
Arlington ISD spokeswoman Leslie Johnston told Breitbart Texas: “When children claim to have bombs or threaten to do harm to students and tell other students this, we don’t consider it unreasonable to call the police. In fact, we work with the Arlington Police Department to investigate all threats and determine if they are legitimate.”
She emphasized, “We did attempt to contact the parents (last) Friday afternoon. We also had a meeting scheduled with the parents Tuesday, but they did not arrive for the meeting. There was a meeting with the parents held this morning.”
Johnston pointed out that that the district will do “whatever is necessary to maintain the safety and security of its students, and we are confident that our actions are appropriate in all respects.” Because of the student privacy law, Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), she cannot divulge information pertaining to specific disciplinary matters unless the parents sign a release to share such information and records, something that Ahmed Mohamed’s parents never signed for their respective school district in Irving.
Breitbart Texas reached out to Arlington police but did not hear back before press time.
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.