On Friday (Dec. 4), the U.S. Justice Department announced it would be launching an investigation into Ahmed Mohamed's former high school, the Irving School District, in order to determine whether or not the 14-year-old's civil rights were violated.
In September, Ahmed was arrested at his high school and taken to a juvenile detention center under the suspicion he'd created a "hoax bomb," which was actually a homemade clock. Last month, Ahmed's family announced it was seeking $15 million in damages and written apologies from the Irving School District, police chief and mayor.
"The Civil Rights Division has an investigation into the Irving School District regarding both harassment and the discipline of students on the basis of race, religion and national origin," a Justice Department official said. According to AL.com, Attorney General Loretta Lynch "described [Ahmed]'s arrest as an 'extreme case' of growing fears over Muslims in America."
Ahmed's family feels Islamophobia is at the crux of their son's case. In September, lawyers representing Ahmed's family sent a letter to Irving City Hall, part of which read:
Both on campus and at the station, Irving police knowingly disregarded Ahmed’s rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. Ahmed was detained and interrogated when there was no reasonable suspicion to belief that a specific crime had been committed or that he was about to commit any crime. The attempt to coerce from Ahmed a confession to a “hoax bomb” violation, and the later public castigation he received from Irving officials for his refusal to be coerced violated both Ahmed’s procedural and substantive due process rights.
Reuters reports that Ahmed has accepted an offer from the Qatar Foundation "to study at its Young Innovators Program." He has not announced any plans to return to the Irving School District.