The Texas school district that had 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed arrested for his “suspicious-looking” homemade clock isn’t apologizing, but tech leaders across the country are reaching out to him.
Despite the fact that police released him from custody and confirmed the clock was not a bomb, administrators at MacArthur High School still suspended Mohamed for three days. It issued a self-congratulatory letter to parents, saying, “We will always take necessary precautions to protect our students.” The tone-deaf response is infuriating many who are calling on the school to apologize and recognize the racism underpinning its treatment of Mohamed. A picture taken during Mohamed’s arrest shows him wearing a NASA t-shirt, looking distraught and confused as he’s handcuffed.
A few American leaders have taken matters into their own hands by lauding Mohamed publicly.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg invited him to visit Facebook’s campus and President Barack Obama sent a similar invitation for Mohamed to come to Washington, D.C.
“Having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest. The future belongs to people like Ahmed,” Zuckerberg said in his Facebook post. “Ahmed, if you ever want to come by Facebook, I’d love to meet you.”
President Obama mirrored the sentiment in a tweet: “Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.”
Mohamed caught national attention after a local news report of his arrest went viral. He brought a clock he made into school to show his teacher; another teacher thought it might be a weapon and called police. Mohamed was escorted off campus in handcuffs, but was eventually released without being charged.
Twitter has rallied to Mohamed’s side with the hashtag #IStandwithAhmed, with users asking tech companies to consider giving Ahmed an internship or science scholarship.
Tech leaders came out in droves on Twitter Wednesday after Zuckerberg’s post. Alexis Ohanian, founder of Reddit, said he wanted to reach out to Mohamed about a potential internship.
Mike Seibert, the lead flight director for the Mars Rover expedition, invited Mohamed to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.
Google told Mohamed to submit his clock to its upcoming online science fair for 13-18 year olds.
And Megan Smith*, CTO of the United States, tweeted the picture of Mohamed’s arrest with the popular diversity hashtag #lookslikeanengineer.
A few startup investors pointed out that the best way to fight the racism Mohamed suffered wouldn’t necessarily be to inundate Mohamed himself. Donations to science scholarships for underrepresented groups are less sexy but just as impactful.
* Kara Swisher is married to but separated from Megan Smith, chief technology officer for the Obama Administration. See her ethics statement here.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.