President Barack Obama on Wednesday invited to the White House a Texas teenager who was suspended from school for bringing a homemade clock to class which was mistaken for a bomb, The Hill reported.
The teen, 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed, was arrested by Irving police on Monday and suspended from MacArthur High School, after teachers mistook his clock for a bomb.
No charges were filed against the ninth-grader, who said he built the clock because he is interested in engineering and technology, according to The Hill.
The story went viral on social media and, by Wednesday afternoon, 730,000 tweets were made using the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed to discuss the story or show support for Mohamed.
Obama took to his personal Twitter account to invite Mohamed to show off the device at the White House.
“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,” the president tweeted.
Mohamed indicated at a press conference late Wednesday afternoon that he accepted Obama's invitation to come to the White House.
"I felt pretty down that no one would know about this," the smiling teenager said, according to The Hill, adding that the outpouring of online support made him "really happy."
Mohamed said that he was still suspended from school until Thursday, and that he was looking at transferring.
His father, meanwhile, said he believes his son was arrested because he is Muslim and named Mohamed. Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, a Sudanese immigrant, added that the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks may have played a role in the incident.
Irving Independent School District spokeswoman Lesley Weaver defended the actions of teachers and administrators at Mohamed’s school.
“We were doing everything with an abundance of caution to protect all of our students in Irving,” she said, according to the Dallas Morning News.
White House Press secretary Josh Earnest, however, disagreed with those remarks and said “it’s clear some of Ahmed’s teachers failed him” and that the best teachers should “nurture the intellectual curiosity of our students.”
Earnest said Mohamed would be invited to attend Astronomy Night at the White House on October 19, where he and other students will meet with astronauts, scientists and engineers.