Before he was put in handcuffs for bringing a “homemade” clock to school and became an overnight celebrity, Ahmed Mohamed “racked up weeks of suspensions” and clashed with authority while attending Sam Houston Middle School in Irving, Texas, the Dallas Morning News reported.
Despite rumors about the 14-year-old’s past disciplinary problems, Mohamed’s status as a minor has prevented the Irving Independent School District from speaking out on the matter.
Critics have argued that his past behavior may have influenced how school officials responded to the clock that officials thought could have been a “hoax bomb.”
While the Mohamed family has ignored requests by the school district to allow officials to speak out about the case, Mohamed’s 7th grade history teacher, Ralph Kubiak, has become the first person to open up about the “weird little kid” that sat in his classroom and talked incessantly as soon as he learned English.
“I saw a lot of him in me. That thirst for knowledge… he’s one of those kids that could either be CEO of a company or head of a gang,” he told the Dallas Morning News.
Kubiak also confirmed that Mohamed would regularly bring gadgets to school that were much more complicated than the clock assembled in a pencil box that recently got him into trouble.
In middle school, Mohamed once pranked a classroom by using a “hand-built remote control” to repeatedly turn off a class projector during a teacher’s lesson in middle school. When he was sent to the principal’s office, he bragged about his First Amendment rights to try to get out of detention.
The teen has also, however, once created a makeshift phone charger to give a tutor’s dead cellphone some juice.
On top of detention, Mohamed’s discipline record, which was thick by some accounts, had weeks of suspensions.
A family friend, Anthony Bond, shared one of Mohamed’s early suspensions came from him and a cousin blowing soap bubbles in a bathroom, but he defended the 14-year-old and said the incident was blown out of proportion.
“Kids are kids,” Bond said. “He was a little boy in a new environment, and they were acting out.”
In another instance, Bond said he had to write a letter to the district defending Mohamed after he was suspended for defending himself in a hallway fight. That suspension was overturned.
As an eighth-grader, Mohamed claims he experienced daily anti-Muslim bulling by both a school administrator, who ‘terrorized’ him since the 6th grade by not letting him pray in school and unfairly punishing him, and students, who called him ‘Bacon Boy and Sausage Boy and ISIS Boy’.
Mohamed’s 7th grade history teacher Kubiak, now retired, reconnected with Mohamed months after his final day at Sam Houston Middle School.
Speaking on the phone shortly after the arrest that turned him into a celebrity, Mohamed reportedly told his former teacher, “I told you one day I’m going to be — and you told me yourself — I’m going to be really big on the Internet one day.”
Mohamed has now left the school district entirely and continuing his tour-by-invite to high-profile spots nationwide, including the White House.
Mohamed’s parents have since hired two high-profile attorneys to pursue their “severely traumatized” son’s “legal rights” in the aftermath of the clock incident.