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Family outraged as 12-year-old Sikh boy arrested after school bully accuses him of having a bomb

Family outraged as 12-year-old Sikh boy arrested after school bully accuses him of having a bomb

By Michael E. Miller for The Washington Post

Note: Sikh are not Arab or Muslim

It’s déjà vu in the Dallas suburbs.

Three months after “clock boy” Ahmed Mohamed’s homemade gadget was mistaken for an explosive device, another minority student in a neighboring community has been arrested for allegedly making a bomb threat at school.

The 12-year-old Sikh boy, Armaan Singh, was arrested on Dec. 11 for allegedly threatening to blow up Nichols Junior High School in Arlington, Tex. He was handcuffed, held in a juvenile detention center for three days and suspended from school.

But Singh says he is innocent, and that it was another student who caused the whole mess by mistaking his backpack for a bomb.

“I thought it was just a joke, so I started laughing and then he started laughing too,” Singh said of the accusation during an interview with the Dallas Morning News. “The next thing you know, I’m reading with my friend and police come in, grab me and take me outside.”

Singh’s family has leveled accusations of “discrimination” against the school and police, and demanded the charges be dropped.

“It hurts my heart and boils my blood that there are people stupid enough out there [to be] not only accusing us, but our innocent children of being terrorists!” wrote Singh’s cousin, Ginee Haer, in a Facebook post that quickly went viral this week. “It sickens me even more that there are people even more stupid out there, taking their word for it.”

Police and school officials, however, insist that they acted appropriately in the face of a bomb threat — one of a string of such threats in the Dallas area in recent months.

Arlington Police say that Singh confessed to telling a fellow student that he had a bomb in his backpack.

“People have got to learn they cannot make these types of threats, which cause alarm, which cause evacuations,” police spokesman Lt. Christopher Cook told the Morning News. “Just because you say it’s a joke, it doesn’t get you out of trouble.”

As in the Ahmed Mohamed case in September, the school district says that it’s prevented from discussing the case in detail by student confidentiality rules. But the Arlington Independent School District defended its decision to call in the cops.

“The AISD will do what is necessary to maintain the safety and security of its students, and we are confident that our actions are appropriate in all respects,” a district spokeswoman told the Morning News.

There are a number of parallels between Singh’s arrest and those surrounding Ahmed Mohamed in Irving, Tex., earlier this year. The two cities near Dallas neighbor one another, and the circumstances of their arrests are similar.

Mohamed, 14, is Muslim. Singh is Sikh, a separate religion common in his parents’ native India. Because of their turbans and beards, however, Sikh men are sometimes confused for Muslims. In the United States, Sikhs have come under increasing attack amid a rise in xenophobia and anti-Islam violence.

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