A Sikh 12-year-old spent about three days in a juvenile detention center this week after police arrested him at school in what some are comparing to the case of "clock kid" Ahmed Mohamed. Armaan Singh Sarai, a 7th-grader in Arlington, Texas, was accused of making a terrorist threat, though his family and the police were still arguing over on the circumstances days later, the Dallas Morning News reported.
The Arlington Independent School District alerted the local police department Dec. 11 after Armaan allegedly threatened to blow up his junior high school using a bomb in his backpack. Officers searched his bag but found no explosives, the Arlington Voice reported. Though Armaan said he was just kidding, the police arrested him.
"Unfortunately, when things like this occur, we do take this very seriously," Lt. Christopher Cook told the local NBC affiliate. "Whether it's written or spoken, when it crosses the line and causes this type of alarm, this panic in the community, that's when it really rises into this terroristic threat statute that's on the books."
Armaan went to juvenile detention. The school district said it notified his parents where he was, but the family said they panicked when he went missing.
That wasn't the only part of the story they were fighting over. In a viral Facebook post Tuesday, Armaan's cousin Ginee Haer wrote that "a bully in his class thought it would be funny to accuse him of having a bomb" and "without any questioning, interrogation or notification to his parents, called the police."
“He saw this battery thing I have for charging electronics and he assumed that it was a bomb," Armaan Singh said. pic.twitter.com/5TXotZMRN7
— Yukio Strachan (@boldandworthy) December 18, 2015
Armaan himself said classmate saw a battery pack wired into in his backpack and they exchanged wisecracks about it being a bomb. “I thought it was a joke, so I started laughing and he started laughing,” Armaan told the News. “The next thing you know, I’m reading with my friend, and police come in, grab me and take me outside.”
In her Facebook post, Haer linked the arrest to racism. Others, like the Washington Post, drew comparisons between the incidents involving Armaan and Ahmed, an Indian 14-year-old who gained international attention after being arrested for bringing to school a clock that looked like an explosive. Both boys were in the greater Dallas area, though Ahmed has since moved to Qatar.