When it came time to ask a date to the prom, Ibrahim Ahmad did what any high school senior would do — he strapped on a fake paper tube bomb vest and stood on stage in the cafeteria during lunch time. What could have possibly gone wrong?
Well, he was holding an explanatory sign, reading, “I kno it’s a little late, but I’m kinda … THE BOMB! Rilea, will U be my date to prom? (sic)” so it’s probably fine.
Administrators didn’t think so. Ahmad was immediately hit with a five-day suspension, meaning he will have to miss prom entirely. Mark Mansell, school superintendent, called the stunt — which has garnered media attention from across the country — completely disrespectful. “The student knew the principal wouldn’t support this,” claims the administrator. “He went ahead and did it anyway.”
Ahmad wants to know why no one can take a joke and believes racism played a part in his suspension. Since he’s Middle Eastern, he wonders, would they have given the same punishment to a white guy? “If anyone else did that,” the 18-year-old mused, “I feel like no one else would have gotten in trouble for it.” Considering how many white teens have orchestrated school shootings, I’m thinking probably yes, they would have. We live in a time where a 10-year-old was suspended for making pretend finger guns, so no. This plan was flawed, no matter who was holding the sign, because zero tolerance is everywhere.
Look, I can adapt to new times. I’m breezy. If promposals are going to be a thing, I can stop rolling my eyeballs and being a stick in the mud and see the harmless fun the kids are having. But there is not a prank in the world where walking around in a school, or any public place, with a fake bomb strapped to yourself is a good idea that will make you lots of friends.
“I wasn’t wearing the vest for more than, like, 20 seconds,” Ahmad defended, as the video, obtained by The Columbian, shows. It was laid back, the students laughed, but oh, Ahmad. Of course the administrators didn’t have a sense of humor — that’s one of the qualifications for the job. Anyone who has been a high school student knows that.
Jokes about terrorism played out in public like this will never be well-received. It’s a shame his lack of forethought cost him attending his senior prom, but Ahmad should count himself lucky his school doesn’t employ an overzealous school resource officer ready to react — or overreact — to any perceived threat.
For what it’s worth, the high school senior is having a good time on Twitter with the media reaction, spewing expletives at his school’s administrators, retweeting comments and eating up the attention.
Of course, none of it is taking away the sting of missing out on prom with Rilea.
I realize it’s beside the point, but he wasn’t kidding about waiting until the last minute. If nothing else, perhaps this can serve as a cautionary tale to future promposers — don’t wait until prom is fewer than five days away to find yourself a date, especially if your promposal involves simulated weaponry.