“In ‘promposals,’ you’re supposed to go big,” he told the newspaper. “It’s kind of a trending thing now, too, where everyone just asks in a really creative way.”
Here’s what Ahmad did, according to the newspaper: The 18-year-old wore a paintball vest, which held wires and paper tubes. The get-up, which he situated around his waist, was supposed to resemble an explosive device.
The senior also carried a sign, which read: “I kno it’s A little Late, But I’m kinda…THE BOMB! Rilea, Will U Be My Date To Prom?”
“I’m Middle Eastern, and I thought the bomb was kind of funny and clever,” he told the Columbian. “I wasn’t wearing the vest for more than, like, 20 seconds. I asked her, took a picture, took it off, and then the school got upset.”
School Superintendent Mark Mansell told the Columbian that Ahmad’s classmates didn’t seem concerned that the device was real, but school officials still felt that they should take action.
“Our administrators and staff are committed to creating learning environments where all students are safe and parents feel comfortable sending their children to school,” Mansell said in a statement e-mailed to The Post on Thursday. “Given all that is going on in the world today, even simulated weapons/devices can undermine our collective efforts to create a safe school and therefore are handled with appropriate disciplinary actions.”
Ahmad told the Columbian that the suspension “was really unfair, and it kind of felt racist. If anyone else did that, I feel like no one else would have gotten in trouble for it.”
Ahmad said he was born in Seattle and is of Middle Eastern background. Asked whether he understood why his actions could be viewed with particular sensitivity given the current climate, he replied: “Well, wouldn’t that just be fueling, like, the stereotypes?”“Being a Middle Eastern child, you’re growing up with all these bomb jokes. It’s kind of like it’s always a thing that’s there but … the people that were there, they understood the situation,” he added.
[This post, originally published on April 23, has been updated.]