Armaan Singh Sarai, a 12-year-old boy from an American-Sikh family, was arrested by the Dallas police on December 11 and held in a juvenile detention centre for three consecutive days after he wasaccused by a bully classmate of carrying a bomb in his backpack to Nichols Junior High School in Arlington. Nichols’ principal Julie Harcrow, reportedly thought he was planning to blow up the school, and so without any “questioning, interrogation, or notification to his parents”, called the police who searched Armaan’s backpack and found nothing threatening. Despite the fact that there was no bomb and that Armaan had endured three open heart surgeries in the past, he was put behind bars “for making a bomb threat”, which is a felony. Neither the police nor the school informed Armaan’s parents where he was being held.
Armaan’s cousin, Ginee Haer, described his ordeal in a Facebook post that has since gone viral:
What was Armaan’s fault? Apparently, he and other students had been joking about bomb threats, yet Armaan was the only one arrested. In an email to Principal Harcrow, Armaan’s older brother, Aksh Singh wrote:
“My little brother Armaan Singh, 12 years of age, a loved kid by many was taken from school to Kimbo Juvenile center because he AND other students were joking about bomb threats. I know we live in a time where such an accusation is serious, but this is outrageous and I demand a justified reason for why a 12-year-old INDIAN boy was taken into police custody and sent to a jail.”
Ridiculous, Texas. This 12 year old Sikh boy in US was jailed after a bully in school 'joked' he had a bomb https://t.co/HAP8sygRlm
— Indrani Basu (@IndraniBasu88) December 18, 2015
The police contest Haer’s and Singh’s version of events. Lieutenant Christopher Cook, an Arlington PD spokesman, told the Dallas Morning News:
“Armaan admitted to us that he mentioned a bomb, but insisted that he was only kidding. People have got to learn they cannot make these types of threats which cause alarm, which cause evacuations. Just because you say it’s a joke, it doesn’t get you out of trouble.”
In September, Ahmed Mohammed, a 14-year-old Muslim boy, was arrested in the neighboring city of Irving for bringing a homemade clock to school that a teacher thought was a bomb.