A Texas mother is on the defensive after her 15-year-old son was reportedly suspended from school for helping a fellow student who was having an asthma attack.
On Jan. 19, Anthony Ruelas watched an eighth grade classmate fall on the floor while struggling to breathe during an asthma attack at Gateway Middle School, an alternative school in Killeen. According to the teen, as the teacher waited for the school nurse to respond to an email, as is school protocol, he got fed up with waiting and began to fear for the girl’s health. He picked his classmate up himself and carried her to the nurse.
Despite trying to help his classmate, Ruelas was told that he broke the school’s rules. His mother was called to the school and told that her son was suspended.
Ruelas has been suspended from the school before and his mother, Mandy Cortes, didn’t want to hear his excuse about this suspension at first.
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"I wasn't trying to hear it,” Cortes told KCEN.
When she picked her son up from school for the suspension she reportedly told him, "No, they already told me what happened you walked out of class."
"[Ruelas] was like 'ok forget it but I can tell, ya know you know your kids, I could tell he was upset," Cortes added.
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Her son then explained the incident to his mother.
“I was like what? I’m suspended for this? Like, I was trying to help her,” Ruelas said.
“I broke the rules but, she needed help,” he added.
When Ruelas decided to carry his classmate to the nurse, he allegedly told the teacher, “F*** that, we ain’t got time to wait for no email from the nurse.”
“I don't, ya know think, he should have used that language, but as far as getting suspended for walking out of class, he could have saved her life,” Cortes said.
John Craft, Superintendent for the Killeen Independent School District, released a statement regarding the incident.
The District is unable to provide details related to the matter as it pertains to information involving student discipline and/or health records. In an effort to protect students' rights to confidentiality granted under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the details of the investigation and/or disciplinary actions may not be provided by the district at this time. The Killeen ISD maintains the safety of our students, staff and campuses as a priority and applauds the efforts of students who act in good faith to assist others in times of need.
Cortes said that instead of the “applause” the district claims to give students who help others, her son was punished for doing something good.
"Especially with it being an alternative school I feel like the kids hear enough of ‘they're bad’ or their behavior, or you know, and for them to not be rewarded for really something that is brave, ya know, he is a hero to me,” Cortes said..
Despite the trouble and the two-day suspension, Ruelas said that he would help his classmate again if given the chance, no matter the outcome.
To make matters worse, Cortes received a call from the school the morning after the incident asking why Ruelas was absent. She reminded the school that they had suspended her son.
Cortes said that she is currently considering home-schooling as an option for her son.