A Texas mom is standing up for her 15-year-old son, who was suspended after helping a classmate suffering from an asthma attack, KCEN reports.
Anthony Ruelas said that on Tuesday morning, his eighth-grade classmate sat in class wheezing and gagging for three minutes while no one did anything. Fed up with waiting, Anthony moved to help, apparently breaking the rules.
“He may not follow instructions all the time, but he does have a great heart,” Mandy Cortes said of her son.
Anthony attends Gateway Middle School, an alternative school in Killeen, Texas, and has been in trouble before. But this time, Cortes said, his heart was in the right place, even if she didn’t see it at first.
“I wasn't trying to hear it,” the mom admitted. When she went to pick him up for the suspension, she cut him off, saying, “No, they already told me what happened; you walked out of class. And he was like, ‘OK, forget it,’ but I can tell, you know … your kids; I could tell he was upset.”
After Anthony was given a chance to explain, he told her he walked out because he was carrying a friend to the nurse’s office.
“I was like, what? I’m suspended for this? Like, I was trying to help her,” he explained.
Anthony said that the teacher was waiting for an email from the school nurse and told the class to remain calm in their seats, even as the girl gasped for air. The girl eventually fell out of her chair. Fearing for his classmate, Anthony ignored the order after several minutes of inaction, defying the teacher.
According to KCEN, the referral form from the teacher read: “During fifth period another student complained that she couldn’t breathe and was having an asthma attack. As I waited for a response from the nurse, the student fell out of her chair to the floor. Anthony proceeded to go over and pick her up, saying, ‘F—k that, we ain’t got time to wait for no email from the nurse.’ He walks out of class and carries the other student to the nurse.”
“I broke rules, but she needed help,” Anthony insisted.
“I don't, you 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,” his mom added.
The Killeen Independent School District declined to comment on the incident Wednesday, citing student privacy.
“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,” the statement by KISD Superintendent John Craft read.
Cortes, however, is still furious that her son got punished for doing the right thing.
“Especially with it being an alternative school, I feel like the kids hear enough of ‘they're bad’ or [about] their behavior … and for them to not be rewarded for, really, something that is brave, you know, he is a hero to me,” she said.
To add insult to injury, apparently the school’s administrators even forgot that they had placed Anthony on punishment. The school reportedly called Cortes on Wednesday wanting to know why Anthony was absent. She had to remind them that he was suspended.
Anthony, however, does not regret what he did; nor does he care about his suspension, according to KCEN. He was only concerned about his classmate’s health, adding that he would do the same thing again.
As for the classmate? He said that he got a text from her Wednesday, thanking him and telling him that she was “OK,” according to KCEN.
Anthony was supposed to return to school Thursday. His mother, however, told the news station that she was now considering homeschooling.
Read more at KCEN.