KILLEEN, Texas – A Texas teen who was suspended for a day for carrying a classmate with an asthma attack to the nurse will not be returning to his school this year.
Mandy Cortes, mother of 15-year-old Anthony Ruelas, told the Associated Press she will not send her son back to Gateway Middle School in Killeen.
“I was proud of him for the way he handled the situation,” she said.
Last Tuesday, a classmate in Ruelas’ fifth period was overcome with an asthma attack, and his teacher emailed the nurse and was waiting for a response when the student fell from her chair to the floor, KCEN reports.
The student gasped on the floor for about three minutes before Ruelas took action.
“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,” the teacher wrote in referring Ruelas to the principal after the incident. “He walks out of classes and carries the other student to the nurse.”
Ruelas’ classmate later texted him for saving her life, according to the news site.
“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,” Cortes said.
The principal suspended Ruelas for one day, and Cortes came to the school to pick up her son. The next day, she said, school officials called to inquire about why Ruelas wasn’t in class.
The bumbling bureaucracy, and illogical approach to school discipline, convinced Cortes to pursue homeschooling, she said.
“Especially with it being an alternative school I feel like the kids hear enough ‘they’re bad’ for their behavior, you know, and for them to not be rewarded for really something that is brave?” Cortes told KHOU. “He is a hero to me.”
School officials have refused to speak with the media about the situation, but alleged in a statement last week that the district “applauds the efforts of students who act in good faith to assist others in times of need,” the AP reports.
Cortes, who said issues with the school about her son’s learning disability, also factored in her decision to homeschool, though she may enroll him in a public school next year.
The case has generated a barrage of comments from readers online over the last week.
“Is this what our country has come to?” Laura Miles questioned on Facebook. “A student is not allowed to help another student in obvious distress? I really feel sorry for the students these days. Schools really suck at teaching compassion and being a good Samaritan. Shame on our schools.”
“An email is NOT a call for help,” T.Steger posted to The Santa Rosa Press Democrat comments. “I’d have taken her as well. Good for that kid, that did help.”
“Rigid adherence to policy at the expense of good judgement,” Jeff DiCello added.
“You’re completely right,” Robert Dreyer posted in response. “A related issue is that over the years news stories about zero tolerance policies even or much more minor issues have amazed me … ‘rigid adherence to policy’ diminishes the credibility of those in charge and diminishes the effectiveness of the rules.”