A Texas mother is defending her son who was suspended after helping a fellow student who was having an asthma attack.
Anthony Ruelas, 15, said his eighth grade classmate was wheezing and gagging for three minutes Tuesday morning while no one did anything. But when Anthony did do something, he apparently broke the rules.
“He may not follow instructions all the time, but he does have a great heart,” said Mandy Cortes, Anthony’s mother.
Anthony, who attends Gateway Middle School, an alternative school in the Killeen Independent School District, has been suspended before, but Tuesday was different.
“No, they already told me what happened, you walked out of class,’ ” she said to him. “And he was like, ‘OK, forget it.’ But I can tell, you know your kids. I could tell he was upset.”
Anthony had walked out of class 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,” said Anthony.
Anthony said the teacher was waiting on an email from the nurse and told the class to remain calm and stay in their seats. Fearing for the girl’s health, Anthony didn’t listen and after several minutes of inaction, went against the teacher’s wishes to help his friend.
Anthony’s referral form from his teacher reads in her handwriting:
“During 5th 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— 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, like she needed help,” Anthony said.
“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,” his mother said.
The school district said it couldn’t provide details because it involved “student discipline and/or health records.” However, the statement from John Craft, superintendent of Killeen Independent School District, concluded: “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.”
However, Cortes said instead of “applause” 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 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.
Anthony said he wasn’t concerned about the two-day suspension, only the girl’s health, and even with the outcome would help her again if given the chance.
“Most definitely,” he said.
On Wednesday, the school called Cortes asking why Anthony was absent. Cortes had to remind them that the school suspended him.
Anthony said he got a text from his classmate Wednesday thanking him and letting him know she was ‘ok.’
Anthony was able to return to school Thursday, but his mother is now considering home-schooling him.
Source: USA Today