A mother is considering a home school education following the suspension of her son at a Texas middle school, even though his actions possibly saved another student’s life.
The incident happened on Tuesday at the Gateway alternative middle school in Killeen when a student began having problems breathing in class.
The teacher emailed the school nurse and urged the other students to remain calm, but by that time the student was on the floor coughing and struggling to breathe due to an asthma attack.
At that point, Anthony Ruelas, 15, took it upon himself to aid the ailing student. He lifted her up, took her out of class and to the nurse’s office, saying they didn’t have time to wait for an email.
The incident was documented in the teacher’s referral:
“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—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.”
Later, Ruelas learned he would be suspended for two days, despite his brave, selfless act.
“I was like, ‘What? I’m suspended for this?’ Like, I was trying to help her,” Ruelas told KCEN-TV. “I broke rules, but she needed help, like, she needed help.”
Ruelas’ mother, Mandy Cortes, was shocked by the school’s decision.
“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.
Attempting to stem backlash, the Killeen Independent School District released a statement the following day saying they “applauded” the student’s efforts.
“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.”
Yet, Ruelas’ two-days of suspension remained in place.
Cortes said she was proud of her son’s good Samaritan acts, and considered him a hero.
“Especially with it being an alternative school, I feel like the kids hear enough of ‘They’re bad,’ or their behavior, and for them to not be rewarded for really something that is brave… he is a hero to me,” she said.
Incredibly, school staff called Cortes the next day to ask why her son was absent. “She had to remind them they suspended him,” reports KCEN-TV.
The asthmatic student reportedly texted Ruelas the next day to thank him and say she was “OK.”