15-year-old Anthony Ruelas attends Gateway Middle School in Killeen, TX, and he was suspended from school on Tuesday for physically bringing a classmate suffering an asthma attack to the nurse while his teacher "waited for [an email] from the nurse." After watching his classmate struggle to breathe for several minutes while the teacher asked the class to remain calm, Ruelas, concerned for her health, picked her up and carried her to medical attention, albeit rather rudely. According to the teacher's own statement,
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.”
Ruelas reportedly knew what would happen if he left the classroom without permission, and said he would do the same thing over again. "I broke rules but, she need help. Like she, needed help,” said Anthony. Mandy Cortes, Anthony's mother, was similarly surprised by the school's reaction, saying, "I don't think he should have used that language, but as far as getting suspended for walking out of class, he could have saved her life."
Gateway is an alternative school in Killeen for students who have struggled with disciplinary issues, which may be part of the strict response. Cortes, however, felt that this provided extra reason to applaud her child, rather than punish him. "Especially with it being an alternative school," she said, "I feel like the kids hear enough of ‘they're bad’ or their behavior...for them to not be rewarded for really something that is brave, ya know, he is a hero to me.”
Worse, after he was suspended, the school called Cortes the next day to demand to know why her son wasn't in class. The asthmatic classmate, on the other hand? She texted him later that night to thank him and let him know she was OK.