Target: Christopher Halpayne, Gateway Complex
Goal: Apologize for suspending a middle school student for helping another student get medical attention.
Anthony Ruelas, an eighth grade student in Killeen, Texas, was suspended for walking a student experiencing an asthma attack to the nurse. According to the teacher’s report, when the student began wheezing and gasping for air, the teacher instructed all students to remain calm until she received an email response from the nurse. Fearing for the health of his peer, Anthony Ruelas helped the student stand up and walk out of the classroom to the nurse’s office. The student had fallen to the floor by the time that Anthony took action. He was then suspended for two days for not following the teacher’s instructions.
Suspending Anthony not only deterred him from learning but also demonstrated terrible values on the part of the middle school. It is unclear why a middle school would more quickly suspend a student than see that they receive praise for doing the right thing. The teacher that stood idly by while a suffocating student fought for her life should be the one to receive serious negative consequences.
Gateway Middle School is an alternative school that apparently does not put the well-being of their students first. In fact, as seen on their website, all alternate school staff is labeled “Teacher At-risk Middle School.” This terminology clearly demonstrates that their focus is on the negative pasts of the students and not their potential for growth.
Perhaps if Anthony were in a school where he wasn’t suspended for saving a student’s life, he’d be able to thrive in education. Show your support for Anthony’s bravery by demanding a transparent reassessment of values at Gateway Middle School, as well as urging an official apology from the school and the teacher for disrupting his learning.
Dear Principal Halpayne,
A school should be a place of learning where adult teachers encourage interest in education and selfless values. Apparently, at Gateway Middle School, this is not the case. A student was suspended for taking action to save a distressed student’s life when no one else would. The teacher did absolutely nothing as a suffocating student fell to the ground and then was more interested in seeking punishment for Anthony than acknowledging his heroic actions.
Anthony Ruelas should not have been suspended for taking a student to get medical help. Anthony not only did the right thing but was brave enough to stand up to an adult that needs a lesson in priorities. I not only support Anthony’s bravery but demand an official apology from the school and the teacher. Furthermore, a reassessment of educational values at Gateway Middle School is in order. An apology will only be empty words if it isn’t supported by actions assuring that no student will ever be suspended for doing good again.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Ana Varela