KILLEEN -- A Killeen family is thanking an eighth-grade student who got suspended after he helped their daughter during an asthma attack last week.
Anthony Ruelas’ mother, Mandy Cortes, says her 15-year-old son was suspended Tuesday, January 19th, for going against his teacher's orders to help a fellow classmate, Tishica Fisher, 15, who was having an asthma attack.
Fisher’s parents say they are furious with how the teacher, Gateway Middle School, and the Killeen Independent School District handled the situation, especially since it happened at an alternative school, a place they believe is supposed to give students a second chance and help make them better people.
Fisher says she barely remembers the attack she had during math class.
“All I know is I blacked out and I felt myself getting picked up by somebody,” said Fisher.
That somebody was Anthony Ruelas.
“It really wasn't his problem to get involved,” said Fisher’s stepfather Jeffery Bailey.
But Ruelas did get involved, to his own downfall.
“They were so quick to write him up and suspend him, but what about her?" said Bailey of the alleged lack of concern for his daughter.
Ruelas was given a two-day suspension after he went against his teacher's orders and left his classroom to carry fisher to the nurses office two buildings over.
“I was wheezing really bad and I couldn't breathe,” said Fisher. “Then like three minutes after that, I hit the floor and that's when he helped me, and the teachers told him not to touch me, they were just gonna leave me there."
Bailey said the school’s security office was right across the outdoor walkway, and when students get into fights security responds immediately.
“Where was security at and why didn't the nurse come to the room?” said Bailey. “It took a email?"
Bailey’s referring to the teacher's referral letter, which said Ruelas wouldn't wait for the teacher to get an email back from the school nurse.
Ruelas’ 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—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.”
“I was mad, I was like 'I know they just did not suspend him for that!'" said Bailey after he learned of Ruelas’ suspension.
The school district released this statement Monday:
Killeen Independent School District January 25, 2016
For Immediate Release
The Killeen Independent School District maintains the safety of our students as our number one priority. The incident at Gateway Middle School as reported on 1/19/16 was investigated. Students were not disciplined for providing aid to another student on 1/19/16 at Gateway Middle School. Students rendering assistance and their efforts are to be applauded. The district employs registered nurses on our campuses to include Gateway Middle School, to assess and assist with student and staff medical needs as they arise and to ensure the health and well-being of our students.
-John Craft, Superintendent Killeen Independent School District
“I know the school has a policy or whatever about the kids not touching kids or whatever, but I don't think that's right,” said Bailey.
Bailey and Scallion said they were called by the school nurse an hour after the incident and were told she’d had a panic attack. They said the nurse didn’t have them pick her up from school and Fisher had to return to class. Fisher said her classmates have been teasing her about faking the asthma attack, and her teacher told her in class on Friday that she and her mom need to “fix this” because people were creating a petition to get the teacher to resign.
We showed the family posts on social media which claimed Fisher had a history of faking attacks.
“That’s a crock,” said Kristie Scallion, Fisher’s mother.
“I have never in my life faked an asthma attack,” said Fisher.
Fisher has an inhaler and says she's suffered from asthma since she was three-months-old and has had attacks at school before.
Her dad is just thankful for Ruelas’ actions and that this attack wasn’t the one that took her away forever.
“I wanna invite him as part of my family,” said Bailey. “I don't know what I would have done, I really don’t.”
Ruelas' mother says she was told by the school he was suspended for leaving class, which is also what's described in the teacher's hand-written referral note. Although he was allowed back Thursday, Ruelas hasn’t returned to Gateway since the incident; Cortes says she’s pulling him out this week and he’ll be home-schooled for the rest of the year.
KCEN has asked the district for more clarification on the incident and its policies on giving medical aid to students.
Fisher's parents say they'll be at the next KISD school board meeting February 9th asking that changes be made to the district’s policies.