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NEWS: Boy Suspended After Talking To Mom In Iraq During Lunch Break

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posted on May, 6 2005 @ 03:21 PM
A 17 year old student in Columbus, Georgia was suspended for the rest of the school year for refusing to end a cell phone conversation with his mother, who is serving as a soldier in Iraq.
Kevin Francois, a 17-year-old at Spencer High School in Columbus, was suspended for disorderly conduct Wednesday after a confrontation that began when he was told to give up his cell phone at lunch during the call, he said.

His mother, Sgt. 1st Class Monique Bates, left in January for a one-year tour and serves with the 203rd Forward Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division.

"This is our first time separated like this," said Francois, whose father was killed when he was 5 years old. Since her deployment overseas, Francois has been living with a guardian in Columbus.

Francois got the call from his mother at 12:30 p.m., which he said was his lunch break. He said he went outside the school building to get a better reception. A teacher who saw Francois on his phone told him to hang up. He refused.
Francois said he told the teacher, "This is my mom in Iraq. I'm not about to hang up on my mom."

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

The school is overreacting here. Extenuating circumstances obviously exist in this situation and the teacher should not have grabbed the phone from the kid and hung up on his mother - the teacher crossed the line.

On the other hand, if the school was leniant on the student and allowed him to converse with his mother, then perhaps that would start a rash of cell phone usage among students claiming that they were speaking to their mothers in Iraq.

I certainly do not blame the kid for getting angry over the teacher's behavior. I would react similarly. As for the suspension, 10 days is extremely excessive in my opinion. In my day, a situation like this would net a 3 day suspension at the most. The school needs to compromise and shorten this student's suspension period.

Is this a violation of the student's rights? Schools need to maintain order and discipline, but on the other hand, we are mere humans and we should recognize what is more important in life.

Related News Links:

[edit on 6-5-2005 by Zipdot]

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 03:32 PM
The problem here is the no tolerance in school.
You would have thought that once the student informed the teacher that he was talking to his mother who was serving in Iraq, the teacher would have made an exception, or at the very least, allow the call to be completed, bring the student to the pricipal and then punish as the "crime" required.
The article states that the student was punished not for the call but for his reaction to the teacher. I am sorry, but the teacher took the phone away (physical confrontation which is against school rules) causing the call to be disconnected. That is when the student became upset.
I do not know of many adults that would not have been angry at that point.
Yes, the school overstepped itself but that is becoming very common

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 03:36 PM

"Kevin got defiant and disorderly," Parham said. "When a kid becomes out of control like that they can either be arrested or suspended for 10 days. Now being that his mother is in Iraq, we're not trying to cause her any undue hardship; he was suspended for 10 days."

10 days of suspension can be devestating to a student's grades. This suspension happens to come at the end of the school year, presumably during finals, so Kevin will miss all the final review classes and whatnot and he'll probably have to come after school or something to take his finals.

Talk about undue hardship...


posted on May, 6 2005 @ 03:43 PM
Wonder if the school had a video tape of the incident. Perhaps this is like the 5 year old girl incident no one knew the real facts until we saw the video. Once it could be viewed perhaps people might think what the teacher did was right. Not enough details in the story on my part to say who was right or wrong in this case.

[edit on 5/6/2005 by shots]

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 03:46 PM
These zero tolerance rules are horrid.

Can we that little thing called common sense a little space in the policies and rules too?

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 03:49 PM
I think that the teacher should have asked to speak with his mom to verify that it was her and that he wasn't trying to put one over on the school then given the time to speak to her. She has been gone since January and this is the first time this happened so it isn't a common occurance with him. And I can't imagine that the call would have lasted all that long in any case. I also feel that the school should contact the mother somehow and explain to her what happened as she was obviously upset thinking he hung up on her.

Did anyone notice the response to the poll they have on the original website as of a little while ago -- 26518 people said he should have been allowed to finish the call.

I would have been suspended also because I would have thrown a major fit it it happened to me. I don't mean to sound morbid but imagine if something happens to her before she can get in touch with him again.....

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 03:55 PM
Ideally, the student should have warned the administration that he might be receiving a call from his mom and thereby sought permission beforehand. On the other hand, though, it was his lunch break...


posted on May, 6 2005 @ 04:03 PM
Ya know, sometimes its almost better to take the punishment and remain defiant than suck it up and agree to whatever horsepuckey shoveled out by the school administration, and I think this might be one of those times. They may have rules, but some people have family who are in danger in places such as Iraq; its a relative no brainer which one takes precedence over the other, you only have one family. Just a shame the school feels a need to drag the kid through the mud, but then thats about par for our education system here.

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 04:05 PM
This makes me angry. I just googled the school and their website is down but there is a link to the school principal. I'm going to send her an email telling her just what I think about this situation. A 10 day suspension because you were defiant about hanging up on your Mom who is in Iraq is just WRONG.


posted on May, 6 2005 @ 04:06 PM
I think justme brings up a very valid point here. Perhaps she should have confirmed it was in fact the mother, hell for all anyone knows it could have been his girl friend.

Guess we will have to wait for the lawsuit to find out if he was telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 04:12 PM
Presumably, the school has rules against cell phone usage because they can either be disruptive or be used to cheat on schoolwork. Neither of these conditions were met while the student was on his lunch break and outside.

What if the student was in class while he got the call? I can see this type of thing happening often with today's prevelance of cell phones - not just for mothers in Iraq, but for relatives dying in hospitals or whatever. Maybe it's time to give students some pre-approved rights and permissions when they are expecting serious and important phone calls.

Emergency family communication is more important than any given hour's lessons in an American high school.

What would George Washington say?


posted on May, 6 2005 @ 04:21 PM

zip says
Presumably, the school has rules against cell phone usage because they can either be disruptive or be used to cheat on schoolwork. Neither of these conditions were met while the student was on his lunch break and outside.

I do not think that makes any differance many schools prohibit the use of cell phones and even pagers on school propery period, simply because drug dealers use them to sell drugs in additon to the reasons you stated.

here is an example showing 16 states have banned them from schools.

According to the Education Commission on the States, 16 states have passed laws that ban student possession of pagers in schools. Of those states, five mention only pagers. The other states include cellular phones and other electronic devices. All the laws allow for school boards or principals to make exceptions, some for medical emergencies.

found using google with KW's school bans cell phones pagers

[edit on 5/6/2005 by shots]

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 04:26 PM
yep, no cellphones, no pagers, no boats, no airplanes allowed in school, its damn distracting and does it ever piss me off when I'm in a college class and some moron is playing on his damn phone the whole time. LEAVE if you don't want to learn.

Rules are Rules, public schools are nazified, if you are on their property then they can and will regulate you. I've had so much crap confiscated during my time in public schools.. Imagine it's a lot worse now, gotta wear those uniforms, and id tags, and go through a fenced in area.

I mean like his mom being a soldier makes it special? I mean I don't agree with school policies but if I had to follow them so does everyone else.

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 04:35 PM
Correct both shots and zipdot.
The article does not indicate if there was a prior warning given of the call.
The article does though indicate that the call came in while the student was on his lunch break so there was no interuption of class. He even went outdoors so as to be able to talk in private.
The school that my son goes to also has a banned on cell phones while at school but the sstudents are allowed to call home parents during lunch or other breaks.
The teacher should have at the very least, verified the call was from his mother, that the student was not supposed to be in class, allowed the student to complete the call then if neccessary, take the student into the principle's office for the appropriate punishment.
The article states that the student was not punished for talking to his mother on the cell phone. He was punished for his reaction to the teacher taking the phone away and hanging up on his mother.
I am with the student on that. I would have been upset, with the teacher myself.

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 04:50 PM
I just don't feel like the school is compromising in any way here. 10 days suspension is killer and has the potential to do some major damage to the kid's GPA since this is during finals.

Oh well, I guess. I can see both sides of the issue and I guess it's just one of those things, as someone stated earlier.


posted on May, 6 2005 @ 05:04 PM
I personally feel that children should be allowed cell phones at schools for emergencies. I like my older children (nine and over) to have a cell phone at all times especially now in this dangerous time whenever they are out of my care. I believe that the children should not be allowed social calls at all but parents should be allowed to ring during breaks to check on their childs welfare.

This case, if correctly reported, is so sad and this boy should be given by the school a special area and time for his mom to ring him. Other kids get to go home and hug their moms at night, this poor kid doesn't and has no dad.

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 06:27 PM
I don't see two sides to this story. What I see is an abomination. I really have to wonder about a teacher who would do this, I don't care what the rules are.

These kids are still human beings, there have to be exceptions and consideration for things like this, as there will always be extraordinary circumstances, no matter what the rules are.

If we are raising human beings we need to start remembering that and being humane when circumstances warrant it. This incident and incidences like it are contributing to kids becoming angry and harder when they should just be kids. Unfortunately, I think we are seeing instead too many instances where some nobody is in a pathetic excuse for a position of power jumping the gun and forgetting THESE ARE ONLY KIDS!


[edit on 5/6/2005 by Relentless]

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 07:10 PM
mabe it's past time for schools to review their asinine rules. if anyone needed a relaxing of a pathetic rule than it was this kid. i imagine that the mother would probably be finding an available minute to make contact. it's not like a person in the services has all that much spare time on their hands. especialy when they are on the far side of the world. i don't know what timezone iraq is in but i imagine if the kid was on lunch then it would be the middle of the night for the mother. imagine staying up to the wee hours just to talk to your son, who should be on lunch. that my friends is love. now if she is working dureing her daytime that would mean that it would be rather hard to call her son on his night. timezones are a pain, i know this because my parrents were liveing in the philipeans. any call was the best thing in the world and had a habit of wakeing me up due to time differance.

the school should be ashamed of their selves for being so stuipid. as someone mentioned as soon as it was said to be a parrent then the teacher should have either confirmed or left well enough alone. i don't care if someone is breaking rules there is no right to phisicaly take and hang up a phone on someone. if anything you ask to confirm the caller, or wait untill the call is over. if the kid is outside and on a break what differance does it make that the kid is on the phone anyway. it is HIS time, not SCHOOL time.

as for the claim of pagers and cellphones being used for drug deals, so what. in my school the payphone was often used for that and to call in bomb threats. if you can't use a phone or pager to get drugs by no means is that going to have ANY effect at stopping a persone from scoreing or selling there are many ways to do that. as far as i'm concerned if i had kids i would want them to cary a phone for MY purposes. if the school has complaints about a lot of calling then feel free and contact me the problem would be solved with no need for a power tripping teacher or princible being a dick about it.

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 07:40 PM
typical with a lot of stories like this the headline and story itself are never complete enough to give the whole story, but it is incomplete enough to cause discussions and taking sides without all the facts.

Simple matter is, Zero Tolerance policy has completly trashed common sense, schools are becomeing more and more strict for the only reason to protect teachers and students at the expense of a childs inoccence and free will.

If it was a smart teacher, they would have asked can I speak to her, confirmed it was the mother, and tell her how good her kid was doing as school, and he misses her a lot. given the phone back and told him to stop by at the office to get an permission slip to return to class late, and take as much time as possible.

Troop moral is horrible in Iraq, and the school just made it worse by thier authortarian actions. How patriotic

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 07:44 PM
Well I googled the school and e-mailed the principal -- Took me a few revisions as I didn't want to come over as a raving lunatic and I think I finally managed to send something that was calm and yet stated how I felt. Do I think it will make any difference at all -- no -- but I do feel better.

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