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
"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."
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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.
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[edit on 6-5-2005 by Zipdot]