Things That Matter

A Texas Teen Was Suspended for Trying to Save a Classmate’s Life

KCENTV / SpaceX / YouTube

On January 19, middle school student Anthony Ruelas was in class when a classmate suddenly fell to the floor. The 15-year-old took matters into his own hands to help his friend – but he was punished for it.

It all happened here at Gateway Middle School in Killeen, Texas.

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Credit: KCENTV

Eighth grader Anthony Ruelas was in class when a fellow classmate and friend began to have an asthma attack.

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Credit: KCENTV

The teacher ordered all the students to remain in their seats and emailed the school nurse about the situation. The teacher was following Killeen Independent School District’s protocol.

During the asthma attack, the student, Tishica Fisher, fell out of her chair. That’s when Ruelas took action. He picked her up and carried her to the nurse’s office.

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Credit: KCENTV

Two days after the incident, Fisher texted Ruelas to thank him for his help and to let him know that she is doing well.

 School officials must have been pleased to see one student helping another, right? Wrong. Ruelas was SUSPENDED.

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Credit: KCENTV

Ruelas’s teacher filed a discipline form that read: “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 carried the other student to the nurse.”

READ: Hailed a Hero: Boy Saves Classmates after School Bus Crashed and Careened into a Lake

When asked for comment, Superintendent John Craft had this to say:

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Credit: KCENTV

“The Killeen ISD maintains the safety of our students, staff and campuses as a priority and applauds the efforts of students who act in good faith to assist others in times of need.” KCENTV also reports that it wasn’t long until the school accused Fisher of faking her asthma attack. Fisher claims she was asked by her teacher to “fix” the situation because a petition was circulating to get her to resign.

But they still suspended the boy for two days over the incident. His mom was like:

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Credit: Mob Wives / BRAVO / realitytvgifs / Tumblr

Ruelas’s mom acknowledged her son has been suspended before: “He may not follow instructions all the time, but he does have a great heart.” She also said that her son should not have used foul language toward a teacher. #fair

READ: A Real Mexican Superhero is Saving Lives One Pedestrian at a Time

The story of the 15-year-old hero resonated around the world, prompting praise from as far away as the Netherlands.

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Credit: KCENTV

Ruelas’s story has been shared thousands of times and people from all over the world have been sending the teen letters, emails, and social media messages praising him for his quick thinking.

He even scored a Congressional internship in Washington D.C. with U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar of Texas.

And the girl he carried to the nurse’s office that day is doing well.

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Credit: KCENTV

“All I know is I blacked out, and I felt myself getting picked up by somebody,” Fisher told KCEN.

READ: A Teenager from Bolivia Created a Real-Life Wall-E and It’s Just the Beginning

What’s the school doing? Sticking to their guns. They said Ruelas was suspended “because of an unrelated incident.”

School Response
Credit: KCENTV

“The District’s Crisis Management Plan directs the teacher to contact the campus principal and the nurse in case of a medical emergency. However, the student was suspended because of an unrelated incident. The district is unable to provide detail about individual students due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”

Check out the original news report below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7-6-8fBKSY

Credit: KCENTV / SpaceX / YouTube

Share this story by tapping that share button below and show everyone that heroes come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and ages!

A Texas Family Is Suing Their Son’s School After They Forced Him To Color In His Fade With A Sharpie

Things That Matter

A Texas Family Is Suing Their Son’s School After They Forced Him To Color In His Fade With A Sharpie

Youtube / Screenshot School Staff Colored in Black Teen’s Haircut With A Sharpie

One of the worst things about public school is the arbitrary way that dress codes are enforced. However, this isn’t just a conversation about skirt length or bra straps infractions. Uniform coding has a history of enforcing rules that violate individual civil rights especially for female students, Black students, and students of color.

Now, a case out of Texas is arguing that this sort of civil liberties violation is what happened to a student in April 2019 at a Houston-area school.

The family of middle school student, Juelz Trice, is suing the Pearland ISD School District for an incident last Spring where administration used permanent marker on the 14-year-old’s scalp.

Twitter / @ajplus

On April 16th, Trice received a new fade but it was cited as a dress code violation the very next day. The middle school student   who is Black was in the cafeteria for breakfast when he was told by the assistant principal, Tony Barcelona, to go to the office because of his haircut. According to the lawsuit, he and Barcelona were met by discipline clerk, Helen Day, and, later, teacher, Jeanette Peterson. There in the office, Trice was given two options: go to in-school suspension for his violation or use a black Sharpie to color his scalp in. Reportedly, Trice worried that in-school suspension would impact his eligibility for the track team so he chose the marker option.

According to the lawsuit, Day then took the black permanent marker and used it to fill in the design of Trice’s fade. Peterson was then asked to pick up another marker and help fill in the middle school student’s scalp. The lawsuit alleges that “They laughed as they took many minutes to color 13-year-old J.T’s scalp which took many days of scrubbing to come off.” Images taken of the boy’s scalp after the fact reveal that the marker made the design far more noticeable.

According to the family’s attorney, there was no attempt to notify Trice’s parents before his scalp was colored in.

Twitter / @mochamomma

The civil rights lawsuit cites the school district as well Barcelona, Peterson and Day as defendants in the claim. According to Randall Kallinen, attorney for the student’s parents, Dante Trice and Angela Washington, the school district has yet to meet with the family. The only thing that has been done to rectify this problem was to change the existing dress code. In May of 2019, after the incident with Trice, the updated code removed restrictions on hairstyles and carvings.

It should be noted that the administrators and teacher involved in the incident did not receive corrective action. In fact, Barcelona, who was a vice-principal at the time, has now been promoted to principal. All three still work at Berry Miller Junior High where the situation occurred.

“I was mad. I was really mad,” Dante Trice said of his son’s ordeal. “I just imagine three people holding him down with a marker against his will.”

In a new conference about the incident, attorney Kallien cited a 2015 Department of Justice study that found that Black students were 143% more likely to be suspended than white students.

Twitter / @MarcelinoKHOU

“We are here today to right this wrong through the court system because apparently, PISD doesn’t care about African American people,” Kallinen claimed in the televised statements.

While Houston has received the title of the most diverse city in America, Pearland where the middle school is located is much less diverse. Of its population, nearly 63% is white and only 17% is Black.

While the lawsuit is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, that isn’t all it is attempting to fix. Filed in the Southern District of Texas, the suit also requests that the court order school district employees receive racial sensitivity training. Considering this incident, it seems the school could definitely benefit from this.

Local activists have come out in support of Trice and his family, but they have received a lot of encouragement from Twitter as well.

Twitter / @DovieWatson

As this Twitter user expressed, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen alleged racism in school dress codes or from school administrators. In the past, school districts have faced lawsuits over dress codes that declare braids, long hair, and other so-called “ethnic” hairstyles “against the rules.” In these instances, it is usually found that the school district has violated the civil liberties of students.

Some pointed out that instances like these are more like policing than educating.

Twitter / @taylorwestc

A lot is asked of teachers and school administrators. We definitely won’t argue that. However, the number one thing required of them is to teach our young people. When we see stories like these, we have to wonder how much time is being spent educating and how much is being spent policing these kids. When it comes to their hairstyle, it’s best to let the parents and kids take this one.

The El Paso Man Who Lost His Wife In The Shooting Has A New Car After His Was Stolen After Her Funeral

Things That Matter

The El Paso Man Who Lost His Wife In The Shooting Has A New Car After His Was Stolen After Her Funeral

The El Paso community is still recovering from the violent and senseless shooting at a local Wal-Mart. The shooter confessed that he was only there to kill Mexicans. One victim, Margie Reckard, has left an indelible impression on the community as her husband, a survivor, Antonio Basco mourns the loss of his only family member. The El Paso community has shown their strength and love by the way they have honored Reckard and Basco during the darkest moment in his life.

Recently, Antonio Basco’s car was stolen just hours after his wife’s funeral adding insult to injury.

Credit: Vanessa Kondow / Facebook

Basco had been living in his car after the shooting to be close to the memorial, which included a cross for his wife. Just hours after he buried the last living family member he had, his car was stolen and wrecked. The horrific incident not only affected El Paso community members, but it also angered them.

People immediately flooded the post of his stolen car asking how they could help fix Basco’s situation.

Credit: Vanessa Kondow / Facebook

Basco invited anyone who wanted to attend his wife’s funeral. Thousands of people showed up to mourn the death of Margie Reckard and support a man who lost everything on Aug. 3. The car being stolen after was another blow for a man already mourning.

El Paso had rallied around Basco, even repairing and cleaning his car before it was stolen.

Credit: @bri_sacks / Twitter

Casa Ford Lincoln learned about Basco and his situation and gave his car a full-service treatment for free. The car was cleaned and repaired so that it could be the best it could be.

Casa Ford Lincoln decided to do one better after hearing that Basco’s car was stolen and wrecked by giving him a brand new Ford Escape.

Credit: Casa Ford Lincoln / Facebook

Casa Ford Lincoln hosted a ceremony just for Basco for him to receive his new car following the news that his was stolen and crashed. The crowd that gathered offered Basco love and support during and after the ceremony as some passed him notes and patted the man on the shoulder.

Ronnie Lowenfield, the general manager of Casa Lincoln Ford, spoke to the crowd and Basco offering words of condolences and love.

Credit: Casa Ford Lincoln / Facebook

“Tony, we just wanted to bring you here and, first off, offer our condolences,” Lowenfield said. “We can’t imagine the hell that you’ve been through in these last couple of weeks. We just want you to know that we love you and this is on behalf of all of us here at Casa and essentially all of us here in El Paso.”

The car is more than a car but a sign of El Paso’s love and support for its community members.

Credit: Casa Ford Lincoln / Facebook

“This is what we do here in this city, is care for each other and we’re very sorry for your loss,” Lowenfield continued. “We know that you’re a Ford guy and we know that you had a blue Escape. … Fortunately, we had one here so we are going to turn over the keys to you.”

People on Facebook flooded the comment section of the post with love and appreciation for the gesture from Casa Ford Lincoln.

Credit: Casa Ford Lincoln / Facebook

Casa Ford Lincoln customers celebrated the company and gushed about how thankful they are to do business with a company that follows their moral compass.

The El Paso community came out in support of Basco for his wife’s funeral and there are several videos and pictures that the love he received.

He claimed to not have a family but the city of El Paso proved to be the family he didn’t know he had. The outpouring of emotion and love from the El Paso community at large was a special moment in the city’s darkest hours.

El Paso is a strong community and the way they took care of Basco shows just how connected the community is.

Credit: betoorourke / Instagram

“Amy just sent me this photo from El Paso. This is outside the funeral for Margie Reckard. She was killed at Walmart in El Paso on August 3rd. I met her husband Antonio at the memorial a few nights after that,” Beto O’Rourke wrote in an Instagram post. “The whole crowd at the memorial hugged him and comforted him, everyone giving him love and strength. Earlier this week the funeral home published a notice for Margie’s funeral that said that they didn’t expect anyone to come to the funeral because neither she nor Antonio had family in El Paso and that therefore the community was invited. Amy texted this with the photo from her funeral tonight: ‘Line wraps around the building multiple times. Been waiting 40 minutes and a long way to go. So beautiful.'”

Watch the video of Basco getting his new car below.

Posted by Casa Ford Lincoln on Monday, August 19, 2019

READ: El Paso Widower Who Invited Everyone To His Wife’s Funeral Donates Thousands Of Flowers To Honor All 22 Victims Of The El Paso Massacre

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