Student suspended over call from mom in Iraq [CNN]

jsw

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From here:
COLUMBUS, Georgia (AP) -- A high school student was suspended for 10 days for refusing to end a cell phone call with his mother, a soldier serving in Iraq, school officials said.

The 10-day suspension was issued because Kevin Francois was "defiant and disorderly" and was imposed in lieu of an arrest, Spencer High School assistant principal Alfred Parham said.

The confrontation Wednesday began after the 17-year-old junior got a call at lunchtime from his mother, Sgt. 1st Class Monique Bates, who left in January for a one-year tour with the 203rd Forward Support Battalion.

Cell phones are allowed on campus but may not be used during school hours. When a teacher told him to hang up, he refused. He said he told the teacher, "This is my mom in Iraq. I'm not about to hang up on my mom."

Parham said the teen's suspension was based on his reaction to the teacher's request. He said the teen used profanity when taken to the office.

"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."
That's just a horrible reaction on the school's behalf. The kid's mother was calling from halfway around the world while participating in a conflict. To quote the "no cell phones during school" policy is, I think, abuse of power. I understand that the kid - oh my God - used profanity. I seriously doubt he would have done so had he been allowed to finish his call.
 

JeDiBoYTJ

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Jun 22, 2004
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Thats not right. How often does he get to talk to his mom, a loyal soldier working in Iraq? The school over reacted, and to tell you the truth, if my mom/dad/sibling was working in Iraq and called me during school for the first time in a while, i'd sure as hell answer and certainly wouldn't hang up until I was done with the conversation. What an abuse of power on the schools behalf.
 

jsw

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You also have to love the two week suspension, given that we already know at least one parent is 12,000 miles away.

I'm sure it's all for the good of the kid. :rolleyes:
 

wordmunger

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Sep 3, 2003
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I'm sorry. I'm going to have to play devil's advocate here. He knew the rules, and he disobeyed them. The phone shouldn't even have been on at school.

Yes, it's sad that his mom is in Iraq, but that doesn't mean he can flaunt school rules.
 

clayj

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Jan 14, 2005
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wordmunger said:
I'm sorry. I'm going to have to play devil's advocate here. He knew the rules, and he disobeyed them. The phone shouldn't even have been on at school.

Yes, it's sad that his mom is in Iraq, but that doesn't mean he can flaunt school rules.
I agree. And how do we actually KNOW that the call was from his mother in Iraq? Because he said so?

Rules are rules... no cellphone calls means no cellphone calls.
 

emw

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Aug 2, 2004
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He got it all wrong. When they asked who he was talking to he should have said the Virgin Mary - then they wouldn't've bothered him.

In the meantime, I'm sure his mother is happy to know she's risking her life fighting for the school's right to suspend her son for talking to her.
 

stcanard

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Oct 19, 2003
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Was the suspension because he wouldn't hang up when asked, or because he told a teacher to go f**k herself?

He said he told the teacher, "This is my mom in Iraq. I'm not about to hang up on my mom."
or

Parham said the teen's suspension was based on his reaction to the teacher's request. He said the teen used profanity when taken to the office.
Sound like two very different versions of the story.

A suspension for swearing at school faculty/staff is well within line.

A suspension for saying "I'm sorry, but this is my mom a soldier serving in Iraq, and I'm going to finish my conversation" probably is not.

It all depends on which side of the story you believe.
 

emw

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Aug 2, 2004
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wordmunger said:
I'm sorry. I'm going to have to play devil's advocate here. He knew the rules, and he disobeyed them. The phone shouldn't even have been on at school.

Yes, it's sad that his mom is in Iraq, but that doesn't mean he can flaunt school rules.
Huh? It wasn't like she was calling to tell him to pick up a loaf of bread on the way home. Soldiers have limited time and access to phones, especially if his mother was in any sort of combat location. Think of his mentality - she's gone for 12 months. Any time he talks to her could be the last time. I'd break the rules too.
 

jsw

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emw said:
I'd break the rules too.
Ditto.

Would it have been acceptable if the call were from the President? The Pope? His dying father?

If there are any exceptions, this should have been one of them. Sounds to me like a teacher on a power trip.

And profanity? Too bad we don't live in a country where free speech is a right.

It's a ridiculous rule anyway. The kid was at lunch. How on Earth is that disruptive?
 

iJon

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Feb 7, 2002
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That's retarded. That school is going to get hell for that especially if it is already on CNN news. I would have done the same exact thing. I would have told the teacher to go away or I would have just walked outside. But does it really matter that he got suspended, school is over in a couple of weeks anyways. He will take his finals and he will done with it.

jon
 

stubeeef

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Aug 10, 2004
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emw said:
He got it all wrong. When they asked who he was talking to he should have said the Virgin Mary - then they wouldn't've bothered him.

In the meantime, I'm sure his mother is happy to know she's risking her life fighting for the school's right to suspend her son for talking to her.
You brought in the same subject line I was going to twist! ;)
 

yellow

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Oct 21, 2003
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While that sucks.. I can understand it. They put the rule in place for a reason (to keep those damn teens off cell phone during school), and once they start making exceptions, well.. then everyone is 'talking to their mom in iraq'. Kudos to the kid for telling them to go shove it though!
 

stcanard

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Oct 19, 2003
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jsw said:
And profanity? Too bad we don't live in a country where free speech is a right.
Should it be acceptable for a student to stand up in a classroom and call his teacher a f**king c**t? If so, why do you think so?

You're making a snap jugement based on a very incomplete article. We cannot make a judgement on the appropriateness of this punishment unless we know how both the student and the teacher reacted.

If his version of the story is accurate, and he politely declined, then the punishment is very inappropriate.

If, however, the school's side is accurate and he became threatening and profane after being approached nicely, then he needs to be reprimanded for threatening people, not for staying on the phone.

I notice also that although the article implies he's being punished for talking on the phone, the actual quote from the principal seems to indicate he is being punished for his behaviour towards the school officials. Those are two very different things!

This article does not give me enough information to be able to make that judgment, and it's unfortunate because it happens too much in news these days; they drop too many details that would explain the situation and allow me to form an informed opinion.
 

jcgerm

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May 28, 2003
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clayj said:
I agree. And how do we actually KNOW that the call was from his mother in Iraq? Because he said so?

Rules are rules... no cellphone calls means no cellphone calls.
Well, it can be proved one way or the other if he was truly talking to her, but, assuming he was, I think that breaking the rules in this case was more than warranted. Anyone can blindly follow the rules, but these teachers really need to think about them as well. I'm sure the rules were created with specifics in mind and I seriously doubt that a kid talking to his mom in a case like this was not considered. It's like your parents telling you not to talk to strangers and you see a guy on the sidewalk having a heart attack. Well, sorry Mr. having a heart attack, I can't help you, my parents said I can't talk to strangers. This is just one of those situations that needed to be handled as a special case.
 

jsw

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stcanard said:
Should it be acceptable for a student to stand up in a classroom and call his teacher a f**king c**t? If so, why do you think so?
Yes, I think it should be acceptable to say that, although not disruptively by standing up and halting a class in progress. I certainly believe the student should be allowed to wear a shirt that says what you mentioned.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
— The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Unless the story was so completely wrong that the student was not on the phone while at lunch, I stand by my assertion that it's a terrible reaction. As I understand it, he could have been holding a blackboard eraser to his head, saying the exact same stuff and not been in trouble. The only problem was that it was an operational cell phone.

Stupid, stupid policy.
 

FoxyKaye

macrumors 68000
emw said:
He got it all wrong. When they asked who he was talking to he should have said the Virgin Mary - then they wouldn't've bothered him.
Good one!

emw said:
In the meantime, I'm sure his mother is happy to know she's risking her life fighting for the school's right to suspend her son for talking to her.
Its true - I don't support our occupation of Iraq one iota, but for the families who have folks over there, it's got to be heartbreaking to not hear from them. Every day there's something going on that kills more people - if our nephew who is in the Marines was stationed over there right now, you can bet I'd stop whatever it was I was doing to talk to him.

Sure the kid used profanity, as would I if some power-tripping punk school official told me to hang up on my mom. Good for him - I can think of a few choice words for the school as well (which I'm sure they'll get if this story is on CNN.com).
 

jsw

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clayj said:
I agree. And how do we actually KNOW that the call was from his mother in Iraq? Because he said so?
I think it's irrelevant who he was talking to. He was at lunch. The fact that there was a school policy that counter-indicated cell phone use doesn't make that policy reasonable.
 

eva01

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Feb 22, 2005
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Gah! Plymouth
Think of the reverse. If it had been a teacher that got a call from their spouse during class and takes the phone call and doesn't hang-up. Do you think that the school does anything to the teacher??

HELL NO! I have a teacher that gets on her cellphone all the time during lab, because her kid gets sick a lot.
 

Sun Baked

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May 19, 2002
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wordmunger said:
I'm sorry. I'm going to have to play devil's advocate here. He knew the rules, and he disobeyed them. The phone shouldn't even have been on at school.

Yes, it's sad that his mom is in Iraq, but that doesn't mean he can flaunt school rules.
After Columbine, parents asked for more immediate action on the schools part.

Following several lawsuits for some student faculty fallouts, many of the schools now hand thing off immediately to police officers if they cannot get students to comply.

It doesn't stop at students either, if parent comes in and doesn't follow policy they will also be arrested.

Parents have "asked" for zero tolerance and tighter policies to protect students.

They got them... eat your lunch when it's served up to you because you ordered it.

Things like this, and the arrest of the 5 year old brat girl will happen when the faculty follows policy.

Faculty really doesn't have much choice, the lawsuits for failing to follow policy to protect students are much worse than the occasional bad media campaign.

The kid is lucky he was not arrested.

These stupid policies may not be reasonable, but neither are the lawsuits when the crap hits the spinny blade thingie (I know the lawyer is one or the other of those.)
 

dornoforpyros

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Oct 19, 2004
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Calgary, AB
yeah I gotta agree, the kid was using a cell phone in school and if it's not allowd it's not allowd. Reguardless of who he's talking to.

I personally despise cell phones and I enjoy seeing news like this hehe :D
 

MacNut

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I have a rule that family takes precedence over anything, I don't care who the teacher was or what they were telling me to do I'm not going to hang up on a loved one in a war zone because family is the most important thing over everything. Maybe if more kids had parents that loved them we would not need all these stupid rules to keep the kids at bay in school in the first place.
 

tech4all

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Jun 13, 2004
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I have to take the kid's side on this one. Yes the he broke the rules, but I think the school could have allowed him to "bend the rule" this once. I could see maybe if it was during class, but it was during lunch. He wasn't interrupting a class lecture or anything. I mean his mom is in Iraq with her life on the line. That could have been the last time he could talk to her (Hopefully not). Breaking the rules or not, I think the school was wrong considering the circumstances.