When an eighth-grader at Texas' Gateway Middle School started suffering an asthma attack Tuesday, 15-year-old Anthony Ruelas at first did exactly what his teacher told him to do: stay seated while the teacher waited for the school nurse to email back about what to do, the Washington Post reports. But when the girl kept "wheezing and gagging" for several minutes and finally fell out of her chair, Anthony decided he'd had enough, per KCEN. Per the teacher's report, Anthony said, "F--k that, we ain't got time to wait for no email from the nurse" and, against the teacher's directive, carried his classmate to the nurse's office (she texted him the next evening to say she was OK). But instead of a pat on the back, Anthony ended up with a two-day suspension from the alternative school in Killeen.
"I was like what? I'm suspended for this? Like, I was trying to help her," he says, per KCEN. Anthony had been suspended before, and even his own mom rolled her eyes when Anthony tried to explain what happened. "I wasn't trying to hear it," Mandy Cortes tells the station. She dismissed her son, "and he was like, 'OK, forget it.'" But Cortes could tell he was upset, and once she got the whole story, she was upset, too. "I feel like the kids hear enough of 'they're bad'… and for them to not be rewarded for really something that is brave … he is a hero to me," she says, adding her son has a "great heart." The Killeen Independent School District's superintendent did say Wednesday that the district "applauds ... students who act in good faith to assist others in time of need," per KCEN. Would Anthony do it again? "Most definitely," he says. (A Florida teen got detention for hugging a classmate.)