Texan Teen Suspended For Helping Classmate Having Asthma Attack: 3 Reasons to Break the Rules Even in the Face of Consequences

This week Texas teen, 15 year old Anthony Ruelas, who attends Gateway Middle School in Killeen Texas, was suspended for doing the right thing. According to Ruelas, a female classmate began having an asthma attack in fifth period and fell to the floor. Instead of rushing to get her help, the teacher told everyone to remain calm and delayed assistance by sending an e-mail to the school nurse and then proceeded to wait for a response. Fearing for the girl’s health, Ruelas didn’t listen and after several minutes of inaction, went against the teacher’s wishes to help his friend. He picked her up and personally carried her to the nurse’s office.
It is difficult to comprehend why Anthony would not be lauded as a hero instead of a trouble maker. However, with no tolerance policies being in effect at schools today, students are sometimes faced with doing the right thing with the possibility of consequences. As parents, it is often difficult to try to explain why common sense doesn’t make sense anymore. Here are some reasons to discuss with your child when breaking the rules might be OK.

3 Reasons to Break the Rules Even in the Face of Consequences

1. When Someone’s Safety or Health is in Jeopardy: Just as Anthony did above he feared for his classmate’s health and decided to jump in and help despite being told not to. When someone’s safety, physical well being, is at risk you should help. If you see someone being bullied you should help.

2. When it is Not a Legal Matter: When deciding what to do, it is important to consider if you are breaking any laws, both state and federal. If helping means that the police will not be called, then you should help.  If something is morally right then maybe you should help.

3. When an Injustice Has Occurred: There has been much protesting in some states over the use of unnecessary police force. You may have the right to protest if you feel that an injustice has occurred but you should do so peacefully without any aggression.  If you see a fellow student being accused as breaking a class rule when you know it was someone else you should speak up.

Anthony’s mother, Mandy Cortes, applauds her son for doing the right thing. She said, “Especially with it being an alternative school I feel like the kids hear enough of ‘they’re bad’ or their behavior, or you know, and for them to not be rewarded for really something that is brave, ya know, he is a hero to me,” said Cortes. Ruelas said if he were to do it again he would still risk the two day suspension to help his friend. The suspension is under review by the Kileen Independent School District. One of beloved past presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, sums it up best: “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

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Author: Lyris Steuber, MA, LMFT is a Lake Mary Marriage Therapist & Couples and Individual Counselor with Total Life Counseling Center. Total Life Counseling Center specializes in marriage and family therapy and our experts can be reached at (407) 248-003