Friday, May 06, 2005

Mother's Call

LedgerEnquirer reported Kevin Francois gave up his lunch break to talk to his mother, but it ended up costing him the rest of the school year. Francois, a junior at Spencer High School in Columbus, was suspended for disorderly conduct Wednesday after he was told to give up his cell phone at lunch while talking to his mother who is deployed in Iraq, 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 Infantry Division. "This is our first time separated like this," said Francois, 17, on Thursday.

Bates came to Fort Benning with her son from Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Ga. She enrolled him at Spencer in August. Since her deployment overseas, Francois, whose father was killed when he was 5 years old, lives with a guardian who has five children in Columbus. The incident happened when Francois received a call from his mother at 12:30 p.m., which he said was his lunch break. Francois said he went outside the school building to get a better reception when his mother called. A teacher who saw Francois on his phone told him to get off the phone. But he didn't. According to the Muscogee County School District Board of Education's policy, students are allowed to have cell phones in school, but cannot use them during school hours.

"They are really allowed to have those cell phones so that after band or after chorus or after the debate and practices are over they have to coordinate with the parents," said Alfred Parham, assistant principal at Spencer. "They're not supposed to use them for conversating back and forth during school because if they were allowed to do that, they could be text messaging each other for test questions."

If he was at lunch, I doubt that he was taking a test.
Francois said he told the teacher, "This is my mom in Iraq. I'm not about to hang up on my mom." Francois said the teacher tried to take the phone, causing it to hang up.
Kevin should immediately be reinstated, and the teacher who tried to take the phone, knowing he was talking to his mother, should be fired.
The student said he then went with the teacher to the school's office where he surrendered his phone. His mother called again at 12:37 p.m. and left a message scolding her son about hanging up and telling him to answer the phone when she calls.

Steve Verdon commented Granted Francois probably wasn't behaving at his best (he reportedly used profanity when brought into the office), but sheesh is this stupid or what? Why couldn't the teacher have waited until Francois was done talking to his mother, she is in Iraq afterall, then tell him the policy and take him to the office to work out some sort of arrangement where Francois could take calls from his mother. No profanity, polite, and problem solved in an adult manner. Instead some idiot teacher had to over-react. The teacher is the adult and based on the facts so far sounds like he behaved in a childish manner. I'd say, at the very least suspend the teacher for 10 days too. Of course, that won't happen.

Joe Gandelman commented Here's a story that pits common sense against unfeeling educational bureaucratic thinking: a high school student has been suspended for 10 days for refusing to end a mobile phone call with his mother who is serving in Iraq. Even when you read the bare-bones facts of this story from the AP it makes your blood boil. But what about that teacher? Perhaps officials should have a quiet talk with the teacher who would not give him a few minutes to talk with his Mom — his Mom who could wind up one day in the headlines as another war casualty. That teacher, it seems, could have cared less about the distance separating mother and son or the danger facing the mother. commented Contact info for Spencer High School is here.

JCB commented It's time to flood this school with outrage if you have any support for our troops.

Spencer High School   4340 Victory Drive   Columbus, GA 31903
Phone: 706-685-7652   Fax: 706-685-7708
Principal: Olivia Rutledge -
Assitant Principals: Alfred Parham -
Wendell Turner -

I just sent a message to;; saying "Kevin Francois should be immediately returned to class, and the teacher that grabbed his phone and caused him to lose contact with his mother in Iraq should be immediately fired

I realise you are concerned about students text messaging other students during a test, but I doubt very seriously Kevin was taking a test outdoors while on his lunch hour" and I urge everyone to do the same

1 comment:

Don Singleton said...

As I understand it all of the national attention did result in his suspension being cut to three days, and he is back in school, however as far as I know the teacher that grabbed his phone and caused him to lose contact with his mother has not been disciplined.