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savafan
05-06-2005, 01:30 PM
http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/mld/ledgerenquirer/news/11575912.htm

BY ANGELIQUE SOENARIE

Staff Writer

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."

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.

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.

Control issue

Parham said the teen's suspension was based on his reaction when he was asked to give up the cell phone and told about the school's cell phone policy.

"Kevin got defiant and disorderly with Mr. Turner and another assistant principal," Parham said Thursday. "He got defiant with me. He refused to leave Mr. Turner's office. 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."

Wendall Turner is another assistant principal at Spencer.

Parham said the student used profanity when he was taken into the office. He said he tried to work out something with the student. But Francois said he was too frustrated he couldn't answer the phone when his mother called him the second time.

"I even asked Kevin, 'You know we can try to work something out to where if your mother wants to call you she can call you at the school,'" Parham said. "So we've tried to work with Kevin and we're going to continue to try to work with Kevin and his mother and his relatives. In the course of good order and discipline, we have to abide by our policy."

Francois admitted he was partially at fault for his behavior but said he should have been allowed to talk to his mother.

"I was mad at the time, but I feel now maybe I should've went about it differently," he said. "Maybe I should've just waited outside to pick up the phone. But I don't I feel I should've changed any of my actions. I feel I was right by not hanging up the phone."

For Francois, he said he gets to hear from his mother once a month, and phone calls vary depending on when she can use the phone in Iraq. Francois said his mother calls as late as 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. and tries to catch him during hours he's awake. He said the phone call Wednesday was the first time she called him while he was at school.

Francois, who said he's been struggling with his grades in school, wants to go back to school and finish the rest of his year. He fears he may have pay for summer school because of his punishment.

"My grades had been low, but I was bringing them up. My grades were coming back up. On one of my report cards I had like a 'F' in one of my classes, but I brought it back up to a low 'C.' This just brought me all the way down."

Unassisted
05-06-2005, 01:40 PM
Schools are a place where the flower of common sense is routinely crushed by the boot of zero-tolerance. The student could have handled this better by seeking prior permission from school authorities for the call and not getting belligerent when called out for breaking the rule.

Yachtzee
05-06-2005, 01:56 PM
I don't know. If my mom was calling me from Iraq, I would be pretty defiant too. If he had gone off without letting them know why the call was important, I would say that he was in the wrong. But it sounds like he only got really upset in the office, after they had a chance to hear him out.

Redsland
05-06-2005, 03:35 PM
Mom is half-way around the world, you haven't seen her for months, and she may have a limited number of minutes to talk or a long line of people behind her. She call you, you’re thrilled, but then someone walks up and starts trying to hassle you.

I'd wave him off. When that failed, I'd mute the phone, say, "It's my mother in Iraq," then I'd un-mute the phone and resume talking. If the insensitive idiot keep hassling me, I'd try to get away from him somehow.

That's basically what this kid did, so I'm fine with it.

Usually I wouldn't advocate breaking the rules and defying teachers, but this is an unusual situation.

TeamDunn
05-06-2005, 03:54 PM
If the parent calls from prison, do people still get upset his call was interrupted?

If he knew the rules he could have easily asked the school to let him talk to his mother. He had apparently been doing it quite awhile, just got caught that time.

savafan
05-06-2005, 04:20 PM
If the parent calls from prison, do people still get upset his call was interrupted?

If he knew the rules he could have easily asked the school to let him talk to his mother. He had apparently been doing it quite awhile, just got caught that time.

I think you overlooked this TD.



He said the phone call Wednesday was the first time she called him while he was at school.

HotCorner
05-06-2005, 04:21 PM
Sava ... who's that in your avatar? Anna Benson perhaps?

savafan
05-06-2005, 04:23 PM
Sava ... who's that in your avatar? Anna Benson perhaps?

Juliya, host of the metal show on fuse.

TeamDunn
05-06-2005, 04:30 PM
I think you overlooked this TD.

You are right! I did.

So much for that speed reading class. :)

Unassisted
05-06-2005, 04:56 PM
At my kids' school district and any other I've heard of with a cell-phone rule, the rule is that the phone isn't even supposed to be turned ON during the school day. In order to receive Mom's call, this kid's phone had to be on, so he was either expecting the call and might have avoided the problem altogether by asking for permission or he was breaking school rules simply by having his phone turned on.

I'm still not sympathetic to his plight. In my book, the "need to follow school rules" card trumps the "patriotism" card.

savafan
05-06-2005, 05:06 PM
Where I came from, the school rules applied differently depending on who you were. Ravenlord can back me up on this, but just one example was the dress code. If you were an attractive female with a nice body, it simply didn't apply to you.

Johnny Footstool
05-06-2005, 05:40 PM
This is the most troubling part of the article:


"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."

In an environmentation like that, Kevin's rebellidocious attitude is perfectly understandishable.

Unassisted
05-06-2005, 05:45 PM
This is the most troubling part of the article:

In an environmentation like that, Kevin's rebellidocious attitude is perfectly understandishable.Those who can't do, teach. Those who find they can't teach either, become principals. ;)

Ravenlord
05-06-2005, 06:26 PM
Where I came from, the school rules applied differently depending on who you were. Ravenlord can back me up on this, but just one example was the dress code. If you were an attractive female with a nice body, it simply didn't apply to you.or if you looked like me, wearing black clothes or heavy metal t-shirts got you in trouble for being 'threatening' to other students.

savafan
05-10-2005, 01:30 PM
http://www.local6.com/irresistible/4462492/detail.html

COLUMBUS, Ga. -- Faced with stinging public criticism, school officials in this Army base city have reduced a suspension imposed on a student who wouldn't give up his cell phone while talking to his mom -- a sergeant on duty in Iraq.

Kevin Francois, a 17-year-old junior at Spencer High School, was suspended for 10 days for disorderly conduct Wednesday after a teacher told him to give up his cell phone outside the school during his lunch break, and he refused.

The boy said he had not expected the call from his mother, Sgt. 1st Class Monique Bates, who left in January for a one-year tour.

The Muscogee County School District Board of Education allows students to have cell phones in school but not to use them during school hours. School officials said Francois was defiant and used profanity when asked to surrender his phone.

"We are empathetic to all students whose parents serve in the armed forces ... (but) we do have behavior standards which we uphold," said Superintendent John A. Phillips Jr.

On Friday, the school district reduced the suspension to three days, which will allow Francois to return to school Monday.

School officials received many calls about the incident, said assistant principal Wendell Turner.

"People are fussing at us, calling us names," Turner said.

"We are the school that serves Fort Benning," Turner said. "We're well aware of students with parents overseas."

TeamMorris
05-10-2005, 02:27 PM
How times have changed! First of all, we didn't have cell phones when I was in school.

If a parent or someone called my school would call you out of class to talk or ask the person who called if the student could call them back beween classes.

RedFanAlways1966
05-10-2005, 02:35 PM
How times have changed! First of all, we didn't have cell phones when I was in school.

If a parent or someone called my school would call you out of class to talk or ask the person who called if the student could call them back beween classes.

Shorts were not allowed to be worn when I was in school (school rule)! I think most kids wear them 90% of the time anymore... snow or not. Oh... and it was not considered cool to wear shorts if you were male back in those days.

TeamMorris
05-10-2005, 02:44 PM
Shorts were not allowed to be worn when I was in school (school rule)! I think most kids wear them 90% of the time anymore... snow or not. Oh... and it was not considered cool to wear shorts if you were male back in those days.

We couldn't wear them either other than in gym class. They would have one day at the end of the school year when they would allow it. "Dress down day" they called it. This day and age the kids go to school half naked :eek: