May 06, 2005

Blood boiling at this point


Ok, so the kid used profanity, whoopdeedo he's 17! And if you told me to get off the phone with my mother, you'd be facing a world of hurt. Parents, children, and spouses who have deployed overseas DON'T get to the phone that often. We didn't have the luxury of calling anytime we wanted. Oh, and not to forget the time difference, Iraq is 8 hours ahead of us! Ooooooo I am so mad right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(PS, Thanks to Sam who alerted me to this injustice)
UPDATE: Someone who had time to research the numbers and email for this school, posted HERE


Garrison Steelle said...


Oh, we CANNOT let this go by quietly! That teacher had some nerve interupting a kid on the phone with a parent under ANY circumstances.


And when his Mom's deployed? HELL NO!

This absolutely will NOT do.



Hayfever95 said...

WHAT?! Because people with family deployed get to talk all the time...

Every teacher has discretion as to whether the remedy on teh books is appropriate for the situation.

Yes he cursed at a teacher. I don't know many people who wouldn't have cursed.

Detention for cursing... maybe... 10 day suspension for talking to his mom... that's overkill. Hell... many kids get yelled at for NOT answering their phones when parents call...

Garrison Steelle said...

I have email addresses and a phone number for the school posted at my place.


Sam said...

Just think what this does for the morale of our troops. What is the mother(and her unit) thinking now, that she got her son suspended for 10 days? This is awful and so soooo wrong! I hope someone can find out who the Mom is and tell her she has support here!

Consul-At-Arms said...

" "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." "

This also has me absolutely furious. Who is this pencil-necked teacher to interrupt any parent-child conversation, especially from A MOTHER DEPLOYED TO IRAQ!?

This suspension is an injustice not to be borne.

I understand the rationale for no calls during class, but this situation cries out for an exception to policy.

Who do we have killed to fix this?

Sam said...

Thanks All - We did good!

This is from the hometown newspaper!

Posted on Sat, May. 07, 2005
Controversial call

Francois suspension reduced from 10 days to 3; board will review its cell phone policy


Staff Writer

A student's punishment for using a cell phone to answer a call from his mother deployed in Iraq has spawned a national outcry and led the school district to conditionally agree to reduce his suspension from 10 days to three.

Meanwhile, the Muscogee County School Board has said it will review its policy that prohibits students from using cell phones during school hours without permission.

Kevin Francois, 17, a junior at Spencer High School in Columbus, was suspended for disorderly conduct Wednesday after he was told to give up his cell phone during lunchtime while talking to his mother, Sgt. 1st Class Monique Bates of Fort Benning's 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division.

Karen Jones, the school board's secretary, said school district offices were swamped with hundreds of phone calls and e-mails complaining about the suspension. She said Superintendent John Phillips will allow the student back in school Monday, "but this is predicated on a satisfactory meeting with him, his guardian and the administration."

Kevin said he didn't expect national attention when he telephoned the Ledger-Enquirer late Wednesday, but he thinks it will help him achieve his intent: "My goal was to get back in school," he said.

Kevinsaid he called the school Friday to return to Spencer. He said Assistant Principal Alfred Parham told him the school needed to talk to his guardian, not him. But Kevin's guardian, was at work, he said.

Kevin admits he previously has been suspended for "playing around" in class. "I'm not a golden child, and I've been wrong, but I was right this time."

Parham said the school was overwhelmed with calls to the point the phone was taken off the hook. Parham, a former U.S. Army major, said the student was disorderly after the teacher told him to give up the cell phone.

"His initial suspension was for three days for cursing and being defiant," Parham said. "The punishment for a cell phone is that we take it up and give it to you at the end of the day."

Parham said Kevin's behavior has been "a chronic problem." His suspension was extended because "he did not want to accept the three-day suspension and to agree that he would not use the cell phone openly or curse."

Ten-day suspensions don't necessarily have to be served in full, only until a meeting can be scheduled to resolve the issue, Parham said.

A meeting is set for Monday morning with Kevin, his guardian, a representative from the mother's Fort Benning unit and school officials.

"I think what has happened is that America may have seemed outraged because of the way it appeared and I can appreciate that," Parham said. " I can appreciate America running to the defense of a child whose parent is in Iraq. They think this child has been unjustly dealt with. I would want the same type of reaction in support of my family."

Parham, however, still stands by the school's action. He said the school does allow students to talk to deployed parents -- but only if they receive permission. He said 25 to 30 of the school's students have done this. About half of Spencer's 1,000 students are from military families, Parham said.

Kevin and his guardian said they weren't aware of that exception to the cell phone policy.

The incident started when Kevin said he received a call from his mother at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday during his lunch break. Kevin said he went outside the school building to get a better reception when his mother called. Kevin said a teacher, Felicita Pescia, saw him on his phone and told him to get off the phone. But he didn't. He said he told her, "This is my mom in Iraq. I'm not about to hang up on my mom."

Pescia is a 20-year educator and was Spencer's 2004 Teacher of the Year. Kevin said she demanded he give the phone to her. But he refused. He said Pescia tried to take the phone, causing it to hang up. Pescia couldn't be reached for comment.

Kevin said he went with Pescia to the school's office, where a secretary took it out of his hand. By then, Kevin's mother called again at 12:37 p.m. and left a message scolding him about hanging up and telling him to answer the phone when she calls.

Parham disagrees with Kevin's version. He said Kevin was in the hallway when Pescia saw him talking on his cell phone and did not tell the teacher he was speaking with his mother in Iraq until he was taken to the office.

Kevin's mother, Monique Bates, left in January for a one-year tour and serves with the 203rd Forward Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division.

Bates came to Fort Benning with her son from Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Ga., and enrolled him at Spencer in August. Since her deployment overseas, Kevin, whose father was killed when he was 5, lives with a guardian who has five children in Columbus.

His guardian, Shalita Hartwell, is a staff sergeant with Fort Benning's 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment. Hartwell, a friend of the family, considers Kevin her nephew. She received a call from the school Wednesday regarding his behavior. She said she was surprised when she learned about Kevin's suspension and tried to explain his situation to Parham.

Hartwell, who served in Iraq with Fort Carson-based 360th Transportation Company in 2003, knows well what it's like to be away from your children.

"You can only call when you can call," she said. "You don't know what your mission is out there. You don't know how tired you get when you come back. You can only call when you can call."

When asked about Kevin's dispute attracting national attention, she said:

"I think if it doesn't benefit Kevin, it will benefit children in the future. There should be an exception of policy for these kids. I understand they don't want cell phones in school when teachers are giving a lesson and the phone is ringing. But it should be on silent or vibrate."

Anonymous said...

Okay my opinion is that yes...the teacher had very poor judgment in ordering the kid off the phone. On the other hand, any kid that gets nasty - even if he is right - deserves to be suspended. Not suspended for the phone call, but suspended for the attitude. He said himself he often gets in trouble. If he'd had a clean act all along, he would have been much more likely to get his way this time!