May It Please The Court

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Quote of the Day - My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it. - Mark Twain
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Georgia High School Teacher Hangs Up On Mother's Day

After reading this post, you probably won't be surprised to learn that I spent some time in the military, and that I'm sympathetic to being deployed away from your loved ones for long periods of time.

So, when high schooler Kevin Francois got a call on his cell phone from his mother, Sergeant First Class Monique Bates of the 203rd Forward Support Battalion, he took the call, even though he was in school.

After all, she's scheduled to be away from home for a year, defending her country. Assistant Principal Alfred Parham of Spencer High School in Columbus, Georgia elected to suspend Kevin for 10 days after an altercation arising out the phone call.

According the AP story linked above, when Kevin was first asked to hang up (the school has a policy prohibiting use of cell phones during school hours), he refused and said, "This is my mom in Iraq. I'm not about to hang up on my mom."

A reasonable response, fully informing the teacher what was going on. Although the story doesn't say, I'll surmise that it got uglier from there. Admittedly, I don't know both sides of the story. Most likely, however, the teacher was one of those who doesn't understand the concept of bending the rules or recognizing reasonable exceptions. From there, it appears that Kevin responded with profanity when the teacher became insistent that he hang up the phone.

So, the school suspended Kevin for ten - yep, count 'em, 10 - days.

Little punishment for the privilege of speaking to your mother just before Mother's Day, while your Mom is in an Army of one in Iraq.

Should Kevin have been suspended? Was the teacher right, or should Kevin have been allowed all the time he needed to talk to his Mom? My bet? That teacher, and the school, will never understand the meaning of discipline, despite imposing this punishment.

Not that I would ever wish it, and certainly my hopes and prayers will be with Sergeant First Class Monique Bates and her son Kevin until she arrives home safely, but how do you think the teacher would feel if, after forcing Kevin to hang up, an insurgent bomb went off?

Posted by J. Craig Williams on Saturday, May 07, 2005 at 17:22 Comments (3)


Comments by Dave! from United States on Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 11:28 - IP Logged
You know, I wasn't ever in the military, but even I can't understand how a teacher could make a student hang up on his own mother, who was about to be deployed to Iraq! That's insanity.

Comments by Mike from United States on Monday, May 09, 2005 at 23:26 - IP Logged
Brilliant headline!

Comments by Reed Webb from United States on Saturday, May 07, 2005 at 21:17 - IP Logged
You hit the center of the target with your observation about the difference between discipline and handing out punishment. Any pettty tyrant can punish but it takes an ordered and controlled disciplined mind to rise above tyrany. But that takes effort and that is why school districts like the "zero tolerance" approach so much, they don't have to think.

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