Update On Student Suspended For Using Cell Phone

The 17 year old student, Kevin Francois, has had his suspension reduced from 10 days to 3 days and will be returning to school on Monday. Some other items of interest in this story,

  1. The school is denying Kevin’s version of events in regards to informing the teacher he was talking to his mother in Iraq.
  2. Kevin has been a “chronic problem” behavior wise.
  3. The school does have a policy of letting children of deployed parents talk to the parent via phone.
  4. Kevin and his guardian did not make special arrangements regarding the above policy.

The school district was basically inundated with calls and e-mails. The phone calls got so bad (in terms of number of calls) that the phone had to be taken off the hook. Also, the school board is going to be reviewing the policy of prohibiting students from using cell phones during school hours. With regards to the phone policy above, I’m curious as to how pro-active the school is in making sure that students with a deployed parent are aware of special policy.

“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.”

In light of the special policy for children of deployed parents and that Kevin’s mother is deployed this seems just silly.

FILED UNDER: Education
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.

Comments

  1. bryan says:

    Hmm. Seems your overreacting to a one-sided report of what happened had its desired effect. Hope you’re happy.

  2. charlotte says:

    What seems silly? When I first read the burlb about this action taken toward the student I sat and thought a while before I read the newspaper article. Then I read the article. Lets see. Student caught on phone when school says they are not supposed to be on phone.
    student asked to hang up and turn over phone, he refuses, curses out the teacher has a complete meltdown in the school office, we used to call that having a temper tamtrum, then FINALLY calms down and says it was his Momma in Iraq.
    NOW the student is a hero? Its ok to refuse to do what people in authoirty over you ask you to do?
    Does his mothers CO(Commanding Officer) know this?
    Folks, what are we teaching our students, its ok to yell and scream and act like a total jerk because the end is justified?
    This kid has firgured it out. He can con his way through life blaming all other for his behavior instead of becoming more adult like.
    This student now has the teachers right where he wants them, let them TRY and maintain order in the classroom, campus ANYWHERE. He´s going to showém whos boss.
    Its tragic that the angle that sells the news on this story is about the student and WHO he was talking to instead, HOW the student reacted to a request by someone in authority .
    If that was my son, I would be embarrassed and humilated that I had FAILED as a parent.That my son had no more respect for authority than to yell and scream. Especially if my job was the military and MY JOB is to have respect for authority.

  3. Angela says:

    We are talking about a 17 year old who has no father and who’s mother is serving in Iraq. Yes, he did not behave correctly, however, I am sure that his emotions took over his common sense. How scary it must be for him to have his mother in harms way. The news is filled each day with bombings and killings. Each phone call that he receives could be the last. Perhaps counseling and not suspension is in order. Have a heart people…it’s Mother’s Day and his mom is in Iraq serving her country.

  4. Just Me says:

    You know, even if the whole story is the schools version, 10 days or even three days suspension for this is just plain overreacting on the part of the school.

    Suspension should be reserved for real behavior issues, not a kid using a few cuss words and talking to his mom in Iraq.

    Also, given the fact that his mom was in Iraq, and called him, just hanging up and calling back later wasn’t exactly an easy thing to accomplish. If my only parent was thousands of miles away in a war zone, I probably wouldn’t have hung up the phone either.

  5. Reality says:
  6. Meezer says:

    The boy’s father has already “left” him, however inadvertantly. How terrified he must be that his mother will die as well. Of all the fears of childhood, this is the greatest: that you will be alone and defenseless in the world. And 17 is still young.

  7. John Cole says:

    All of you are failing to look at this in context, as well. Schools are prisons without trial or jury- you are forced to go there, and there are nine billion rules that you must follow. We have all heard the excesses of the idiotic zero tolerance policies across the country, so I will not recount them.

    Now, remember that, and think of it this way:

    A kid, whose mother is deployed, already in the context of a school system where every aspect of your behavior is micro-managed, gets a phone callfrom his mother deployed with the military to Iraq. A teacher interrupts, acts the petty tyrant, and the kid explodes.

    Who wouldn’t?

  8. Paul says:

    Someone capable of being an adult within the year, John. Hopefully he learns in the dwindling months until then, that the state trooper, or the judge, or the drill sergeant should he serve in the military, won’t cave as easily as a school who worries more about public scrutiny than disciplining children with no self control.

  9. Steve says:

    Bryan,

    I don’t know about over-reacting since we only have the teachers word over Kevin’s in regards to informing the teacher. I still think trying to take the phone from him was stupid if not for the very least that she is starting to turn the confrontation into a physical one, and that could lead to very unfortunate results.

    Charlotte,

    Given that Kevin’s mother is deployed and that he was previously talking to her, not letting him talk to her when she called back strikes me as downright petulant. It strikes me as almost goading him into behaving even more irresponsibly. Kevin screwed up in letting it get to him, but I expect better of adults.

    Student caught on phone when school says they are not supposed to be on phone.
    student asked to hang up and turn over phone, he refuses, curses out the teacher has a complete meltdown in the school office, we used to call that having a temper tamtrum, then FINALLY calms down and says it was his Momma in Iraq.

    Paging Bryan, come in Bryan. You going to just stand by and let Charlotte make up stuff we don’t necessarilly to be true? Don’t bother answering I already know the answer.

    Does his mothers CO(Commanding Officer) know this?

    What?

    Folks, what are we teaching our students, its ok to yell and scream and act like a total jerk because the end is justified?
    This kid has firgured it out. He can con his way through life blaming all other for his behavior instead of becoming more adult like.
    This student now has the teachers right where he wants them, let them TRY and maintain order in the classroom, campus ANYWHERE. Hes going to showm whos boss.

    My what a vivid fantasy life you have. Sheesh. Next thing you’ll be telling us is that Kevin Francois will take over the world. Sheesh.

  10. Insider says:

    This kid is 1 year away from graduating with a subpar GPA and a chronic behavioral problem and many of you want to say “poor Kevin, it’s not your fault you lost control.” With that message to fall back on what’s the likelihood that he’s going to turn it around? More info on this at:
    http://informedsources.blogspot.com/2005/05/suspended-cell-phone-students-behavior.html#comments

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  12. charlotte says:

    Hey Steve,
    Please read ANYTHING from Columbus Ga. Newspaper or The Sun Sentinel in Ft.Lauderdale.
    The Sun Sentinel stated he had been a disipline problem at school.And he was very disruptive in the office and the school officials had to get him to calm down in order to find out what as going on.( cussing and being beligerent)

    Paging Bryan, come in Bryan. You going to just stand by and let Charlotte make up stuff we don’t necessarilly to be true? Don’t bother answering I already know the answer.

    Given that Kevin’s mother is deployed and that he was previously talking to her, not letting him talk to her when she called back strikes me as downright petulant. It strikes me as almost goading him into behaving even more irresponsibly. Kevin screwed up in letting it get to him, but I expect better of adults.

    Steve,
    At 17 ( I know I have one at that age) a young man HAS to be able to control his emotions better, as the young man has said in other interviews that he doesnt control him self well and he has a problem with authority. This young man has had enough problems on the campus to make him suspect on just about everything he does. He has been trouble, You see in the real world there are consquences for your behaviors and actions and unfortunaly THIS TIME he may have been justified in his behavior BUT as the newpaper articles have repeatly reported he has been a big problem. You dont get ANY slack when you repeatly act disruptivly toward school officials.
    So the school officials( the adults) did act appropiatley, they have a young man with dicipline problems that at first glance thought he was being his normal temper tantrum self then found out that his mother was on the phone with him and changed his suspension from 10 days to 3. Tell me in your daily job do you have to enforce a set of rules that are not unreasonable to follow only to be yelled at cursed out and (if you were a woman ) possibly physically threaten- by a 17 year old? AND still have to follow an education plan for your real job which is teaching?

  13. Slayton says:

    I’m from the same town as this incident happened. I am talking to a friend who goes to school with the kid right now. He DIDN’T go outside for the call, and he WASN’T on lunch break. He was walking down the hall with his phone to his ear, a violation. From what I hear, the kid is disrespectful in general. But I will say this, wouldn’t you all be mad if a teacher asked you to hang up when it’s your mom in Iraq? Maybe cursing wasn’t the right thing, but I think i stand for everyone when I say that I’d be mad…

  14. Insider says:

    Okay, I got hammeredon my earlier post. I still believe that the young man needs to take responsibility for this and I think with a few short sentences he can go from delinquent to national hero.

    Anyway, my getting pounded and my response are at:
    http://informedsources.blogspot.com/2005/05/readers-speak-out-on-case-of-suspended.html#comments