15 year-old Anthony Ruelas was not rewarded for carrying an asthmatic classmate to the school nurse – he was suspended for it.

Ruelas’ eighth grade class at Gateway Middle School, an alternative school in the Killeen Independent School District in Texas, was instructed by the teacher to remain calm and seated after a student claimed she was having an asthma attack on Jan. 19, reports KCEN.

While the teacher waited to receive email instructions from the school nurse, the girl gagged and wheezed for three minutes without receiving any help. She then collapsed out of her chair and fell to the floor, prompting Ruelas to take action.

According to the teacher’s report, Ruelas stood up against her instructions and picked up the girl, saying, “f—k that, we ain’t got time to wait for no email from the nurse,” and proceeded to carry the young girl to the nurse’s office.

Mandy Cortes, Ruelas’s mother, acknowledged her son’s language was inappropriate, but regards his suspension as unwarranted. “I don't think he should have used that language, but as far as getting suspended for walking out of class, he could have saved her life,” she said. “ He may not follow instructions all the time, but he does have a great heart.”

“I broke rules,” Ruelas admitted, “but, she needed help, like, she needed help.” The following day, the student texted Ruelas to thank him and to let him know that she was going to be ok. Ruelas says that if he could go back in time, he would “most definitely” help her again.

Schools lack well-understood policies and procedures for asthma attacks in the classroom despite the fact that asthma is more prevalent in children than in adults, and that the number of diagnoses is rapidly increasing. As a result, good-natured students such as Ruelas are punished for offering help when the administration fails to take quick action.

Just one week prior to the incident, another Texas middle school student was suspended for an asthma-related incident. Indiyah Rush, 12, a student at Schrade Middle School in Garland, was given several days of at-home suspension, and now faces up to 30 days of alternative school, for lending her inhaler to a friend having an asthma attack in gym class.

“I was just trying to save her life,” Rush said, according to Fox News. “I didn’t know I was doing anything bad.”

Both Rush and the ill student are being punished for “sharing a controlled substance,” due to the health risks that come from sharing prescription medicines, including inhalers.

Monique Rush, Indiyah’s mother, said such an extensive punishment would likely do more harm than good, as it may put her in a dangerous environment. “My kid would be mixed with kids that are using drugs at school or acting out in class. I don’t want any of that to rub off on her.”

Rush and Ruelas are already facing punishment, but future incidents like these can be avoided by increasing asthma awareness in the school system.