BRYAN, Texas A teen at the center of a controversial suspension at Rudder High School in Bryan is speaking out.
Christian Tumax, 18, was at lunch on Monday when he said he heard a friend of his, who has special needs, yelling from behind him.
"I turned around and saw he was being harassed," said Tumax.
Tumax said he's known the teen for a while, and he has trouble making friends. It didn't take Tumax long to figure out what to do next.
"I told the guys to be quiet and leave him alone," said Tumax.
After an exchange of words, Tumax found himself talking with school officials. He was suspended the same day.
Tumax said it was the surveillance footage from the cafeteria that school officials based their decision on. He said in the footage, it appears that he was the aggressor, even though there were dozens of other students in the cafeteria who could have testified otherwise.
"They had to base it off what they saw in the cameras," said Tumax. "They saw me go forward, and that's the reason I got suspended."
Students upset with the decision to suspend Tumax took to social media and created the Free Tumax hash tag.
Later, Bryan ISD Superintendent Dr. Thomas Wallis tweeted "I appreciate the messages today, I do read them. Please remember student discipline issued by a campus is a confidential matter."
In a statement, Bryan ISD officials said "Individual student discipline is tied to confidential student records. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding any one event, by law the district cannot comment. These privacy boundaries are put in place to protect students and their confidential information."
In spite of it all, Tumax said he's not upset with school officials for their decision to suspend him. He said they were just doing their job, and he's ready to get back to school and put the whole thing behind him.
Tumax said there's a deeper lesson that needs to be learned from the ordeal.
"My message is, go out and help somebody," said Tumax. "If you see it, don't hesitate, don't be scared. We're all human, we all need help, and we all have demons that we're fighting with."
Tumax said he'd do the same thing if faced with a similar situation. As for the suspension, he said school officials told him it wouldn't go on his permanent record.