A Texas sergeant and his son recently found themselves separated not only by an eight-hour time difference, several bodies of water, hundreds of miles and a war, but by a high school official who suspended the boy for answering his dad's call during class.
Cove High School in Texas, where half the students have at least one parent deployed, justified the punishment against Brandon Hill by saying he had violated the no-cell-phone policy when he took the call from his father, who is serving in Iraq.
"I have been going through a lot of stress lately and my dad’s like my best friend, so I go to him for everything," the sophomore told FOX News on Saturday.
"I needed to talk to him, so my mom got a hold of him on Yahoo and told him to call me, so I answered the phone call in class."
When he learned of his son’s punishment, Master Sgt. Morris Hill said he was unsettled.
"When my wife told me, I was pretty disturbed by it," he said in a phone call from Iraq.
"I was pretty shocked, considering that several months before we left I had talked to the … assistant principal and thought everything was fine," Morris Hill said.
"Since my kid’s been going to the school we’ve had a pretty good working relationship."
And when his mother, Patricia Hill, tried to contact school officials, she received no response until her son’s story garnered media attention.
The matter has since been resolved, Patricia Hill said, but she added that more must be done to protect children around the country from being punished in similar circumstances.