After his younger brother managed to acquire a simple bouncy-ball from somewhere, Conner and his brother played with it for hours. After they were done, it apparently sparked an idea.
Using money he earned from his job, Conner decided to order 250 similar bouncy-balls from Amazon.com and distribute them to his classmates.
While his parents knew of the bouncy-balls, they had no idea what he was going to use them for, and since he was an honors student with absolutely no history of making mischief, they thought nothing of it.
With a plan to put a smile on the kids faces, Conner went up and down the lunch tables during lunchtime handing out the balls. At one point, when he witnessed another kid bouncing the ball in the hallway, Conner told him not to.
But according to Diane, Conner’s mom, it wasn’t what did happen that caught the ire of school administrators, but instead what could have happened she was told.
After lunch, the Vice Principal of the school proceeded to pull Conner from his Honors Italian class (Conner is in all honors classes, and in the top five percent of his class), and then marched him down to In-School Suspension.
Diane was notified of the situation by the Vice Principal and left with the option of leaving him there in ISS or coming to get him, since he seemed very upset. The Vice Principal however seemed upset that Conner did not seem to understand why he was in trouble or what he did that they thought was wrong.
Diane’s husband, who was available at that moment, went to the school to get Conner and take him home. Diane was prepared to be angry at her son, not knowing the whole story, only what the Vice Principal had told her but she decided that it was truly an act of kindness. He just wanted to put a smile on the kids’ faces. She couldn’t help but actually be proud of him.
However, her anger did not go away. Its target was now the school. After posting the simple story on social media, the community blew up with support. Many feared retaliations from the school and started a community “#FreeConner” hashtag in support of Conner’s random act of kindness.
Once that happened, the school called Diane and assured her that Conner was never actually in trouble. They promised her that nothing ever made it into Conner’s file and that he was never actually in ISS. They just wanted a place for him to be while he was upset.
While Diane can appreciate that thought, when she was asked why he wasn’t instead taken to the nurse’s office, the school counselor or even just to wait in the administrator’s office while they called her, the school had no reply. In fact Diane has since found out that when other students asked what happened to “the boy with the bouncy-balls”, other teachers and staff advised that he was sent to ISS.
Diane expressed how proud she was of not only her son for his Random Act of Kindness, but also at the community rallying behind them. She never expected so much attention and said people have even told her they were reaching out to the likes of Ellen Degeneres to get the word out about what happened.
When asked how the social media response was affecting Conner (I was worried that it could be a double-edged sword reminding him of a bad situation) Diane expressed it was only affecting him in a positive way. She said Conner is excited to see her screenshots, and happy for the support they are getting.
Conner did not wish to be pictured in our article (or others) at this time, but has requested he be able to vote in our poll. So attached above is a poll asking if you believe Conner deserved the punishment he received or not. While we ran a similar poll on Facebook, Conner (who does not have a social media presence) was not able to join in. So even if you voted before, please vote again.
I and everyone at Ocean County Scanner News would also like to congratulate Conner for being inducted into the school’s Music Honor Society this evening. We hope you continue to make people smile.