Teacher continues efforts to keep kids safe


Photo by Kaydin Robertson

U.S. History teacher Matt Cone, always ready and willing to help students in need whether it be tutoring, a sympathetic ear or a safe ride home.

Kaydin Robertson, A&E Editor

    Matt Cone, a social studies teacher, is a hero on campus who goes out of his way to ensure the safety of students on and off campus.


   On the night of the homecoming dance, Cone handed out his phone number to students in hopes that if they got into an unsafe situation, they would call him to get help.


    Cone has been handing out his phone number to kids for about 15 years after he lost one of his students. During Cone’s first year teaching at Plano, one of his students, Aaron Baker, did not come back from homecoming. Baker’s death caused Cone to take it upon himself to prevent anymore unnecessary teenage deaths.


    “I felt relieved to know that someone was willing to look after me if I got into trouble,” junior Payton Sliepka said.


    Cone finds a way to be there for his students and to ensure their safety by whatever means necessary. By giving students the option to call him for a ride, he provided his students with a no-judgement way of getting home safe.


    “I resolved that it wouldn’t happen again. If they needed a ride home, I was more than happy to do that,” Cone said.

    Luckily, Cone received no calls on homecoming night, except one from his friend in China, despite waiting up all night to be sure no one was ever unsafe and needed his help.


    “When my friend called me from China, I about had a heart attack,” Cone said.


    He expected it to be a distressed or unsafe student, but when he heard his friend’s voice, calling from China where it was 12:30 in the afternoon the next day, he was relieved.


    “I think that it’s honorable of him to wait up all night for a phone call that someone may or may not make,” junior Nicole Belin said.


    After Belin briefly conversed with Cone before homecoming, she said she felt safe and looked after.


    “Some kids never get to come home after hoco and it’s a really amazing thing to know that everyone got home safely,” Bellin said.


    Cone made sure that he was available if he was needed. He did not seek compensation or recognition. The only thing he hoped to gain was the security in knowing he did what he set out to do, possibly save a life.


    “I’m grateful that nobody had to call, but I am always here,” Cone said.