An Indiana school has sparked criticism in public when the staff gave an autistic fifth-grade student the award for the ‘most annoying male’ of the year.
Rick Castejon, the father of the 11-year-old said that he was simply shocked when his son was handed the offensive trophy at a luncheon for Bailly Preparatory Academy students held on May 23.
The award was presented to him by his special education teacher in front of his peers, parents, and the school’s principal Carlita Royal.
Castejon said, ‘We were blindsided. We just weren’t expecting it. As a principal or teacher, you should never let this happen to any student.’
When the trophy was handed over, the parents at the ceremony reportedly fell silent.
The trophy bored the inscription: ‘BAILEY PREPARATORY ACADEMY 2018-2019 MOST ANNOYING MALE.’
Hurt and offended, the parents tried to leave the trophy behind but the teacher reminded them to take the award home, playing the offensive title off as a funny joke.
Castejon said that the teachers of the school have called home many times in the past complaining that they are finding it difficult to handle him, but it wasn’t until he saw the award that he felt a real concern.
His son’s mannerism is consistent with a student with autism. The child rocks his body back and forth, is nonverbal, and can become emotional easily.
Castejon revealed, ‘They called me all the time if he didn’t want to work, would cry or would have a breakdown. A special needs education teacher should know how to handle these things.’
Castejon has contacted the school administration and discussed with the emergency manager of the school district Peter Morikis, the possibility of either firing the teacher or putting her on a two-week suspension.
Morikis said to the Times, ‘The Gary Community School Corporation does not condone this type of behavior and will continue to put the safety and well-being of our students first. We extend our deepest apologies to the impacted student, the family and anyone else who take offense to this unfortunate occurrence.’
‘An apology was extended on behalf of the district to the family, and disciplinary action was taken against personnel involved,’ Morikis said.
‘We acknowledge the potential impact that an experience like this could have on a child’s mental well-being, self-esteem and overall level of comfortability in a learning environment going forward,’ he added.
The family had planned to move to Valparaiso earlier so will not send the boy to Gary schools next year. But he still spoke on the issue to make sure other students aren’t subject to the same humiliating treatment.
‘We just don’t want any other kids to go through this,’ Castejon said. ‘Just because they have special needs doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings.’
Source – Daily mail