An Indiana school has been forced to issue an apology after an 11-year-old autistic student was presented with the “most annoying” award by his teacher.
The youngster’s father, Rick Castejon, was horrified when his son was handed a trophy inscribed with the title, “Bailly Preparatory Academy 2018-2019 Most Annoying Male.” The dad was in attendance at the awards luncheon for students at Bailly Preparatory Academy in Gary when the shocking incident occurred.
Not wanting to make a scene, Castejon explained that he left the trophy on the table and ushered his distraught son out of the classroom, before being stopped by a member of staff who reminded him not to forget the award, before attempting to laugh it off as a joke.
“We were blindsided. We just weren’t expecting it,” Castejon told
WWLP. “As a principal or teacher, you should never let this happen to any student.”
The devastated father explained that his son is non-verbal but occasionally rocks back and forth on his chair and can get very emotional. He also noted that the school regularly rings home for advice on how to deal with his son’s behavior — he thinks that this might be an indication for why they chose the young man for this dreadful award.
“We just don’t want any other kids to go through this,” Castejon added. “Just because they have special needs doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings.”
School issues apology
Upon heariing about the incident, The Gary Community School Corporation quickly issued a statement, saying that an “apology was extended on behalf of the district to the family and disciplinary action was taken against personnel involved.”
But that didn’t come soon enough, as outrage at the teacher’s actions spilled out across social media. “I usually back the teacher cuz that’s my job bias but not only is this terribly unprofessional, it’s just horrible on a human level,” one person wrote on Twitter.
“The district should help this person decide to find another line of work today,” another added. “Not one more child should be subjected to this human’s calloused poor judgement.”
“Sickening,” another added. “Not even poor judgment. Just plain cruel.”