Teacher mocks autistic student with 'most annoying male' award in front of other students, parents and school principal
The incident occurred at a restaurant where students, parents and teachers had gathered for lunch as part of the end-of-year awards ceremony
An 11-year-old student with autism was given an award by his teacher which read "Most Annoying Male" at Bailly Preparatory Academy in Gary, Indiana. According to a report by NWITimes, the child's father Rick Castejon revealed that the award was presented to his son in front of other students, parents, and the school's principal.
Rick Castejon told the Times of Northwest Indiana that "We were blindsided. We just weren't expecting it." He continued, "As a principal or teacher, you should never let this happen to any student." It came as a shock to the parents who were clearly outraged at the insensitivity of the teacher who was responsible for caring for the students and not mocking them.
Peter Morikis, Gary Community School Corp. emergency manager, did accept that the incident occurred and released an apology on behalf of the school. In a prepared statement, he said: "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." He added: "We extend our deepest apologies to the impacted student, the family and anyone else who take offense to this unfortunate occurrence."
The awards were being presented at a restaurant over lunch for Bailly Preparatory Academy students as part of the end-of-year awards ceremony. Castejon revealed that the entire place went silent when the award was announced. The award also had the inscription "BAILEY PREPARATORY ACADEMY 2018-2019 MOST ANNOYING MALE" engraved at the bottom.
Castejon even tried to let go off the matter when he tried leaving the award behind at the restaurant but his son's teacher came ahead and reminded him not to forget the award. The teacher tried passing off the incident as a joke which clearly wasn't appropriate and led to much embarrassment for all present.
Morikis said in a statement that "An apology was extended on behalf of the district to the family, and disciplinary action was taken against personnel involved." He added, "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."
The teacher's name and employment status have not been revealed by the school administration but they could suspend the teacher for two weeks and even think of firing them in due course if needed. Castejon said, "We just don’t want any other kids to go through this. Just because they have special needs doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings.:
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