This could be one of the most heartless and unfeeling stories ever reported on this site. According to The Times of Northwest Indiana, a fifth-grade special ed teacher in Gary presented a “most annoying male” trophy to an autistic child who annoyed her by involuntarily rocking back and forth. To add insult to injury, the child is reportedly very sensitive and becomes emotional with little provocation.
The child’s parents are understandably aghast:
Rick Castejon said the award was given to his 11-year-old son at a fifth-grade awards luncheon for Bailly Preparatory Academy students last month by a special education teacher in front of students, parents and the school’s principal Carlita Royal.
“We were blindsided. We just weren’t expecting it,” Castejon said. “As a principal or teacher, you should never let this happen to any student.”
A part of a regular end-of-year awards ceremony, parents fell silent as the trophy was presented to the 11-year-old student at a May 23 school awards luncheon at the Merrillville Golden Corral, Castejon said.
It’s inscribed “BAILEY PREPARATORY ACADEMY 2018-2019 MOST ANNOYING MALE.”
Not wanting to create a scene, the father said he tried to leave the award on a table at the Golden Corral at the end of the lunch, but was approached by his son’s teacher reminding him not to forget the trophy. He said the teacher acted as if she were trying to play the incident off like a funny joke.
The school administration issued an apology to Castejon said his family and assured them that the district would take action. The article notes that the teacher in question was absent from the fifth-grade graduation ceremony at the school on May 27. There is no confirmation that she was terminated.
Other stories focusing on the abuse by schools of autistic children have appeared in these pages. In 2018, for example, another autistic fifth-grader at a different school was handcuffed and hauled off to juvenile hall for aiming imaginary rifle. And in 2014, a teacher recorded herself and the principal bullying an autistic child while the class looked on and laughed.