- At a recent school awards ceremony, an 11-year-old boy with autism was given the “most annoying” student award.
- Speaking to The Times of Northwest Indiana, his father, Rick Castejon, said he was “blindsided” by the gesture, which he felt was inappropriate coming from the school.
- The teacher who presented the award tried to act as if it were a joke, Castejon said.
- School district officials said that disciplinary action has been taken against the personnel involved.
- Castejon said he decided to share the story so this doesn’t happen to other students: “Just because they have special needs doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings.”
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The father of an 11-year-old boy with autism is speaking out after his son was given an award calling him the “most annoying” student at a school event, according to The Times of Northwest Indiana.
Rick Castejon said that a special education teacher at Bailly Preparatory Academy presented the award to his son, who has not been identified, during an awards luncheon at which other students, teachers, and the school’s principal were also in attendance.
“We were blindsided. We just weren’t expecting it,” Castejon told The Times of Northwest Indiana. “As a principal or teacher, you should never let this happen to any student.”
Castejon says that the teacher presented the “most annoying male” award tried to act as if it were a joke. But he’s not sure.
Castejon said that this year he received several phone calls from the teacher about his son.
“They called me all the time if he didn’t want to work, would cry or would have a breakdown,” Castejon said. “A special needs education teacher should know how to handle these things.”
Now he thinks those calls and the award show a larger, troubling pattern. Soon after, Castejon contacted school administrators to let them know about the situation.
Gary Community School Corporation emergency manager Peter Morikis met with the family to discuss potential outcomes of the situation. Morikis said that they were considering suspending or firing the involved teacher, who has not been identified.
In a statement to ABC News, Morikis called it an “unfortunate occurrence” but declined to comment on the teacher’s current status.
The emergency manager didn’t immediately respond to INSIDER’s request for comment.
Before this transpired, Castejon and his family were considering moving to a new school district before the upcoming school year. Now they are sure. Speaking to The Times of Northwest Indiana, Castejon said that he decided to share this story so that other students won’t have to go through the same thing.
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