Last night I read an article about an eleven-year-old fifth grader in special education at a Gary, IN prep school who, at his school’s awards banquet, was actually called out in front of his peers and their parents and given an award for Most Annoying Male.
There was no mention of a Most Annoying Female but the first couple paragraphs of the article alone made my blood boil and caused me to see red.
“We were blindsided. We just weren’t expecting it,” the father said, according to the article. “As a principal or teacher, you should never let this happen to any student.”
When I was in school there was no special education except for the severely disabled. Autism wasn’t known about in school-age kids until I was well out of high school, but I likely would have been thrown in special ed had there been.
I would have been labeled a SPED kid (Special Education), the modern slang for a student in special education and dealt with that stigma as I’m sure this boy does. All I had to deal with were teachers calling we, “weird,” “stupid,” and “lazy” in front of my classmates, which, in my mind pales in comparison to what this young man went through at the banquet.
Not only was he called out in front of his whole world for being annoying, when the father tried to quietly and discreetly leave the disgusting award on the table instead of bringing it home, the teacher who gifted the award ran them down and told them not to leave it.
I praise the father for his restraint and for setting a great example for his son because I likely would have left it in a very uncomfortable place for that teacher, if you get my drift.
District emergency manager Peter Morikis immediately met with the family upon hearing the news and according to the Times of Gary, IN, had this to say.
“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,” Morikis said in a prepared statement to The Times. “We extend our deepest apologies to the impacted student, the family and anyone else who take offense to this unfortunate occurrence.”
No one knows the status of the teacher but the Times filed a Freedom of Information act this past Tuesday to find out the teacher’s employment status.
The nonverbal autistic child often rocks back and forth and can become very emotional, said the father and there were numerous calls home from the teacher throughout the school year regarding his behavior.
Is this how they “fix” behavior problems in Gary? Apparently at Bailey Preparatory Academy at least one teacher thinks this is a good way to handle it. I’m sure most schools across America would disagree with the manner in which this school handled the situation.
The family had already planned on moving to another city before the incident and would not have sent his son back to school in Gary regardless of the incident, but I’m sure this made the family realize they made the right decision.
“We just don’t want any other kids to go through this,” the father said. “Just because they have special needs doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings.”
Has anything similar happened to you or your child? Leave a comment below and let’s start a conversation.