When Indiana father Rick Castejon attended his son’s year-end awards ceremony at Bailly Preparatory Academy, he was horrified by the “award” his son was given. Castejon’s 11-year-old son, a fifth-grader who has autism, was given a “Most Annoying Male” trophy. The Times of Northwest Indiana reports that students, parents, and school officials in attendance were all shocked by the incident.
“We were blindsided. We just weren’t expecting it,” Castejon told the newspaper. “As a principal or teacher, you should never let this happen to any student.”
Castejon said that he tried to quickly leave after the ceremony, but was stopped by his son’s teacher reminding him to take home the trophy. Later, at home, the father was able to process what happened and grew even more upset.
“We just don’t want any other kids to go through this,” Castejon later told the paper. “Just because they have special needs doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings.”
The young boy is nonverbal and often becomes frustrated and emotional. Castejon says it’s evident that his teachers are unequipped to handle this, as they often called home about the boy’s behavior.
School officials responded to the events by meeting with the family and issuing a formal apology. Emergency manager Peter Morikis told the newspaper: “The Gary Community School Corp. does not condone this type of behavior and will continue to put the safety and well-being of our students first. We extend our deepest apologies to the impacted student, the family and anyone who take offense to this unfortunate occurrence.”
A teacher gave (in front of the entire 5th grade class) a "MOST ANNOYING MALE" trophy to an 11-year-old non-verbal autistic child who "occasionally rocks back & forth and can become easily emotional."
— Ben (@BenHowe) June 5, 2019