In Gary, Indiana, something happened that outraged the parents of an 11-year-old autistic student. It occurred at the Bailey Preparatory Academy when their son was awarded the ‘Most Annoying Male’ award at the end of fifth grade.
Rick Castejon, his father, spoke with a local newspaper in Indiana. His son had attended an event with other students, parents and the school principal at the Golden Corral restaurant. His son was called up to accept an award and the room fell silent.
Castejon didn’t want to take the award for obvious reasons but the teacher gave him a reminder and even tried to make light of the situation. The father was not happy that the school was mocking his son because there were a lot of phone calls coming from the school that year due to his behavior.
His son is nonverbal and at times, may have an outburst or rocks back and forth. Teachers should be aware of that situation already.
“We were blindsided. We just weren’t expecting it. As a principal or teacher, you should never let this happen to any student.”
Castejon and his wife met with Peter Morikis, the school district’s emergency manager. He apologized to them and said that the appropriate disciplinary action would be given to those individuals involved. It was noted that the teacher did not attend the graduation ceremony.
A formal statement was also issued by Morikis on behalf of Gary schools:
“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. We extend our deepest apologies to the impacted student, the family and anyone else who take offense to this unfortunate occurrence.”
Castejon and his family were already considering moving out of the area. His son will not be going to district schools the following year. He hopes that other students with special needs will be better off as a result of him following up on this outrage.