GARY, Ind. (WFLA) – An Indiana father was left in disbelief after his son, who has autism, was given an award for “most annoying male,” The Times of Northwest Indiana reported.
Rick Castejon said the award was given to his 11-year-old son by a special education teacher at Bailly Preparatory Academy during an annual end-of-year ceremony for fifth-graders. The child’s classmates, parents and the school principal were present.
The award is inscribed “BAILEY PREPARATORY ACADEMY 2018-2019 MOST ANNOYING MALE,” according to the newspaper.
“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.”
Castejon said he didn’t want to create a scene and tried to leave the award on the table at the end of the lunch, but his son’s teacher reminded him to take it with him.
He said that his son is nonverbal, occasionally rocks back and forth and can become easily emotional. Teachers often call with concerns about how to handle his son’s behavior, the father said.
“They called me all the time if he didn’t want to work, would cry or would have a breakdown,” Castejon told the newspaper. “A special needs education teacher should know how to handle these things.”
Castejon said his family contacted school administrators and met with the principal to discuss his concerns. The father said they discussed putting the teacher on a two-week suspension or firing them. The school district said “an apology was extended on behalf on the district to the family and disciplinary action was taken against personnel involved.”
Castejon said his family already had plans to move to another city and will not be enrolling his son in a Gary school next year.