A fifth grader at a Gary, Indiana school was given an award trophy at an end-of-the-year ceremony, and his parents are in shock. The 11-year-old autistic student was named “Most Annoying Male” at Bailey Preparatory Academy.

The boy’s father, Rick Castejon, told The Times of Northwest Indiana that he and his son attended the event at a Golden Corral restaurant along with other parents, students, and the school’s principal. When one of the special education teachers called his son’s name to present the award, he said the room fell silent.

Castejon said he attempted to leave the award behind after the event but the teacher reminded him and tried to laugh things off. Understandably, he was not amused but believed the teacher(s) was mocking his son due to the amount of calls placed to the home during the school year for his behavior.

He shared that his son is non-verbal and sometimes rocks back and forth or has outbursts, but these teachers should already be aware of that.

“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 the school district’s emergency manager, Peter Morikis, who apologized to the parents for the incident and informed them that the personnel involved received disciplinary action. Castejon noted the teacher was not present at the school’s graduation ceremony.

Morikis also issued a formal statement 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 shared that their family already had plans to move from the area, and his son will not be attending any schools in this district next year. As a result of this, he hopes that other special needs children will not have to endure the same type of treatment at school.

What are your thoughts on how this little boy was treated? Have you been in a similar situation? Are you surprised by the teacher’s actions?