Parents outraged after teacher gives autistic student ‘most annoying’ award
It was a special education teacher who picked an 11-year-old autistic boy as the most annoying student of the year.
Akalis Castejon is non-verbal autistic. Occasionally he rocks back and forth or shakes, reports ABC News Chicago.
His family was shocked when his Northwest Indiana school presented Akalis with a trophy engraved with “Most Annoying Male” for 2018-19.
The parents of an 11-year-old boy with autism say their son's teacher gave him the award for being the most annoying https://t.co/giQO0SgreF
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) June 5, 2019
Rick and Estella Castejon said they see the award as bullying by the fifth-grader’s teacher at Bailly Preparatory Academy in Gary.
“You’d think one would know and understand the conditions of autism and have more patience to deal with children who suffer from autism,” Estella told ABC News.
“I didn’t want to cause a scene with other parents there, so I left the award on the table and tried walking away, but the teacher came back and said Akalis forgot his award,” Rick told ABC News.
They told the TV station that some of the other students got positive awards, such as “most improved” or “funniest.”
Rick reportedly said he is thankful his son does not understand the meaning of the award.
“When they called him up he was just excited to get a gold star because it was shiny,” he told ABC News.
“He just wants to be like everyone else. He is like everyone else, the difference is he cannot express himself like every other person does,” Estella told ABC News.
Estella sought an apology for the incident. Although she did not get one from the teacher or principal, the school district reportedly did apologize and took unspecified disciplinary action.
Steven Adams is a Tribune-Review digital producer. You can contact Steven at 412-380-5645 or [email protected].