Responding to a 6-year-old’s humiliating punishment for tardiness at school, the Oregon communities of Grants Pass and Medford have come together to support the boy and his family.
The policy for tardiness at Lincoln Elementary School in Grants Pass states that once a child has been late three times, a detention will be issued for that event, as well as for each subsequent act of tardiness thereafter. First grade student Hunter Cmelo knew he would be facing punishment for tardiness when he arrived only one minute late to school that morning, for a reason he had absolutely no control over. He was so upset he entered school already in tears.
Concerned for her little boy, Nicole Garloff went back to school to check on Hunter, and the tardiness punishment she witnessed was shocking, according to ABC News.
“He was at the first table as you walk into the cafeteria, and he was just sitting there with one of those cardboard poster partitions in front of him… and two or three books next to him.”
Hunter Cmelo sits behind divider in the lunchroom because he was one minute late to school due to car trouble.
The purpose behind this type of punishment for tardiness is for the children to catch up on work missed while they were absent. Hunter, however, was only one minute late so had not missed anything at all. Nicole was angry Hunter had to endure a humiliating punishment before the entire lunchroom.
“I was really upset. I went and got my iPad and took a picture of him. He wasn’t tardy so many times that he deserved that.”
Laura Hoover, Hunter’s grandma, was so infuriated by the harsh punishment he received that she posted the heart-wrenching pictures of Hunter on Facebook, reports the New York Daily News.
“His momma’s car sometimes doesn’t like to start right up. Sometimes he’s a couple minutes late to school. Yesterday, he was one minute late. This is what his momma discovered they do to punish him.”
Bill Meyer, from AM 1440, heard about the little boy’s punishment for tardiness, and the reason behind the tardiness. He contacted Kelly’s Automotive, owned by Lisa McClease-Kelly, to see if she would be interested in making repairs to the Garloff’s vehicle. Lisa found that the problems with the car were more than what the vehicle was worth, so she reached out to Rapid Repo and Collections. The repo company donated a 2001 Chrysler Town and Country minivan.
Hearing of the young boy’s extreme punishment for tardiness, local area businesses, along with Kelly’s Automotive, came together to pay for repairs to the van.
Hunter’s family was completely taken aback when they went to pick up their vehicle. In addition to the free, updated vehicle, donations of free oil changes, gas cards, and restaurant gift certificates were given to the Garloffs. Bill Meyer was happy to help.
“This family never asked for the help. All they ever wanted was to change the school policy. We saw a way to do a little nudge, and then everyone else came in with their time and generosity.”
The Grants Pass Superintendent’s Office states the tardiness punishment has been slightly changed.
“As a result of the concerns raised, the district ended the learning catch-up location at Lincoln Elementary School. Going forward, a separate, supervised classroom has been designated for necessary catch-up work.”
Thanks to a kind community, Hunter will not have to face punishment for tardiness again. Since receiving the van, he has been to school on time each day.
[Images via the Daily Mail/KVAL]