An end-of-the-year award ceremony — where parents watch from the audience as teachers present students with various superlatives — is a very common tradition. They are held in schools across the U.S. as a means of celebrating the accomplishments of the students during that school year.
What was intended to be a lovely award ceremony quickly took a turn for the worse when Rick Castejon learned his 11-year-old son, who is both autistic and nonverbal, had been awarded the “most annoying male” by his special education teacher.
As The Inquisitr has previously reported, the teacher reportedly tried to brush it off as a bit of light humor. The young boy’s father, however, has told several media outlets he didn’t find the award humorous.
With the story making national headlines as it spreads like wildfire, many within the autism community have taken to social media to express outrage over the incident. In fact, many are calling for action, as they believe the teacher should be fired.
The story was recently shared by Toys AUcross America on Facebook. The group’s creator, Michael Miller, included the e-mail address for the school’s superintendent, encouraging autism advocates to “do their thing” and tell the system head why that teacher should be let go.
Miller has a massive following within the autism community and is known by many as “Autism Santa.” He and the non-profit organization, KultureCity, support several charitable programs, including one that brings toys and technology to autistic children across the country. Fans of Miller took no time in answering his call.
This is one of the most despicable things I have ever heard. The teachers/administrators intentionally displayed appalling callousness and cruelty towards an 11 year old boy with special needs. What in the world is going on in Gary, Indiana?— Charlie Mercer (@ChasmaineA) June 8, 2019
Miller’s post exploded with disgust from angry autism parents and members of the ASD community, who could not believe that a child had been treated this way. The comment section was a mixed bag of those who fervently wanted the teacher removed from her position and others who wanted to find a way to show their love and support for the victimized child.
“This not acceptable by any means. Seems there are adults bullying children”, one fan penned in the comments.
No parent , child should face such treatment. I am truly shocked to see such insensitivity coming from an authoritative figure. More awareness is required on autism— Noor Reflection (@Rinateacup) June 7, 2019
Boy with #Autism given 'most annoying' award by teacher, school board apologizes https://t.co/mhJQPP8Ssg
“Is there any way to contact the child? Maybe give him a much better award or a card showing our support? Something so he knows that he is not alone and this [expletive] teacher and his stupid award do not define himm [sic]” another supporter replied.
“That teacher should have the fastest route ever to unemployment trophy,” a third chimed in.
At the time of writing, no posts have been left in support of the teacher.
Based on this particular Facebook post, dozens of people confirmed they had reached out to the school’s superintendent to let him know their thoughts.
This inexcusable incident is why it’s vital to support increasing understanding and acceptance for people with autism…Together, we can create a more inclusive world for all. https://t.co/EkaDbvrPh5— Autism Speaks (@autismspeaks) June 5, 2019
The story continues to be shared across social media platforms, and reactions are very similar to those found on the Toys AUcross America page.
what took so long— Ross Meitin (@rossmeitin) June 8, 2019
According to ABC 7 Chicago, the school district is responding to the outcry for action, as they are taking steps toward terminating the teachers involved.