Parents fury as autistic boy is presented with ‘most annoying male’ trophy

An school has sparked outrage after staff awarded an autistic fifth-grade student a trophy for ‘most annoying male’ of the year.

Rick Castejon says he was shocked when his 11-year-old son, who is on the autism spectrum, was handed the offensive trophy at a luncheon for Bailly Preparatory Academy students held on May 23.

His special education teacher presented him with the trophy in front of his parents, peers, and the school’s principal Carlita Royal.

‘We were blindsided. We just weren’t expecting it,’ Castejon said to the Times of Northwest Indiana. ‘As a principal or teacher, you should never let this happen to any student.’

The end-of-year ceremony took place at the Merrillville Golden Corrall where the entire class and proud parents gathered.

When the trophy was handed to Castejon’s son, parents at the ceremony reportedly fell silent.

The trophy bestowed to the son bore the inscription: ‘BAILEY PREPARATORY ACADEMY 2018-2019 MOST ANNOYING MALE.’

Hurt and offended, the father tried to leave the award on the table at the end of the meal but his son’s teacher then reminded him not to forget the trophy, playing the offensive title off as a funny joke.

Castejon said that his son’s teachers have called home multiple times with concerns about how to handle the student’s behavior, but it wasn’t until he saw the award that he felt a real concern.

He describes his son’s mannerism as consistent with a student with autism. The child is nonverbal, rocks his body back and forth, and can become emotional easily.

‘They called me all the time if he didn’t want to work, would cry or would have a breakdown,’ Castejon revealed. ‘A special needs education teacher should know how to handle these things.’

Following the incident, Castejon contacted the school administration. Castejon said he discussed with the emergency manager of the school district Peter Morikis the possibility of firing the teacher or putting the teacher on a two-week suspension.

Castejon said that the school teacher was notably absent from the fifth grade graduation celebration at the school on May 27.

The school district confirmed the incident on Monday, adding that the family has been met with and disciplinary action is being taken.

‘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,’ Morikis said to the Times.

He did not clarify the employment status of the staff involved in the matter.

‘An apology was extended on behalf of the district to the family, and disciplinary action was taken against personnel involved,’ Morikis said.

‘We acknowledge the potential impact that an experience like this could have on a child’s mental well-being, self-esteem and overall level of comfortability in a learning environment going forward,’ he added.

Castejon and his family had plans prior to the trophy incident to move to Valparaiso and will not send the boy to Gary schools next year.

Still, he’s speaking out to make sure other students aren’t subject to the same humiliating treatment.

‘We just don’t want any other kids to go through this,’ Castejon said. ‘Just because they have special needs doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings.’