An Indiana family said they were stunned when their 11-year-old son with autism was given an award for the “most annoying male” by his special education teacher.
Estella and Rick Castejon, of Gary, said their son Akalis received the award along with one other student during a fifth-grade event on May 23.
"When I saw it, I had to take a double take at it," Estella Castejon said. "I wasn’t sure if my eyes were reading it correctly."
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“Bailey Preparatory Academy 2018-2019 Most Annoying Male,” the award read.
Thankfully, the parents said they don’t believe their son understood what he won the award for, despite having been bullied before.
“He wanted it just because it was a nice, shiny star,” Rick Castejon said. “That was it.”
The parents said they were shocked the staff at Bailly Preparatory Academy allowed such an award to be given to their child, who is nonverbal and can become emotional at times.
“My son is a good boy. He’s not annoying, not with me,” Estella Castejon said.
Gary Community School Corp. did not respond to NBC 5’s multiple requests for comment but told the Northwest Indiana Times in a statement that it does “not condone this type of behavior and will continue to put the safety and well-being of our students first.”
The family said the school district apologized to them and said action would be taken against the teacher. The district did not comment on the status of the teacher involved.
“[Kids with autism] just want to be liked, they just want to have fun, be treated like normal people, that’s all,” Rick Castejon said.