Was This Autistic Boy Bullied By a Teacher?

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An autistic 11-year-old boy in Gary, Indiana was given an award by his special needs teacher for “most annoying male.” Was this child bullied by a teacher? You decide.

We’ve written about bullying before. One 16-year-old was bullied so badly, he wound up unable to speak or walk after he was beaten up. And a community in Wisconsin, in an effort to end bullying, has plans to fine parents of bullies. Bullying is a very serious matter and should be thoughtfully dealt with immediately when a parent suspects it is happening to their child. You can learn more at StopBullying.gov.

Autistic Boy Bullied by a Teacher
courtesy of ABC13

Was This Autistic Boy Bullied By a Teacher?

This story is about the treatment an autistic boy received and whether it amounted to being bullied by a teacher. Of course, parents know bullying exists and so we all try to be tuned in to the signs. 

I’m going to share this story with you, and I’ll let you decide for yourself whether this sweet child was bullied by a teacher. Your opinions are welcome in the comments, but please be respectful of other opinions. I especially hope parents of kids on the spectrum will weigh in.

What happened.

At the end of the school year, as is the tradition of lots and lots of schools, the Bailly Preparatory Academy in Gary, Indiana had an awards ceremony. You know the kind I’m talking about. There are trophies for most improved, best attendance, etc. Kids usually love them and they’re a lighthearted, fun way to bring the year to a close. At least that’s what they’re supposed to be.

The undisputed event happened at the 5th-grade ceremony which was attended by parents, students, and the principal. When it was time for the awards, an as yet unnamed special education teacher presented a young autistic boy with a trophy inscribed “BAILEY PREPARATORY ACADEMY 2018-2019 MOST ANNOYING MALE.”

His Dad was in shock. The 11-year-old is nonverbal, occasionally rocks back and forth and can become easily emotional, his dad told the local newspaper. Dad purposely left the trophy on the table afterward, but the teacher reminded him not to forget it. She sort of laughed it off, as though it was a funny joke she thought everyone would get.

Throughout the school year, he said,  his son’s teachers routinely called home with concerns about how to handle his son’s behavior, but it wasn’t until his son was presented the “Most Annoying Male” award that he said he felt real concern. “They called me all the time if he didn’t want to work, would cry or would have a breakdown,” he said. “A special needs education teacher should know how to handle these things.”

Now, he wonders whether all those calls are the reason for this “award.” (source)

What the school said in response.

Gary Community School Corp. emergency manager Peter Morikis confirmed it happened. “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.”

Weigh in with your thoughts and feelings

Was this teacher a bully? Should she be fired? I should note that while the school says the teacher was disciplined, that’s all we know as of this writing.

What would you do if this happened to your special needs child?

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