Autistic Boy Gets 'Most Annoying' School Trophy, Parents Fuming

June 5, 2019
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An audience of parents at a Gary, Indiana elementary school fell silent when a boy with autism received an award for “Most Annoying Male.” 

Rick Castejon, a Bailly Preparatory Academy father, said he was shocked when his 11-year-old’s name was called as the recipient of the “Most Annoying Male” trophy. The ceremony was attended by students, parents, teachers, and administrators of the school. 

“We were blindsided. We just weren’t expecting it,” Castejon reported to the Times of Northwest Indiana. The father revealed that his son’s autism leaves him non-verbal and easily emotional. 

The award was selected for the student by his own special education teacher. 

“As a principal or teacher, you should never let this happen to any student,” Castejon said of the incident.

In an attempt to avoid making a scene at the ceremony, Castejon purposely left the award sitting on a table at the luncheon, only to be reminded to take it by his son's teacher in jest. 

Peter Morikis, emergency manager for the Gary Community School Corporation, reveals that disciplinary action was immediately taken against the involved faculty, but declined to comment on their employment status. 

“We extend our deepest apologies to the impacted student, the family, and anyone else who take offense to this unfortunate occurrence,” Morikis said in a statement. “We acknowledge the potential impact that an experience like this could have on a child’s mental wellbeing, self-esteem, and overall level of comfortability in a learning environment going forward.” 

Castejon’s family is going through with previously made plans to move to a different school district, but continues to ensure that similar incidents won’t happen to other kids. 

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