Indiana Teacher Hands 'Most Annoying Male' Award to 5th Grader With Autism

A school district in Indiana has apologized after a special education teacher handed a "most annoying male" award to an 11-year-old pupil with autism.

The teacher at the Bailly Preparatory Academy in Gary gave the child the trophy at an annual end-of-year awards luncheon for fellow fifth graders on May 23.

A reported by the Times of Northwest Indiana, the award was given to the boy in front of the other students, parents, and the school's principle Carlita Royal.

"We were blindsided. We just weren't expecting it," the boy's father, Rick Castejon, told the Times. "As a principal or teacher, you should never let this happen to any student."

The father said he tried to leave the trophy behind on the table before the teacher, who considered the trophy a joke, stopped him and told him not to forget it.

Castejon said the school is well aware of his son's condition and have contacted him in the past regarding his behavior during school.

Castejon said his nonverbal 11-year-old is known to rock and back and forth and become very emotional due to his autism.

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

The school district has now apologized for the incident and said the teacher in question has been disciplined.

"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," Gary Community School Corporation emergency manager Peter Morikis told the Times.

"We extend our deepest apologies to the impacted student, the family and anyone else who take offense to this unfortunate occurrence. 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."

Morikis did not reveal the identity of the teacher nor say what disciplinary action was taken. The teacher was reportedly absent at a fifth-grade graduation celebration at the school four days after the incident with the trophy.

Castejon said he is happy with the response from the district, but is going public in the hope no other child with special needs receives the same treatment. We just don't want any other kids to go through this," he said. "Just because they have special needs doesn't mean they don't have feelings."