School Board Apologizes After Autistic Boy Given 'Most Annoying' Award

A Northwest Indiana school district offered an apology this week after an 11-year-old autistic boy's special education teacher gave him an award for "most annoying male" in his class, according to WLS-TV.

5th grader Akalis Castejon received the 'award' during a recent end-of-the-year 5th grade luncheon at Bailly Prepatory Academy in Gary. His father Rick, who was in attendance, said he "didn’t want to cause a scene with other parents there so I left the award on the table and tried to walk away," only for Akalis's teacher to then announce "Akalis forgot his award!

According to the report, Akalis is "non-verbal autistic" and occasionally "rocks back and forth, or shakes." 

"You'd think one would know and understand the conditions of autism and have more patience to deal with children who suffer from autism," said his mother Estella, who was not present at the ceremony. 

Rick Castejon

Rick said he is thankful his son does not understand what the award means.

"When they called him up he was just excited to get a gold star because it was shiny," he described. -WLS-TV

Estella stormed over to the school the next day demanding an apology from the teacher and principal, which she did not receive. The district later apologized, saying in a letter that disciplinary action was taken against the teacher, however it would not disclose what steps were taken, the employment status of the teacher or her identity. 

Estella Castejon

"He just wants to be like everyone else. He is like everyone else, the difference is he cannot express himself like every other person does," said Estella.