I was voted nicest personality by my senior classmates in 1991.  It was an honor to take home that award, for I knew some of my classmates had to personally cast their vote for me. Unfortunately, there were a few students in my graduating class who I knew were not so welcoming to people with disabilities, but ole well; I chalk that up to immaturity.  I’m sure now that they are older, and have experience life more, that maybe their perspective has changed.

When receiving my award, I felt a sense of pride, joy and acceptance. I think that’s the way winning an award is supposed to make you feel.

Although I felt good when I received my award, it really angered me to learn, a little boy from Indiana was given an award that was degrading and very disrespectful.  The boy has autism and was given a trophy during an end of the year ceremony for most annoying male.  As if this wasn’t bad enough, the idea and trophy was dreamed up and given by his special education teacher in front of everyone.

What kind of world are we living in where people who vow to assist, respect, and advocate for those with disabilities be so naive and arrogant?

The boy’s father who was in attendance tried to slip out because he felt so disrespected.   The teacher caught him and reminded him not to forget his son’s award.   The father accepted the trophy because in reality, his son really wanted it.  What makes this story even more demeaning is the little boy did not understand what the trophy really represented.  Thank goodness his innocence would only allow him to focus on the fact that he received a “trophy”.

When the young’s boy mother got word of the incident, she went to the school district demanding there be disciplinary actions against the teacher. Although she was told something would be done, there was no more said about it.

I just can’t understand how some educators can be so insensitive. Granted, children can be a handful.   But if you choose to be a teacher, unforeseen behavior comes with the job. On the other hand, being insensitive to those who are different is absolutely not part of the job.

The little boy’s parents said he will not return to that school next year.   I don’t blame them one bit for pulling him out; I’m just glad they had enough guts to bring this issue to light. At the end of the day, no matter who you are, everyone deserves respect. It’s a shame insensitivity of this magnitude still exists in today’s society. Let’s help put an end to it by spreading awareness.–abc-news-topstories.html

12 comments on “Insensitivity

  1. Jessica Blimbaum on

    I am surprised that teacher still has a job after doing something so senseless! Especially in a role that should be an advocate for children with disabilities.

  2. Dave Burrows on

    What a sick person to create an award like that. Thank you for sharing this Shari.

    A great big congratulations to you on your award Shari, very deserved. I loved your speech.

  3. Debbie M on

    I read the story about this young fellow a while back. And in the place I read it you could read some of the comments on it. Most were supportive of the family but there were an awful lot who were just as mean if not far worse. This teacher really is not a teacher but just another bully in this world. I feel for that young one because I was taught that all peoples should be treated with respect and dignity.

  4. Jerome Haney on

    Teachers can affect their students at times in an adverse way. When I was in the 3rd. I recall a teacher whom I personally disliked; state to another student; “you’re messy and will never be anyone.” Well those words bite her, this fellow student retired after 30 yrs with the City of Dayton as it Supervisor of Electrical Engineering. I was always taught that “the power of life or death in the tongue,speak life.”

  5. Phil Eddy on

    I certainly hope that the special ed. teacher who presented this award to the autistic young person was given a reprimand and required counseling before starting the next school year. Everyone has value, not to the point of perfection but through progress by learning about how to respect one and all.

  6. Jerome Haney on

    Hey Shari, How surprise I was that after reading this blog, I found out that my elementary school has a Facebook page. On this page was some pictures of individuals that I think are some what younger. They joy of seeing some of the teachers and our principal during my time, help me to rejoice at all the good of my former teachers and not this one. Unfortunately, there have been and will be those who teach, but are not child/student oriented. “Teacher affect eternity, they never know where their teaching stops.” I read that in one of my Teacher Education textbook. I was blessed to have done 16 yrs of classroom teaching. Thank you again for this blog.


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