An Indiana fifth-grader, who has autism, was given a "most annoying male" award by his teacher during a ceremony attended by classmates and the school faculty, according to the boy's father.
Rick Castejon told The Times of Northwest Indiana that he was at the awards luncheon last month for students at Bailly Preparatory Academy in Gary when the special education teacher presented his 11-year-old son with the trophy.
Inscribed on the bottom of the award were the words: "Bailly Preparatory Academy 2018-2019 Most Annoying Male."
Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.
Castejon told the outlet that other students, teachers and the school's principal, Carlita Royal, were present for the ceremony. He said he tried not to make a scene and left the award on the table but that the teacher stopped him and his son and told them not to forget the trophy.
The Gary Community School Corporation said in a statement to NBC-affiliate WWLP “an apology was extended on behalf of the district to the family and disciplinary action was taken against personnel involved."
“We were blindsided. We just weren’t expecting it,” Castejon told the outlet. "As a principal or teacher, you should never let this happen to any student."
Castejon said his son is nonverbal, occasionally rocks back and forth and becomes easily emotional.
“We just don’t want any other kids to go through this,” Castejon told the paper. “Just because they have special needs doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings.”
Royal did not immediately return NBC News' request for comment.
Castejon said he and his family already had plans to move to another city, and his son will not be returning to the school next year.