CONYERS, Ga. – Two teachers are out of a job after they presented a special needs student with an award for “Most Likely to Not Pay Attention” at a recent school assembly.
“I feel like it was very derogatory, I feel like it was humiliating and this was held as an assembly with the school,” the 14-year-old student’s mother, Nicole Edwards, told Fox 5.
Edwards alleged her eighth-grade daughter, who suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, was initially voted as “Most Likely to Ask a Question That Had Already Been Answered,” but came home from Memorial Middle School with the other award. Both, she said, are ridiculous.
“You guys are calling me when you’re having problems with her in school when you’re having problems with her not paying attention or not getting it and then you give her an award for it,” Edwards said. “Why call me to discipline her, but yet you turn around and give her an award for it, it doesn’t make sense.”
Edwards told WXIA she thinks the teacher has a grudge against her daughter.
“I believe the teacher did this on purpose because she feels some type of way about my child,” Edwards said, adding that the teen had gotten in trouble in the teacher’s class on several occasions. “My daughter is failing her class only.”
Rockdale County Public Schools issued a statement Wednesday that the district “will not condone anything that may cause student embarrassment or humiliation.”
The next day, district spokeswoman Cindy Ball told Fox 5 that two unnamed teachers directly involved with concocting the award “will not be returning to RCPS for the next school year.”
Edwards also suggested district officials ensure that future awards at the school are vetted by administrators.
Thousands of folks shared Fox 5’s story on Facebook, many livid at the school for the derogatory recognition and many others countering that it was only a harmless joke.
“When I was in high school I received mostly likely to go to the wrong class reunion. It was a joke and still makes me laugh,” Kelly Hayden wrote. “Everyone takes things way too serious. This was being playful and probably has some truth to it. Lighten up and learn to laugh at yourself.”
“Bullying in any form is unacceptable. Just because you all say it is funny does not mean it was not a bullying situation for that student. Sad,” Theresa Feeney posted.
“As a mother with a child who has ADHD, ODD and mild hearing loss ….this makes me very angry. I would be pissed and would make sure said person who did this was written up or reprimanded by the appropriate person,” Deborah Stevens wrote. “To me this is just an adult’s way of making fun of or bullying a child that has ADHD. For those of you laughing about this, I pray that you never have a child with this or any other kind of disability. It’s very hard having to deal with this every day.”
“They wonder what is wrong with our schools today,” Lori O’Dell wrote. “We have idiots running and teaching in some schools. Absolutely no common sense used. Educated fools.”