A Massachusetts mom is speaking out after she says her son was given an insensitive superlative award at his middle school.
Desiree Perez told WJAR that her son has autism, so she was surprised to learn he’d been given the “Most Likely to Get Lost in a Crowd” award by teachers at Normandin Middle School.
She said that the award is “disrespectful” considering the struggles she goes through to raise a son who is on the spectrum. Perez explained:
“I thought that was very wrong… I didn’t think it was funny. My son didn’t find it funny either. He said, why was a teacher giving him this award because he was never lost in the school?”
Perez was most upset because the certificate was signed by her son’s own teacher, “because she knows mostly than anybody that I struggle a lot with my son,” the mom said.
The angered mother spoke to the principal about the situation and said he asked her to ” forgive this incident” because school was already out for the summer.
Perez said that school has been hard for her son, who was nonverbal until he was seven years old.
She told WBSM that the award made it seem like the teacher was now bullying him:
“And now all of a sudden my son receives this award, saying he’s always lost in a crowd, and that’s not right. They shouldn’t give an award like that to any kid. They should only give positive awards. These kids struggle every day with what they have to go through.”
The mom said her boy didn’t understand what the award meant when he received it. Perez explained:
“That’s how innocent these kids are. He doesn’t get what they were saying about him.”
A spokesperson New Bedford Public Schools told the outlet that an investigation in the incident is currently underway and that the superintendent is aware of the problem.