Dear Mrs. Lindsey (Reported name of West Virginia teacher whose mic-grabbing has gone viral)

 

 

Dear *Mrs. Lindsey* (Reported name of West Virginia teacher whose mic-grabbing has gone viral),

I bet Tuesday morning when you woke up, you had no idea what this week held. And now you are one of America’s Most Hated People. People are writing petitions demanding you be fired instantly. Calling for physical violence. Criticizing your appearance, your weight, your facial expressions, your ability to teach. Jamming your school’s phone lines, condemning your administrators, and hurling every type of profanity and vulgarity in your direction. Your personal phone number has been published and the phone number and address of your school has been viewed by tens of thousands. You have to be bewildered and panicked. You obviously didn’t see this coming. And as a teacher, it makes me frightened for all of us.

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I learned of you only because a headline came through my FB newsfeed. *Elementary Teacher Makes Autistic Student Cry When She Snatches His Microphone During Thanksgiving Play.*  Wow, you sound like a disgrace to the profession. I got this mental image of The Teacher From The Black Lagoon leaping on stage and ripping a microphone from a child’s hands while knocking him backwards off the platform with her scaly tail and of him sprawled on the floor weeping. And it made me mad. So I watched the very short clip. I observed the narrative presented by the parent grow and develop new details as the media ran with this heartbreaking holiday tale. Then I read your administrator was standing with you and no discipline was being taken. I decided to dig a little deeper.

I watched the play in its 12 minute entirety. I urge others to do the same. It looked exactly like every other first grade performance the day of a full Supermoon just before Thanksgiving break. In other words, it was a hot mess. Just like it is at all schools.

The construction papered Mayflower travelers and their indigenous friends shuffled in and out – occasionally at wrong times and unsure of exactly which way to leave the stage and several either forgot their lines or never bothered to learn them. Caleb, the child in question – playing the part of the turkey – appears to refuse to go to the mic to say his first line and the children quickly adapt and go around him. The next time Caleb is supposed to speak, he is unaware that the mic will be as loud as it is and the volume sends the audience and Pilgrims and Indians into peals of laughter.

You quickly get the children to speak in chorus so the laughter is minimized.  Another little boy flubs his lines and the mirth of the participants intensifies and I can feel the red rising in your face and the sweat starting to form. Caleb correctly speaks a line and then wanders aimlessly around the stage a few times which is reasonable considering his disability. It appears that a different teacher stage left is attempting to coach him to return to his correct place. A little boy gets to the mic to say his line and he just can’t do it. He dissolves into giggles and takes with him the entire gym.

Caleb’s next line is supposed to be humorous and he nails it. Laughter. There is a very nice song that appears to pull the program back together. During the music, Caleb sings loudly and often at the wrong times – again, very understandable and only noticeable because his mom has the recording directed right on him. However, the child next to him senses the amusement of the audience and begins to ham it up. Kids singing in the front row turn around and stare at Caleb and giggle at him.

The atmosphere is fragile and it is time to bring this production in for a landing.

Two children step to the mic to thank the audience for coming. Somehow, Caleb is back in front. It does not appear that he is supposed to be there. It looks exactly like every first grade Thanksgiving production across the United States. No one in the world would care at all about this story except for what happens next…

You had to make a split second decision and there was no way to know it could affect the rest of your life or anyone else’s. Before Caleb could speak, you took the mic. You didn’t yank it from his hand. You walked over and were ready to take it from the stand as soon as the last line was delivered, which deprived Caleb of his self-given moment and he had an emotional outburst. It is hard to tell if you didn’t notice Caleb or if you deliberately preempted him. Either way, he was unable to speak into the mic.

Did you make the right decision? Who knows. By the reaction of the armchair Thanksgiving musical directors it appears that removing the mic was the moral equivalency of shoving a child into a corner wearing a dunce cap. What ifs are a tough game to play. Life is a giant Choose Your Own Adventure book except you don’t get to flip back and make a different decision if you mess up.

Having been in similar situations I’m going to guess you were hoping to save Caleb from further embarrassment. You were hoping to keep the place from laughing more. You weren’t sure if Caleb would deliver an appropriate line or a string of words he learned from HBO. You knew that autistic children can behave more erratically in a situation in which there is sensory stimulation or at an event that is atypical in routine. You erred on the side of prevention. It also appears like your coworkers were in support as in the longer video they are seen trying to coax him off the platform. The mother’s posts indicate you are not even his teacher as she is unsure of your name – maybe Mrs. Linsey – and refers to you as *one* teacher rather than *his teacher.* This is pure speculation but it would seem that you moving so quickly means that there was previous discussion among staff of how this type of situation would be handled and you acted accordingly.

What is interesting to me is the mom’s voice during the recording. There’s a point early in the play where she says very flatly, dejectedly even, “Yeah, that’s Caleb.” Her emotion for how her child is perceived can be felt through the recording. She doesn’t like the laughter. She pleads in a whispered prayer for him to get his fingers out of his mouth. She knows he’s being laughed at and that he isn’t even aware of the ridicule and it breaks her heart. I don’t necessarily blame her for her reaction. I hurt for her. But I also think she is being unreasonable and is irresponsible in her demand for revenge. Not justice. Revenge. Her actions are not going to make the school a better place. They are keeping other parents from being able to contact the administrator about equally important issues. They’re broadcasting to thousands of people the faces and location of dozens of other children. They are dragging the school into what will be months of a public relations and HR nightmare, which will distract from the school’s fundamental purpose. And, they’re firing up a hateful, irrational mob. Sadly, the end result will most likely not be a better learning environment for Caleb.

Here is what should be terrifying for all educators. 30 seconds, on film, taken out of context, could end careers and destroy lives. Show me a teacher who has never snapped at a child in exasperation, has never misinterpreted a situation and doled out improper consequences, has never erred in judgment, has never wished they could take back a word or action and I will show you a tap dancing unicorn. The same could be said for parents. There are some pretty unrealistic expectations for educators. Very few teachers enjoy being on display at public events. Teachers get stage fright, just like everyone else. I get sick to my stomach and lightheaded and my thoughts and words get all tangled any time I have to face a full auditorium of parents, students, and coworkers. I know every avoidance technique to get out of speaking publicly. But I’m a good teacher. A really good teacher. I have made some horrible public blunders, including a Steve Harvey moment in which I awarded a prize to the wrong student. It was a dozen years ago and I still wilt each time I remember it.

In my early days of teaching – nearly two decades ago – a mom wandered down the hall while a child and I were working out some issues. She was not the mom of the child, nor of any child in my classroom. Thankfully, this was before the days of cell phone cameras or I would be on the receiving end of internet shame. What the mom caught was me cutting off the child each time she attempted to speak. Calmly but sternly directing her to walk to a previously determined calming down location. The mom saw just a snippet – what appeared to be me callously interrupting the child and repeating for her to go where she needed to be. The child was crying by this point and continuing to attempt to speak. The mom interjected herself and began yelling at me for not listening to the child. She said she was going to my administrators. She was livid. Even the crying child stopped her commotion and her eyes grew wide and she quickly headed down the hall to where she was supposed to be. I ignored the parent and returned to my classroom and my administrator knew the larger context and nothing happened. Nothing happened because that one moment wasn’t captured and sent to the world. One moment can look really bad. But what it doesn’t show is that the child had been retained at the administration’s recommendation and the child’s mother agreed only if the child could have me for a second year. It doesn’t show that the parent, special education teacher, social worker, administrator, and an outside consultant had spent hours and hours devising an individualized plan that included zero tolerance for this child arguing once a final decision had been made by an adult. It doesn’t show the child and her mom at my house for dinner (this was back in the olden days when it wasn’t creepy to do such) or me attending her sports events. It doesn’t show the card in which she declared me the best teacher in the world. Could my school have withstood the pressure and not fired me had that small clip been aired to the public? I hope so. We all should hope so.

 

The unfair thing about these situations is a parent can say anything they want about a school. They can accuse the school of all sorts of misdeeds and intentions of malice. They can dash to the media and present a snippet and the press rejoices over anything that can make public schools look bad and can be worded as click bait. Parents can broadcast any action of a teacher that they happen to snag on video and allow the universe to weigh in. Not to comment simply about the educational decision that was made but to critique wardrobe, weight, and attractiveness in a way that anyone reading such about themselves would be humiliated and never want to face the world again. The school is completely restricted at that point. They can’t speak about the child. They can’t present the public with the child’s records. They can’t list all of the accommodations teachers have made or even show longer videos that provide better context. They and the teacher are helpless. I truly hope people will keep that in mind before they weigh in on these situations.

So, Mrs. Lindsey… I don’t know you. You might be as awful as some people are claiming and deserve to be done with your career. If that is true, farewell. But if you and your colleagues know this is an unfair characterization of you – I hope your district continues to stand up for you and that your fellow educators surround you with care and comfort. I hope that somehow you can ignore the shout of the mob and find a way to enjoy the holiday. I hope there is healing in this fractured relationship between your district and the public. I wish for you compassion and grace.
Sincerely,

A Teacher

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322 thoughts on “Dear Mrs. Lindsey (Reported name of West Virginia teacher whose mic-grabbing has gone viral)

    1. I myself did view the whole video and being a Momma of an Autistic guy this has really hit home to me.
      I first must commend Caleb for being so good and patient for that length of time. Patience is one of many things children with Autism struggle with and he handled himself very well.
      I was saddened on the handling of this situation. This letter states that the teacher could have been worried about what he was going to say. He made no mistakes before.
      It’s heartbreaking that these children are expected to “act” as normal children when God made them perfectly the way they are.
      Unfortunately, the way the WV school systems are set up do not benefit children with special needs.
      I even had the principal at Davis Elementary say they are failing my Mason.
      There needs to be more Autism training and Awareness and Acceptance. What would have hurt for him to say whatever.
      I pray for the whole situation.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Nutter Fort Primary is one of the best schools in our county for special needs students. So, to say the expectations put upon children with special needs are too high, that is not the issue at all. Autistic children can not only meet expectations put upon them but, overachieve when they are working with the right educators so don’t you dare allow any child to be held back by a label! What I hear you saying is INCLUSION is the real issue due to overstimulation in the scenario we have before us, and that could very well be the case given that Caleb had no opportunity to practice because his parents did not sign a permission slip thus he had no idea what to expect and was simply wandering about aimlessly and getting more and more stimulated by the activity and laughter of his peers and the crowd before him. And yes, Caleb did make mistakes, watch the FULL 12-minute video, many children made mistakes. They are children, it’s what makes it memorable!
        What would have happened if Mrs. Lindsey hadn’t stepped up and taken that mic? We all saw how overreactive he was when she did take it from him… what if it was not a gobble-gobble that came over that audio set-up?
        Now, I do not know Caleb as a child nor as a student… but I have known many students over the years due to my own mother being a Special Ed educator in HarrCo. I can tell you that every year she comes home with scrapes, bruises, bites, and other injuries, yet she still loves her job with behavioral disorders, and autistic children, because she was built for it from the ground up. I, myself train service dogs for a multitude of services as well as journalism. I am under no delusions of what it means to work with children with special needs. But, to pretend as though children with special needs are harmless is preposterous. We have to be honest with ourselves if we are to be honest with one another.

        Liked by 7 people

      2. Just because he is autistic doesnt mean he should just be allowed to say and do whatever he wants just because he is excited about it. Were the other kids being allowed to just say whatever they wanted? No! It would be chaos to allow a whole classroom of kids to just say and do as they please. Rules apply to him too. Just because he is autistic doesnt change that.

        Liked by 4 people

      3. Caleb actually did not have any lines in the play according to an article I read. He was added that day because his mother insisted, even though she had the opportunity to sign him up for the play but didn’t. He attended no practices. His lines are all ad libbed. I am sure the teacher was doing the best she could under the circumstances. I hope Mrs. Lindsey and her school can get back to normal soon.

        Caleb’s mother should be ashamed of the chaos she has created. As a teacher I have seen many parents who expect the school to work miracles but refuse to work with their children at home. I have seen Special Ed teachers potty train 6-8 year olds because the parents couldn’t/wouldn’t do it at home. I don’t know Caleb’s parents but wonder what makes them think putting their son in a play he was unfamiliar with would be a good idea.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. The article states that when Caleb was at the microphone that last time, he had no more lines. So it’s perfectly justified to worry about what he might have said.

        Liked by 3 people

      5. Great article. And it looks like Caleb’s mother set the whole disaster up – not coming to practices, not getting permission slips signed, and insisting her son be handed a microphone. If this is true – she gets the bad mother award. Having a special needs child does not mean one gets to be treated special and not held to the same standards as everyone else. If the reports are true, it is 100% the mother’s fault.

        Liked by 3 people

      6. I am an autistic person, a mother of 3 (1 of which is also autistic) and a business owner. I was not treated differently and it worked well for me. I also treat my son as if he is a neurotypical child. We have out quirks. That’s it. End of story. I do not expect the world to revolve around me because I have a different ability than the majority. I strongly dislike “Autism Support” groups that are full of “normal” people trying to decipher their children’s every move. I see the interaction between parents and their autistic children and most of the time it is demeaning. Don’t expect less of us because we actually can do more, just give support when needed and understand if we do it differently. The mom in this case is only enabling her son to grow up with a me first mind set. Her entitled attitude is only going to make his future unrealistic. Life doesn’t give you the ability to walk around doing what you want just because your autistic, and honestly it gives those of us who do not feel entitled a bad rap. So knock it off, your not a toddler and your child will be better able to handle life if you show them that they will not be protected in a glass bubble for the rest of their life.

        Liked by 2 people

      7. I will so get bashed for this ! And I don’t give a crap ! Autism is a word that means u have a bratty kid that throws fits to get there way and everyone expects you to cater to there every need because of it ! Stop allowing the tantrum and then see what kind of kid you have ! Just saying !

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      8. Reading of some further information about the situation, Caleb had never stayed to attend any practices, and so was not even on the play. Just beforehand, his mother insisted he be allowed to participate, despite knowing nothing about the play. The school agreed, but on the proviso that Caleb not speak, as he did not know the play. He wore an Indian head-dress, but apparently, put up to it by his mother, wanted to say ‘Gobble, gobble’ at the end. During the play, he wandered aimlessly, and said some out of place things, which drew laughter at him. So the teacher stepped in to prevent further embarassment from the situation his mother had forced on him.

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    2. I agree 100%! For all who has posted nasty comments… What a shame! I will be the first to admit that I have let my emotions get in the way and lashed out when I should have plainly stopped and thought it out before I even opened my mouth! We all say things that can be perceived in several different ways! I have had to and more than likely will have to continue explaining myself. It’s just the way the world and people are. I just wish the one’s making the nasty comments will be humbled by something they say or do that gets misconstrued. Maybe… just maybe if the shoe was on the other foot, they may think again before making such nasty comments. I pray for all involved!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s called being “human”. Sometimes I hate the internet. Fake little keyboard commandos, threatening death to all who offend. Sheesh.

        Liked by 3 people

    3. I’m disgusted that so many people attacked this teacher without knowing anything more than what they saw in a one minute clip. I’m not surprised though. I’ve learned that most people are pretty unintelligent and get their knowledge from social media. They cannot form an opinion without any credible support other than a meme. I hope Mrs. Lindsay knows that she does have people out there who realize she isn’t a monster. Too bad we are overwhelmingly teachers who understand the delicate dance of managing small children. As if our jobs aren’t hard enough, we are persecuted and judged for actions those outside of a school setting know very little about.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. You said it. Im so sick of 20 seconds of video causing emotional turmoil for so many people. My God, she didnt hit anyone or scream or abuse them…she removed a microphone. Jesus…

        Liked by 3 people

    4. Who wrote this article? It appears to be someone not brave enough to sign their real name. This does not make it credidible when you voice your opinion about someone yet lurk in the dark stirring the pot!
      Phyllis Neugent
      An observer on the outside looking in perplexed by all your hatred of one person you once cared for! I guess Jesus felt the same way when his friends deserted him at the cross!

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      1. Are you seriously this stupid? It’s amazing — just when I think that I’ve met the stupidest person on the face of the Earth, you come stumbling in the door, clumsily knocking over things, making noise and drawing attention to yourself. Well, we’re all staring at you now — are there any other stupid comments you’d like to make?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂Oh my Phyllis. You can read an article but not the name of the blog or author. Please crawl back into your world of hatred and read a book (make sure to know who the author is, usually located on front of book) and let intelligent people comment only.

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      3. Bwah ha ha ha. Are we really comparing a 20 hard second moment a child had to Jesus on the cross? Guess what kid, life is hard sometimes and sucks! But in no way does this compare to a man DYING on the cross.

        Crazy people in spades.

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    5. I had a mother similar to Caleb’s mom who demanded the world for me in every situation. I am not special needs, but regardless, she demanded I was to perform solo pieces in choir our other programs I was involved in even if I didn’t deserve it when another Kid clearly did. I didn’t understand all of this as a child or adolescent at the time, but I do now and just find this behavior unacceptable. The rules need to be followed and not forced. I remember being humiliated once because she thought I deserved to perform a solo in choir when another girl deserved it more. It was taken to the vice principles office and it made me so upset, I ended up just dropping out of choir from humiliation because everyone could see the problem except for my mother and I got teased over the incident. Luckily, I was a star cheerleader so the treating wasn’t too bad, but now as an adult I can see how wrong my mother was and how despite her wish to make me feel special, it did the exact opposite. No matter how you look at this situation, the mother is in the wrong, not the teacher and not the child. It’s all just so ridiculous and wrong, especially since it led to death threats towards the teacher. All of you parents out there like this mother, just stop and accept that your child isn’t perfect and doesn’t deserve special treatment for one reason or another.

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  1. I appreciate your effort to look at the whole picture. I have a child with autism and I do believe that by his reaction he did either believe he had a line or he had one. Transition is hard and he might even have been trying to get out a line he had earlier that he didn’t do when it was expected of him. As a mom we are critical at times because we constantly fight the norms with reality that people display with their expectations. I don’t think she is the evil spawn of Satan however, it was insensitive and when he did display discomfort she dismissed it entirely. Intentional or not she or whomever was coaching him did not react well to his reaction.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I cannot verify this but after I posted this blog I read that participating in the play was an extra-curricular function & the parents had not brought him to rehearsals. If that is true, I think the larger mistake was to put him in that position. My son is an aspie & I love his quirky personality & his literalism & it is a joy to parent him. And it is rough work too & I am grateful I had numerous autistic students that helped prepare me for the task – some of my all time favorite students. I would never let my son be in the public eye like that unless I was extremely confident that he knew exactly what he was doing & I had verified it myself – because of this exact situation. I think the school made some mistakes – including who was responsible for this child during the play. I get the impression that Mrs. Lindsey had directed the play & thought his classroom teacher or a dedicated EA were helping. Or they normally do & figured she was in charge. I think there is much more to the story & I don’t think picketing the school, death threats, shutting down all ways for the school to communicate, etc is helping anyone.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I don’t care how confused, chaotic, who flubbed lines, whatever. It was a little kids school play not Broadway. A supposed “adult” who is in charge of teaching small kids shouldn’t bully a small kid. If she has issues with special needs kids (hate that term, all it does in stigmatize) she shouldn’t be teaching them. Speaking of “teaching” them, I wonder what her actions “taught” these impressionable little minds. God bless Caleb

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I have a daughter who is in Mrs. Lindsay’s class. She was also, in this play, so I had the pleasure of being in attendance during this performance. What you heard was correct, though. All of the first grade students were sent home a permission slip to be filled ou in order to participate in the play. If the child was permitted to participate in the performance, they were then swnt home with a slip of paper containing their lines for the play. Caleb’s parents did not return this permission slip allowing him to participate. Caleb was put in last minute, and did not actually even have any speaking parts in the performance, yet the supervising teachers still allowed him to go up to the microphone, unhindered, on more than one occasion. There has to be a point where someone says, “This is enough”. and cuts it off before it can progress any further. I 100% agree with Mrs. Lindsa’s actions in this situation, and I thank you for writing this article, and for being one of the three people that I know agree with me on this matter!

        Liked by 16 people

      3. I am from this small speck of a town in West, by God Virginia. This is my community, my home, the one I fight to protect via investigative journalism tooth and nail. And NO, it is NOT ok to solicit death threats to a teacher and her children because you disagree with how she handled a situation with a little boy that 99% of you will forget about in two weeks time because it is no longer trending.
        I’m sure his parents or his teacher in the room they were in after play did what they are trained to do in order to help him calm down and he would’ve been fine. A conversation with the teacher to find out he wasn’t a turkey after all to learn he was misunderstanding the play could’ve helped Caleb to grow. Instead, all this publicity has now taught him a temper tantrum gets 100 people wanting to send you toys from across this outrage-addicted nation of ours. What a GREAT lesson to teach a child on the autism spectrum.

        Thank you, Openletters for doing such a wonderful blog. You are welcome to check out my own piece to use for source. I admit to jacking up the html late last night after working close to 16 hours. I have not yet gone back to do the repairs, the information is still as valid as ever and yours for the picking.

        -Franc

        Liked by 4 people

      4. I am the mom of an adult with AS and don’t get where the information is coming from that the child did not have a permission slip nor attend practices. The school has not given an interview, right? Soooooo?

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    2. That is the thing… he had no lines and had been to no practices bc his parents did not sign the permission slip nor did they bring him to any practice. Mrs. Lindsay and the other teachers decided to go ahead and allow him to be a part of the play so he would not feel ” left out” and tolerated the clear disruptive behavior that was happening.. again to not bring any more attention to him. The mother completely over reacted like she has had in other instances with her son. Autism is not an excuse for bad behavior!

      Liked by 7 people

      1. Was he really the turkey? He was wearing the same costume as the Indians except he had it on his head. I don’t think all the facts have been presented and premature judgments are being made unfairly.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. The mother is not using autism as an excuse. It’s just the way it is. Educate yourselves on autism, because more and more children and adults are being diagnosed. We have to learn ourselves how to understand them. I know from experience, as my granddaughter has Asperger’s. She is high functioning and an A-B student in college.

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      3. I keep reading “there has to be a point where someone say’s, this is enough and cuts it off before it progress any further” “tolerated the clear disruptive behavior that was happening” from parents who’s children attended the play. Are you speaking of a child with these hateful words?? As a mother of two and one the same age as Caleb, I would have been horrified if my daughter was treated this way. You speak of “cutting him off” and “tolerating his disruptive behavior” I saw the twelve minute video and I did not see any form of disruption in his performance! He did amazing! He’s a child, and this was not a broadway play! It’s sad the lack of support and understanding parents have in that school community. Or at least for Caleb. If this was a boy in my daughters class I would be a parent who offered my support and help. And, YES I would be upset right along with Calebs parents!
        I know a teachers job is on the line but I think people are tired of this happening to children with disabilities! Shame on you parents who are tired of children with autism! because they are such an inconvenience in your life and you have to tolerate them!

        Liked by 4 people

      4. I get there are two sides to every story and from the sounds of it, the mother may use her son’s autism to gain attention, which is incredibly sad. But please don’t say things like “autism is not an excuse for bad behavior” because that makes you sound ignorant. It is not the child’s fault and he was not acting “bad.” It is his mother’s fault. This child could not drive himself to the practices or sign the permission slip, he was probably confused as to why he wasn’t a part of it and really wanted to be a part of it. Again, this is not his fault, it is his mothers! Autistic children are not “bad” or “brats” like so many people think. I highly encourage you to educate yourself about autism before saying things like this.

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      5. It’s not an excuse. It’s a reason. When did he display bad behavior? I would have cried at that age if someone snatched something from me.

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    3. We really don’t know all the extenuating circumstances…I get that. Her action regardless, caused that little boy obvious distress and prevented him fully from participating with his class, and in effect CRUSHED his spirit. I have to assume, you did not visit the fb page of the mother to see their side of it and how Caleb had been super excited all day for his play and practiced and practiced his lines to say the “Gobble, Gobble” at the end.
      It really doesn’t matter the teacher’s reasons for doing it, at the end of it, her action hurt this little boy. That is the only FACT we have in this whole story, which is why I have a hard time with anyone trying to defend this woman’s action.
      If you make a mistake, you should apologize. So I really hope this teacher offers an apology to Caleb and her mother for causing him distress and silencing his voice.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I know that I crush my child’s spirit when I tell him that no, he cannot go and have his donut straightaway but has to wait for his turn in the queue, or that he cannot go and shout at the mic on the altar during the mass… but I still do it. If a child has problems, it doesn’t mean that he must be allowed to do anything which jumps into his mind, and it does not mean that the others have to be worried all the time that he may be upset if he cannot do all he wants. Inclusion also means that they have to learn to live in the society.

        Liked by 5 people

      2. Hi TK, I think it’s the mother who should apologize to her son. She put him into an untenable situation. She also put the teacher and the school into an untenable situation. I understand that this is a sensitive issue for all parents of special needs kids and that you are extra protective of your kids. But we are all extra protective of our kids, no matter what their health status is- I can guarantee you that. If my kids have trouble at school, I am the mamabear alright. But to go unhinged like that on social media and to not give the full details (ie, she insisted that her son be part of a play he was completely unprepared for and then blame the teacher when things go wrong) and allow the teacher to be threatened, called names and have her job be put on the line is outrageous in my book. It was incredibly entitled for the mother to make the demand in the first place. And she should have made it clear to her son that he had no speaking parts. And she, of all people, should have understood that the teacher would have no idea that ‘all’ Caleb wanted to say was ‘gobble, gobble’ at the end. How unintelligent is that to blame the teacher for not allowing him the ‘few seconds’ to say that when the teacher didn’t know what he was going to say?? He could have rambled on about anything, couldn’t he? He had already shown that he didn’t/wouldn’t understand that he didn’t have speaking lines during the performance. I say that the teacher(s) and the school had already shown great patience. And it is very possible that the teacher was trying to avoid further derision at Caleb’s expense by snatching the mic at the last minute. All these arm chair quarterbacking comments are rather stupid in my opinion. Hindsight is 20/20 and all that?? right? Give this teacher a break. If the parents who knew her and the school that knows her is standing behind her, I will give her the benefit of the doubt. And stop the mob mentality! It is frightening, to say the last!

        Liked by 6 people

      3. He HAD NO lines. He was allowed to be in the Play at the last minute, despite the fact that his mother and never signed permission slip, and never took him to a single rehearsal. He had no idea what he was to be doing. He was not told nor was his mother told by the teacher that he was allowed any speaking role, his mother told him he was allowed to say gobble gobble. While I agree it’s never good to upset a child unnecessarily, in this instance the teacher had bent over backwards to make this child feel included.
        https://shortlittlerebel.wordpress.com/2016/11/22/calebs-mother-lied-about-nutter-fort-teacher/

        Liked by 1 person

      4. How could a child who was not in the play have lines to practice all day?
        The teacher made a drastic mistake by allowing him to join the play since he had not been to any of the rehearsals. I’m sure the mother would have crucified the school for that too.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I blame the mother for the child’s behavior. The child has autism, yes, we all recognize this, but why did the mother not fill out the permission slip in the first place, take the child to the rehearsals, then push for him to be in the performance THE DAY OF the performance. The school and Mrs. Lindsey could have said no. Frankly, autism or not, a child not attending practice due to the parent’s lack of interest can be terms for not allowing the child to be in said performance. However, the mother would have whined about discrimination, as her child is autistic. Mrs. Lindsey and the school would being nice in letting a last minute child be in the production. The death threats are uncalled for, as it shows just how ignorant our society has become. To those that preach for autistic awareness, how about teaching society that we need to be fair all the way around. You are sounding like the millenials that believe they should receive an award for every team they are on and that nothing is his/her fault. The mother is to blame. She fueled the ignorant on social media and many of you are falling for it.

        Liked by 2 people

      6. Oh, did the child and his mother not get everything he wanted? Is that what makes this teacher so horrible? I taught for 15 years. I’ve “caused distress” by requiring students to turn in homework, miss recess, stay home on field trips, and more. That wasn’t because I’m an evil monster hell bent on punishing children. It’s because, as a teacher, I have to provide structure and consequences along with education and love.

        This child has autism. He needs and deserves accommodations. That’s not the same as being able to do anything he and his mom wants.

        The play was over. He didn’t deserve to speak because no one else had that right. If a student WITHOUT a disability decided he wanted to say something off-script because his mom told him to, this would be a non-issue.

        As far as I can tell, this is not about Caleb being on the spectrum. It’s about holding him accountable to the same rules as all students. Sometimes, that’s not appropriate. That’s why most students with IEPs have accommodations — they can “break the rules” because they have different needs. But taking a microphone away at the end of a play is normal and not in need of an accommodation.

        I guarantee that, if the teacher hadn’t removed the mic and Caleb had said something embarrassing or hurtful, people would be yelling at the teacher for not stopping Caleb. “If the play was over, why did you let him speak?” Is the correct answer supposed to be, “Because he has autism?”

        Just because a student is upset does NOT automatically mean a teacher is wrong.

        Liked by 5 people

      7. Wow really the teacher should apologize? Who’s going to apologize to her? People are making death threats against her and her family…Caleb wasn’t supposed to have any speaking lines so how did she know what he was going to say? As far as she knew when the last kid said thank you to the audience it was over

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      8. I really think that children with autism should be treated fairly. This mother made these lines up for this child. I suppose if every patent did that it would be ok too? Kids who have disabilities do not get to do whatever they want. That’s a fact for any kid. This parent set her child up to fail. Teachers and admins have to make tough decisions. At the end of the day this child’s mom is to blame.

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      9. Problem is, he didn’t have a part or any lines to be practicing. If the mother wanted him to have a part, she should have signed him up for the play & taken him to rehearsals. The teacher was trying to be sensitive to this child by allowing him in the play at the last minute, with NO LINES, as agreed upon by his now attention seeking mother.

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      10. Caleb had no lines, research what really happened! He did not practice, he did not have a permission slip, and the teacher did not hurt this little boy, my sister is autistic and my parents raised her the way they raised me with very little special treatment and now she lives on her own and is very independent, trust me he’s hardly traumatized.

        Liked by 2 people

      11. Did you read the articles. He had no lines. His mother told him to say Gobble Gobble. The teacher did not assign that yo him nor practice that with the class…

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      12. maybe Caleb’s mother should apologize, she is the one who created this situation. If you’ve read comments and articles by people who were there, they say Caleb’s parents never signed the permission slip and so he never had lines in the play. He was put in at the last minute, never having gone to a practice, thus not knowing the play. He wasn’t supposed to have lines. The ‘gobble gobble’ thing was the invention of Caleb’s mum – I doubt she bothered to tell the teacher that she did so.

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    4. Ruth, Caleb didn’t have a part. He hadn’t returned the permission slip to participate and therefore hadn’t practiced the play with the other children. The teacher allowed him to participate at the last minute after the mother had asked her to. She found him a costume and allowed him to be in the play. SHE WAS BEING KIND. It has very little to do with him being Autistic – as far as what happened at the end.

      Liked by 1 person

    5. Well obviously you didnt watch the full video, just because his mom gave him a line and dressed him up like a turkey dosent mean he can still do it without the director being informed. He went to mic 3 other times yelling random things into the mic. Now if she didnt take the mic and he yelled something inappropriate she would be in the same boat but with 20 other moms jumping down her throat. My brother is autistic and this is unacceptable behavior, the mom set this up to get attention. You should really youtube the video and gather all facts of how he was not even suppose to be in the play and the teacher slteacherwas nice enough to let him in without the permission slip signed. And because of this she may never do that again, upsetting plenty of future kids whos mom forgot to send in permission slip.

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  2. My child is a student in Mrs Lindsey’s class. I have seen how she is first hand. She is by far my favorite teacher. I have a step daughter in high school, and another child in the 5th grade so yes I have seen my fair share of bad teachers. My son has ADD and Mrs Lindsey has been a blessing and made school wonderful for him. Now because of this my children’s school must stay in a lock down the whole day. It takes me hours to be able to get someone on the phone for something.

    Liked by 12 people

    1. I am so glad to hear from someone on the scene who confirmed what I suspected. Horrible teachers don’t attempt school plays with first graders. Only the great ones dare such! I assumed this has to be an absolute nightmare for the school right now & wondered how in the world other parents are able to communicate with the school. My heart goes out to you all & I hope the space of an upcoming break will calm things. Best wishes to Mrs. Lindsey & her class during this trying time.

      Liked by 9 people

    2. Please tell Mrs. Lindsey if at all possible that there are masses of teachers out here in the world who support her and are heartbroken for what she must be going through right now. Keep your head up high, Mrs. Lindsey! We’ve nearly all been in a situation like you were in with Caleb and could all just have easily been blasted by the world if they had watched a 30 second clip out of our day!

      Love,
      A WV teacher

      Liked by 12 people

      1. As a teacher and a parent, my heart breaks for her. Please know we are praying for her and can not imagine how she feels. She did what she felt was right in the moment and her frustration with the whole situation could be seen. The public is quick to blame the teacher but perhaps they should take a closer look at the parents.

        Liked by 3 people

    3. Nobody is alleging that Mrs “Lindsey” bullies all the children. The parents are clearly on a mission which is regrettable, I find their behavior unreasonable. That said, Mrs “Lindsey” made a huge error of judgment by allowing herself to be filmed being mean to a kid.

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    4. Thank you for posting a first hand account of what happened. I must admit, when I first read the article I thought the teacher’s actions alone were not that big of a deal. It wasn’t until I started reading the comments and found out that the child is autistic that I got really angry. I never re-posted the video or even commented my opinion on the situation. When I saw that the administration of the school was not going to reprimand the teacher, I thought to myself “something else must be going on here.” So thank you to this blog and Open Letter for helping so many of us see that there was indeed something else going on…the full story hadn’t been provided, yet so many people were quick to jump to conclusions. If there was anything I learned from the election season, it was that you can’t believe everything you read on FB or the Internet for that matter. Fact checking is required these days.

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  3. It probably taught them that it is not okay to just do what you want. It also taught them that their school is on lock down and blinds have to be drawn and that their parents are now wondering when and if something is going to escalate into a situation where someone is physically hurt!
    The parents have used their child’s disability for a few minutes of fame and that is disgusting! They are continuing to allow this to go on and continue to gloat in the fact that every news station in the world has their hands on a 30 second video that is causing undue stress to everyone.
    Have the parents removed their child from this horrible situation they claim he is in? There are a lot of schools in close proximity that would gladly take this sweet child.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Brilliant, thank you for articulating all I have been thinking. I find the backlash and mob mentality frightening, and yearn for the days when we dealt with situations at least a little bit better. Blessings to you and all the other teachers who are constantly on display and judged for your every move, and who at the end of the day really care about the kids.

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  5. I feel she did not handle the situation correctly..if she is truly a wonderful teacher she would have let him say something..she is showing other students it’s okay to run over and bully children with disabilities because she as a teacher did. And putting blame on the parents without first walking in their shoes..come on..Don’t judge until you have walked my path. I do not have a child who is special needs but see what those parents go thru. And always in cases involving teachers VS. Children …the BOE takes up for the teacher. Like I said..she is teaching her students it’s okay to bully. And we wonder why we have a problem with bullying.

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    1. As I previously stated, I have a child with Asperger’s Syndrome & have had numerous students who were autistic. It was a tough call to make in a split second. The kids were rowdy & already had laughed at him. She had no way of knowing what he would do with the mic, as the script said the play was over. Had she left the mic for him, he might have said gobble gobble (not in the script). Or he might have said anything else that popped into his head. She also would have been blamed if he had let loose a string of cuss words. Or if she eventually had to wrestle the mic away from him. She made a logical choice I’m betting all the money in the world she wishes she had just let him do whatever he wanted. It wouldn’t have been the right thing & it wouldn’t have helped in the teaching of appropriate social behavior – which is a huge emphasis when working with autistic kids. But she also wouldn’t be in fear of her life… Total mob rule out for vigilante justice. They better calm down or it is likely that some innocent person will get hurt with all the threats flying around. No, the BOE does not always side with the teacher. When they do, it is likely because they see the whole picture.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Look up the word bully and please stop using it so lightly. This is far from a bullying incident. When a bullying incident occurs, investigation is done to determine whether it was actual bullying.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Amen to that. “Bullying” is not “things we don’t like or enjoy. “Bullying” is a relationship between two people in which one intimidates or threatens in an ongoing sense. It is not single incident. It is not a personality conflict. Please, please, for the sake of those who are truly bullied, stop throwing this word around anytime you see something you don’t like!

        Liked by 3 people

    3. The definition of a great teacher is not one who lets students do whatever they want. All students need self control no matter their abilities. If the school has mainstreamed this child, he needs to learn to live in the real world where people do not get to do everything that pops into their heads.

      Liked by 8 people

      1. So easy to write that down in words, a completely DIFFERENT reality for a child with even the slightest touch of ASD or even a sensory disorder. You have no idea what those kids go through on a daily basis, even when they are mainstreamed into public school. It is a struggle everyday. So please don’t minimize it like you did, it is insulting. Live a day in the life and you wouldn’t be so quick to say what you said.

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    4. She did let him say something! Three times to be exact. Three times when it wasn’t his turn to speak and twice he was laughed at. Perhaps if his parents are the concerned wonderful parents that they are portraying to be, they would have signed the permission slip and brought him to the rehearsals. If they were so worried, they would have spoken to the staff to see what they could do for Caleb to make this a positive experience. But instead, they showed up the night of the event and put not only their child but others in a situation that could have easily been avoided. Everyone is quick to blame the teachers. Perhaps looking at the parents could explain a lot!

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      1. Yeah, that really troubles me. The parents didn’t sign the permission slip, and yet show up for the performance? How could they possibly expect him, who is special needs, to be able to handle such a situation? I wouldn’t do that even if my kids weren’t special needs. I have two that one has Tourette’s and possible aspergers, and one with a developmental delay. And now, they want to blame the teacher?! The parents should have known he didn’t have a line in the play. Smh

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    5. So are you a teacher? Because you are allowed to judge the teacher, but if I’m not a parent and I haven’t walked in your shoes I can’t judge you. Teaching is hard. Not every teacher is a special education teacher and although we get a surface idea of the disorders, not all teachers know the perfect way to control and monitor behaviors of those children. So stop judging her and educators if you don’t want parents to undergo the same judgement.

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      1. I don’t see any “facts” anonymous people claiming to have children in her class does not make anything they say a fact. There is a LOT of judging going on… in both directions and there is little actual facts to base it on. The only thing we have for sure is the video.

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    6. The teacher did the right thing. Caleb had no lines in the play and was unpredictable as a child and due to special needs. His mother shows no common sense by putting the video on social media. She had to share the hate…had she signed a permission slip and let Caleb really participate, practice and all, this would have never happened. Even children with special needs want to be included and a;so have to follow the rules. The teacher was not a bully, and by stopping the show at the end she may have saved him public humiliation, depending on what he said, the entire class could have ended up laughing at him, or worse and really scarring him for life…but no that was his mom’s job…make it viral, get attention and lots of “poor you” for your pain. That was all because the mother couldn’t play by the rules either and sign the permission slip and take him to practice. Next she’ll try to sue. Her Ignorance runs rampant. Shame on her and all her hate monger supporters! Now a good teacher and all those (including children) she comes in contact with are at risk of violence.

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    7. Don’t judge until you have walked my path is a wonderful thing to say but you did judge the teacher without walking her path. People are actually sending death threats because she took a mic out of a mic stand. The child experience disappointment. It is heartbreaking anytime that happens. But alas this is part of life. I also do not have a child who is special needs but I am autistic.

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    8. Not letting someone do whatever they want is not the same thing as bullying. Allowing children to believe that the rules only apply to some of them is not acceptable.

      They made allowances three different times, when he stepped to the mike and spoke, for a child who had no permission slip, whose parents had not bothered to bring him to any rehearsals, and who had no speaking role in the play.

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    9. “Don’t judge until you have walked in my path.” – isn’t that exactly what you are doing??? You are judging this teacher and her actions without knowing who she is and what kind of teacher / person she is. And how “do you see what those parents go through?” Do you live with them? Do you work with children with Autism? Do you know them or their child? “And we wonder why we have a problem with bullying?” Again, isn’t that what YOU are doing here? There is so much hypocrisy in the world because everyone feels the need to impose their beliefs and opinions on everyone else, then publicly defile them if they do not agree with you.

      I am a Special Education teacher. I have watched the FULL video. I agree on some points and disagree on others, but I am not voicing those opinions because I refuse to let a 12-minute snippet determine what kind of a person or teacher she is. Until you have worked tirelessly organizing a play for an entire class of children, then had parents and administrators peering behind you knowing it is your job to keep control of an almost uncontrollable situation, then you should keep your opinions to yourself!

      Teachers are under so much pressure, you cannot even fathom. We are tasked with the job of educating children with the most up-to-date curricula, fielding constant questions from parents demanding to know why their child didn’t get an “A” when they haven’t done any work to EARN it, and dealing with under-pressure administrators who need everything done yesterday. Most teachers work nights, weekends, and holiday’s to make sure they are doing their job to the best of their ability, to make sure their students are learning, to find ways to give children what they are not receiving at home. They are the educator, the counselor, the parent, the friend, the disciplinarian, and so much more.

      Take a true look at yourself before you determine the character of another after watching a 12-minute video!

      Liked by 2 people

    10. How on earth is this bullying? If it is then every single teacher, educator, employer and policeman has bullied me all my life. She didn’t allow Calab to do whatever he wanted. That is NOT bullying. I do not feel that allowing a child with Autism to do whatever he wants is in his best interests.

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    11. Are you freaking kidding me?!? Look at the point lady ! The child had no lines !! That’s 0 if u do t know! The teacher should have stood a ground n not let him even go on the stage! The mother has failed her child set him up for failure and when failure happened she’s mad about it?!? That’s rediculas! Because the teacher made a student listen and fallow rules she’s bad? Well I do not know this teacher matters fact I’m not from that state but this comment is just rediculas! Quit trying to disable children and enable them! Stop setting any child up for failure and teach them right from wrong ! Otherwise they will fail there whole lives at the fault of every parent and teacher they came across!

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    1. I too saw the clip of this teacher taking the microphone on Facebook and my initial reaction was also, how sad, how disrespectful, that poor student, that teacher should be punished, etc.

      Then I thought about all the years I worked as the school secretary in a large kdg through eighth grade school and all the teachers, many dear friends, that I had the privilege of working with. Not only was the entire clip not shown but also all the circumstances of the situation.

      Teachers and administrators are no longer supported by the majority of parents. Yes, there are teachers that should be in a different profession but there are so many teachers that obviously aren’t in it for the money, many work 2nd jobs to take care of their families as well as purchasing many items for their students and classroom because the District/school cant provide it. Most are putting in many many hours grading, creating lesson plans, worrying about how they can best teach and support their students, worrying why one student has suddenly become withdrawn, why one never gets breakfast, why so many come unprepared, tired, lacking basic school supplies and what they can do to help them.

      Not only is the mob mentality so prevalent due to social media, our society is so quick to pass judgement without all the facts. I write this because of my experience working with teachers. They are are a different breed. They are selfless and worry and care to a fault. Whether you’re a parent of a child in school or not, volunteer. I promise your experience witnessing what these professionals do on a daily basis will definitely give you something to think about and probably give you an entirely different perspective.

      I wasn’t at this play so I do not know the whole situation, but I just know I wouldn’t want some of the choices I make in my job summed up in a 5 to 10 second clip for the world to critique.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. The Teacher made the right decision for the entire group! She considered all of the children not just one. I bet the play was not even part of her curriculum but something she wanted to do with her students for their parents! Leave her alone and let her teach!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Love and support from a fellow teacher!! People judge before knowing the teacher, family, and child. The public hears part of a story and runs with it. Every child is different!! We do not know his history with the school. She could have known he was going to say something crazy and get laughed at. He wasn’t supposed to be standing there. It doesn’t teach anything about bullying special needs. It teaches that you have to follow the directions. You can’t just decide you want to speak again and say whatever you want!

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  8. Okay so about this video that’s going around….I was upset over it.i have posted on so many different outlets on this bri case I feel like someone needs to set the record straight even if I don’t agree with how this was handled or what the woman did i still think the truth needs to be told!
    I was there! Caleb stood next to my brother for the whole play. He went up to the mic a few times which I have the video on the camcorder to prove. If someone shows me how I’ll post it.
    The little boys parents apparently didn’t sign the permission slip for him to be in it but he was still allowed to perform when he showed up.
    When the mic was pulled away he wasn’t suppose to be up there in front of it but honestly what harm would it have caused if he spoke again? None, it wouldn’t have hurt anyone but the teacher was probably worn out. I don’t think she should have jerked the mic away from him that was ridiculous and had it been my brother I’d have gone up and said something right to her face. My mother however called out to Caleb and told him to speak with out the mic as did a few other parents but that’s no shown in the video. No one was laughing at him another child off frame was doing little bows and it was funny. Most people didn’t even see the thing with the mic but like I said a few parents called out and said things. His parents did not as far as I could tell. No one knew about the autism until the next day unless they knew him personally. My brother said he showed up for school like nothing happened and they played together. I seriously think this thing has gotten way out of hand and at first I wanted to jump in with a pitch fork but once I rewatched the videos and looked back at everything I couldn’t…it’s not right to use this to cost someone her job. I fully believe the teacher should get into trouble over this for the way she treated this little boy but I don’t see a hate crime and when the family left Caleb didn’t seem to be crying any longer.
    Everyone who knows me knows I’d be one of the first people to call someone out for being against someone with a disability or someone for bullying but I just think this has gotten way out of hand.
    Punish the teacher for treating a student rudely but let’s stop putting this on the news everywhere with out all the facts.
    Because honestly I’m scared come Monday when we take zay to school there’s going to be news outlets and protesters there and that’s not good for anyone.
    So I’ve stated the truth of what happened along with some of my feelings not that it’s going to matter much but I have and that’s all I can do.
    Someone actually told me they didn’t think he had gone up to the mic i asked if they had been there and when they replied no I asked how they could possibly know the whole story but never got an answer back. I was there and this is how i felt about it.
    Also this is getting a ton of attention for Caleb and all it’s doing is pointing out a disability…like seriously everyone’s saying the boy with autism…he has a name he isn’t his disability! People first language learn it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. 1) “The boy with Autism” IS People First language. The alternative would be “Autistic boy”, so maybe YOU are the one who needs to “learn it”.

      2) With regard to “people first”, as an Aspie, I’m so freaking sick of people like you advocating for how people should treat those of us on the spectrum, despite not actually knowing a vast majority of us. As you say, we’re people, not a disability. We’re all different. Nobody is in a position to advocate this crap on our behalf, because we all have different opinions.

      3) Of course all the attention it’s getting him is in regard to his disability. That’s the point. This wouldn’t be on a single person’s radar if he wasn’t disabled. Actually, as someone who had the same thing happen when I wandered over to an open microphone during a kindergarten Christmas pageant, I’ll go a step further and say it still shouldn’t be on anyone’s radar, because it’s nothing.

      This story isn’t about him. He’s part of it, but only by association. Any attention he gets is going to be about his disability, because that’s the only hook.

      “Teacher takes open microphone before child says unscripted lines at end of performance” would have nobody’s attention and everyone saying “Yeah, so what?” It’s a regular occurrence. You don’t let little kids wander over to an open microphone to say anything to an audience when you have 0 idea what they’re going to say–and, again, I say that as someone who, at that age, wandered over to an open microphone to say something to the audience.

      That you think they should be allowed to really says a lot about you. This isn’t a free-for-all, as much as it may look like one. That you think it acceptable to encourage a child to say whatever he wants while on stage at a rehearsed & scripted school function says plenty about your lack of respect for the staff and students who worked on making it a scripted & rehearsed school function. It’s a freaking pageant, not a “Come hear kids say whatever pops into their head at a given moment” performance.

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      1. Thank you. As a parent of 5, who all have Tourettes Syndrome and many of the associated issues that fall on the spectrum, I want to thank you for a reasoned response. In order for my children to all grow into capable, functional adults, I could never have countenanced their impulses to rule their lives. We don’t do our children with different abilities any favors to not teach them how to properly adhere to the rules. All of our children are now college graduates making their mark on the world and I’m proud of each one of them.

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    2. “what harm would it have caused if he spoke again?” That entirely depends on what he would have said, doesn’t it? Since he had no lines in the play yet spoke on several other occasions, there is no way of knowing what he would decide to say if given special permission to take the mic again (remember, the play was over at that point – not that he or his mother would know that, since they had never attended a rehearsal).

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  9. I did watch the whole video. I also used to teach high school. The play was cute for 6 year olds and I’m very reluctant to judge this teacher based on this information but it did seem she planned to take the mic from him. She could have been a winner if he said gobble gobble. If it was a string of obscenities, then a meeting with mom would be appropriate. Caleb as a HFA student doesn’t have much opportunity for a “stage” in life and this could have been a real learning moment. I think it became a learning moment for Ms. Lindsay. Has anyone thought to have a meeting with mom, teacher, administrators (now lawyers) to talk it out? Sharing all over social media is certainly making this situation worse than it needs to be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thing is, this was a learning moment. People seem to be missing that.

      “Just because you want something, it doesn’t mean you can have it” is a pretty important lesson to learn.

      And I’m sure this was a learning moment for Mrs. Lindsey as well:

      “If you don’t let kids do whatever they want when they want to do it, people will want to kill you”

      That, on the other hand, is not a very good lesson.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. The other lesson she learned is not to give in. If they don’t follow the plan–turn in signed forms, attend rehearsals, etc–they won’t be in the show. PERIOD! END OF STORY!

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  10. Although I agree with most of your analysis because as we all know, there is always two sides to every story. I am sure that if the district is supporting her then she must have done nothing wrong. We do have a blame culture mentality but this is where we disagree. I have tried to teach my child that we are responsible for our choices. I instill values in my child that I hope will cause her to make the right choices. Either way, she has to live with the consequences, good or bad. Although “blame culture” is prevalent in our society, a lot of that is taught in schools. She had to do a paper on why corporations make Americans fat? I started to say something but my daughter interjected and said, “I know mom you taught me that I am responsible for my choices but please don’t say anything, I want a good grade.” I was mad but knew I did pretty good in raising my daughter so let this slide. Blaming culture was not taught by me. Turn on the news. Blaming culture is done all the time. In today’s world, lying is acceptable. In the 90’s, we were preached on character does not count. Well…yes it does. I hope that if this teacher did nothing wrong, then she continues to receive the support of her administrators and coworkers, as well as other parents. There are a lot of great teachers out there but sadly a few bad apples always seem to make the news, like ALL other professions. Well written article by the way!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks for your post, as I feel sorry for the little boy. It is so sad to see the vigilante spirit of people out there, esp the ones that claim to be Christians. Thanks for the thoughtful post full of grace.

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  12. Thank you for explaining to the world what every teacher of children with special needs (which is EVERY teacher) may have to do in a split second. These decisions are not easy to make, and I am heartbroken at the safety issues created by this “viral” video. Heaven help the schools when people who look at both sides of an issue are silenced. Prayers of support for my fellow WV teacher.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But, see, this has absolutely nothing (0, zip, zilch, nada) to do with special needs children.

      The standard rule that spans all schools is simple. “Kids don’t get to make unscripted & unrehearsed remarks to the audience into an open mic”. I had the same thing happen when I tried in a kindergarten Christmas pageant.

      Unless you have a mixer that can shut off the microphone, this is the proper way to handle it. Period.

      What befuddles me is that most people would get that if the word “Autism” wasn’t in the picture. Special needs students need special help, not special treatment. Advocating for the latter just does them a disservice.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. As a recently retired first grade teacher, I totally agree with the author. After watching the video twice, I truly believe she meant no harm. The play was over and this little guy had no idea what was going on. She reacted by thinking it was time to get those kids off the stage. There is no way she did it in malice. It was a gut reaction (probably due to some stress) so let it drop. If she wasn’t a good and caring teacher, he would have been given a seat with an aide beside him. But she let him participate. Too many people judging that have no idea what teaching is like/ about.

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  14. Her phone number has been leaked? And you don’t even know her full name? You are a liar and that lie alone ruins all credibility of your word.

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    1. Not sure why this incident has bothered me so much….guess it’s kind of why I am very bothered by the riots and why police are vilified.

      I watched the entire vid, not the edited vid. I’m not a fan of school unions, but love teachers and had some wonderful ones.

      What I have seen on forums on the internets in the last 2 days have horrified me. That teacher looks to have done nothing wrong. People want to kill her now.

      I sure want to hear from her. But she will never get her life back. I’m disgusted by these parents.

      Thank you openletters. Thank you very much.

      Liked by 4 people

  15. Very well written! I have to offer a different view. I have watched the entire video. I have read commentary from both sides with valid points. I have read the back and forth as well. He had a permission slip he didn’t have one etc. What was particularly upsetting for me is that she didn’t do anything to coach the child and he was ridiculed in front of everyone there. Do you know that damaging effect that can have on any child? I also saw that after he left the stage she put the microphone back. I think everyone is upset that she didn’t seem concerned with the child being upset and the manner in which everything was done. Why did she “have” to remove the microphone? What would it have mattered if he spoke? I also heard people saying we didn’t know what he would say.. He is 6…I am sure he wasn’t going to rap an Eminem song or send out a big FU to the Establishment. He isn’t Kayne right? 🙂 I just feel a simple apology for this situation would have remedied all of this. Whether right or wrong at the end of the day is it that important to be right? Or avoiding this mess more important? Avoiding public ridicule of the child and now the teacher? She saw him on stage so the taking of the microphone was preempted and not last minute. That is my opinion, but all of this could have and should have been avoided. Like others have stated this was a 6 years old play not Broadway or anything like that. It was and has been taken way out of context and now those involved are in a snowball effect.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How long should she have let him talk for you to be satisfied? Three minutes? Seven? How do YOU know he doesn’t know curse words? Everyone saying he just wanted to say “gobble gobble”…..how do they know what he wanted to say? Suppose when he was done, three others wanted to speak. I understand we live in a society that allows kids free reign, but at some point, someone must be willing to step in and teach them self control. What’s cute at 6 isn’t so cute at 36.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. See, this. Right here.

        Why is nobody getting this?

        The Autism is irrelevant here.

        You don’t let kids make unscripted, unrehearsed remarks into an open microphone. Period.

        If you don’t have a mixer to shut off the microphone (most grade schools won’t), you take it if it looks like someone will try.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. My only thought, now that I’ve heard more of the facts (and I’m glad I did, because I was initially LIVID!) is that perhaps something could have been said, firmly and quietly, along the lines of “Caleb, the play is over” and THEN taking the mic down. I’m no expert on autism or asperger’s so I certainly could be wrong about that.

      One other things bothers me too. Smiles can indicate embarassment as well as humor or arrogance. As I go back and look at the video, I’m thinking that the teacher didn’t want to hurt Caleb and probably felt, even as it happened, unhappy to have had to intervene. Or not. But I’m inclined to a more sympathetic viewpoint than I had at first.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. Actually, you would be surprised what a young child can say, if given free reign. My youngest child’s Kindergarten play was interrupted by a 5 year old special needs child who had a line (they all did) decided to adlib his line with “F is for FU N***a.” The panic on the teachers face and the gasp of the audience, in addition to the 20 or so other students not knowing what to do, took away from the whole play. Kids with special needs can be unpredictable. I have two sons on the Spectrum. My Aspie when he was younger said ALOT of inappropriate things when he was younger, because it made him giggle. The fact that he also has a mild case of Tourettes also didn’t help matters as he like to repeat it over and over. I’m just saying it can happen.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. “What would it have mattered if he spoke?” That entirely depends on what he would have said, doesn’t it? Since he had no lines in the play yet spoke on several other occasions, there is no way of knowing what he would decide to say if given special permission to take the mic again (remember, the play was over at that point – not that he or his mother would know that, since they had never attended a rehearsal).

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  16. First, thank you for your post. It brought myself, as well as others involved, some peace. It’s something that we have all wanted to express, but until yesterday, have been unable to. I am a teacher at that school, and I can assure you, the school is full of loving and endearing teachers who do their best everyday to make the lives of these children better in any way they can. The first grade teachers put so much work and personal time into making this a memorable occasion for the families and students of NFP, and unfortunately, it has turned out to be a night that will forever be remembered by some as the night that a young, innocent, autistic child was horribly mistreated by a heartless teacher. For those who know the truth, it will be thought of as the night that a selfless and loving teacher had her life, as well as her family’s, turned into a tragic nightmare. What the outside doesn’t know is that this fine lady, although she isn’t even his teacher, has a special bond with this child. They don’t see how he runs up to her in the hall when he sees her and hugs her and tells her he loves her. They don’t know that she gives him moments of her undivided attention because she knows it’s something that makes his days brighter. They don’t know, or maybe it’s that they don’t care, that she has children of her own, who are watching their mommy be harassed with phone calls of people screaming obscenities and social media, seeing her in tears all the time and not fully understanding why. I watched her daughter wrap her arms around her and look up to her with a big smile that melted my heart, and it was to provide her mommy with comfort, even though she’s not sure what is causing her family so much pain. I wonder if people who are so quick to throw such nasty insults and speak the untruth, realize how their actions are affecting this little girl, because she too, just like the little boy, is an innocent bystander. Do they think of how the 1000 students felt when they had to stay inside for recess due to threats? Do they think about the emotional strain that every teacher in that school, and yes, every teacher everywhere, must experience and try to find a way to put a smile on their saddened faces so they can give their children 100%? In an elementary school of approximately 1000 students, many with different types of adversities within EACH classroom, it makes it somewhat difficult at times for a teacher in a school that size, to be able to reach out to classrooms other than their own. That is not to say they don’t smile as they pass in the hall, or say good morning, etc. Their focus is generally on meeting the needs within their room. Some are fortunate enough to come from loving homes with supportive parents who are able to fulfill all of their needs. Sadly, many come with empty stomachs, thankful that our school is one that provides free breakfast, snack and lunch. They come knowing that even though their family may be facing difficult times, they won’t go without. They have wonderful administrators, counselors and teachers who know that their #1 priority is not to be authority figures who are ready to get down to teaching, but it is to make sure their other needs are met first: food in stomachs, shoes that aren’t rubbing blisters, coats on cold days, clean clothes for emergencies, food for the weekend and over breaks, presents at Christmas, curled hair for school dances, along with a nice dress or tie, trips to the barber, lots of talk time when they’re sad because they’re missing a parent for various reasons, endless love and affection. The list goes on. I am proud to be a teacher in that school of fine, selfless and loving teachers that are there for the children, regardless of what others say or think. I am also proud to say that Mrs. Lindsey is at the top of that list of fine teachers who did nothing more than try to do what we are forced to do on a daily basis, make split decisions that have the least amount of negative impact for all involved, be able to predict what’s about to happen before it happens, maintain a safe and orderly environment for 25 6-year-olds, with a smile (or not a smile, because some thinks a smile is offensive, others think if she’s not smiling, she’s being rude) on her face, and do it all while ensuring that everyone is happy! Also, to those who want to cast judgement, I pray that someone doesn’t catch you on video taking a candy bar from the clutching hands of your distraught child in a grocery store, because what they don’t know might hurt you. They might not know that your child just ate a bagful of candy and that you’re on your way to dinner, or that your child is diabetic and it would be dangerous for you to give in to their demand. Teachers are human, just as everyone else, and they are far from perfect. These people who are claiming to be doing a good deed by voicing their outrage at this teacher have no idea the repercussions of their actions. The entire school, children included, are negatively impacted by this. Many parents in our school who have a relationship with the teachers and faculty have thankfully been very supportive. They are saddened by what has escalated from this event. This is what our world has become. It’s a place where many people don’t want rules, (well, just for everyone else), and they want to blame and pass judgement on everyone else (but it better never happen to them). When they’re speaking and posting these things, it’s their right, their freedom of speech. But when this same thing is happening to them, it’s slander and defamation of character. We try to remind ourselves daily to ignore social media, as well as the television, so that we can stay strong for our students. When one teacher is feeling weakened by the burden of it all, another teacher steps in and pulls them up by their boot straps. Thankfully, this staff is indeed loving, caring and strong. We will continue to do what we do, which is focus on keeping our students happy, safe and learning, as well as pray that our beloved Mrs. Lindsey is able to find some peace of her own, if not for herself, then for her sweet little girl who loves her mommy and knows her better than anyone else. That endearing look she gave her could not have been given to anyone unworthy, that’s for sure!

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Praying for peace and safety for you all. I hope Mrs. Lindsey knows there are many across the nation standing with her. And many more would if they knew the whole story. The media has been incredibly irresponsible in handling this.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. That was perfection. I’ve been trying to defend Mrs. Lindsey against the mob on the internet. I fear this is just going to go down the memory hole (1984) as the truth drips in. Anyway….THANK YOU.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. I could tell from the minute I saw the video clip that there was more to that story. I only wish that other Americans had discernment or common sense, whatever it is that is missing. I hope that despite the mother’s theatrical hysterics on tv, something good can come out of this for Ms. Lindsey.

      Liked by 2 people

    4. Dear Proud NF Teacher, Please convey to Ms. Lindsey that there are thousands of us REASONABLE people out here who support her 100%. We may not know her or even all the facts, but just the facts presented lead us to support her side. These parents acted in an unreasonable and unfair manner. But even they can’t be to blame for this incredible mass hysteria we are seeing right now. This is a culture that seeks to vent its righteous rage on ‘someone’ and unfortunately, Ms. Lindsey is that someone for the day. Please let her know, from someone else who has also sustained such hatred (hey, I have hate sites dedicated to smearing my name) that she will quickly be forgotten for larger fish. She just needs to withdraw into her safety net and eventually ( a few days), the mob will move to more interesting meat. The internet mob is truly ugly- but it is just as mindless. As long as the people around her refuse to believe in what they say, she is going to be alright. And for every big mouthed idiot who said something cruel, there are thousands of silent people who are rationally wondering, “Gee, that poor teacher!” So, please comfort her and assure her that it will be ok. I am not on the side of teacher’s unions but I do love teachers themselves. I am with her on this and have been very active in getting her side of the story ‘out there’ on social media. God bless her… Susan Shannon

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Susan, where is the info documented that the child had no signed permission slip and no part in the play? I have seen it on your blog and being repeated on here, but have not found a primary source, since the school is not talking. As they should not.
        As the mother of a special needs adult who came through it all just fine (my mistakes, other people’s mistakes), I am just mildly curious as it is very common for parents to assume that a parent of a special needs child did not follow the rules but I can’t find proof of that here.
        An unfortunate situation for all concerned . . .

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  17. I was in that room. My daughter was in that play. The boy in question showed up last minute, having attended no rehearsals and having turned in no permission slip. He literally had no scripted speaking part in the play. He was included with the other children on the stage, and still managed to get to the microphone twice. I understand that he is autistic, and he may have been over stimulated. I get that. But there was literally never a plan for him to speak. He spoke twice. The teacher stopped him from an unscheduled THIRD time at the microphone. Then his parents, instead of talking to the teacher, took to Facebook. Is that how an adult handles a dispute?

    Liked by 8 people

    1. whats the big deal to “let him speak a 3rd time”? at the end of the play to say “gobble gobble”??? she did not need to take that mic from him!! yes the mother may be overreacting a bit, but there was no need for that teacher to do what she did.

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      1. And how exactly was the teacher supposed know that all he wanted to say was “gobble gobble?” If the child had no speaking part and did not attend any rehearsals, how was she to know? I can’t imagine she can read minds. He had his extra parts, the play was over, and I’m sure she would have taken the mic from any child who tried to speak after the play had ended. It is what it is.

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  18. Unfortunately this school I know well!! Both my kids went there and the teachers and staff are aweful! They do not care about the students and always put down the parents. The teachers for kindergarten were great it was 1-5 that did not want to teach! They were only there for a job. A job they did not do well I mite add. They did not teach my kids a thing an when they did teach it was wrong. Example 4th grade my son was taught that stonewall Jackson was not from wv he was from Nebraska! Untrue!!!! He was shown multiple times he was unimportant to the teachers by humiliating him! At the beginning of every yr we were sent a paper home from the boe saying the school didn’t meet certain criteria and we had to list 3 other schools we would like our children to go to if we wanted. Finally after that yr I looked into different schools in my county and got them switched. That school is the worst in the county. I know from personal experience. I wish this school was different but its not!

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    1. Quite frankly, given the grammar prowess you’ve shown here, I’m wondering if you only believe they didn’t each your child properly because you were taught improperly yourself.

      “I mite add”? Seriously?

      If someone with your grammar skills says I teach grammar incorrectly, I’d wear it as a badge of honor.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I’m so glad you tackled that mite before I did. I cannot believe how people feel like they or their children be owed special options on what to or not to do in life. The rules are set for situations in life for a reason, and no condition that anyone has mentally, physically, or emotionally should EVER be a reason for them to think it’s ok break the rules. It’s sad that the child is and should always be the innocent one, but it’s more upsetting that the mom should be the one undergoing all the suggestions for what should have been, not the teacher.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I can see why you *mite* not think they did well as teaching your children or how the school is so *aweful*
      Sadly, some parents have an issue realizing the they have to work TOGETHER with the teachers to receive the best education for their children.
      Instead, when their children lack, they immediately blame the teachers. It is the new norm for our country now. No one wants to take any type of responsibility so they blame any and every other person connected with the issue at hand, EXCEPT themselves.
      I find it incredibly hard to believe EVERY SINGLE TEACHER minus Kindergarten are horrible teachers.

      Liked by 2 people

  19. My first reaction to this video was, frankly, anger. What stood out to me was how this teacher jerked the microphone out of the stand, not as soon as the student before this child was finished, but, just as the autistic child was about to speak…whether or not she meant to do that is why people are up in arms. After seeing the full video several more times, it became very clear to me that the teacher may have been feeling a little stressed, we all know how rambunctious 6 year olds can be, and with all of the cutting up and goofing off going on, I see why she may have been a little stressed. Believe me…I have two small children and there are days I want to dig a hole in the backyard just to hide from them!!! Give her the benefit of doubt…stop the threats and harassment…the only ones being hurt now are the children!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To me it looked like it was done out of frustration with the child’s behavior and punitive punishment. There was zero compassion when the child cried or had an “outburst” as the blogger called it.

      As to those who are saying the parents didn’t return the child’s permission slip and allow him to practice, if this is true this certainly put the child at a disadvantage. If he had been afforded the opportunity to practice the scenario and the staff the opportunity to see how he might react, this might have preempted possible behavioral issues. However, it “might” have.. because no one knows for sure how he would have reacted on that day.

      Even if he was somewhat disruptive during the program it seems from own admission of blogger the child was trying to stay on task and other staff attempted to redirect him to the best of their ability. However, none of that excuses Mrs. Lindsay’s split second decision. She had time to reverse that decision when Caleb started crying. She also could clearly see him waiting in line. He was completely patient and waited his turn without disrupting the others speakers That he didn’t have a speaking part probably meant little to him. She did rip the mic away. Maybe not right out of his hand but it was done VERY forcefully . Enough so that the person recording the video said in Disgust, “Why did she do that?” This was reportedly not the parent who recording so at least one other person in attendance found Mrs. Lindsay’s behavior wrong.

      Also when he cried out she ignored him – showed no compassion. So now teachers are supposed to be devoid of compassion for other human beings? What is that teaching the other students? The little ones who are watching their teacher rip the mic off the stand and ignore their crying classmate?

      It s VERY clear this district and their staff. including Mrs. LIndsay. need additional training in dealing with autistic students. Further it is VERY clear Caleb needs a behavioral intervention plan as part of his IEP that is overseen by an autistic specialist. Districts do have access to such experts to come in evaluate and help create such plans.

      It’s my opinion the parents SHOULD file complaint with the US Dept of Education Office of Civil Rights for investigation. Since the teacher and the district will admit to no wrongdoing no education or training can begin to help prevent this from occurring.

      The teacher was allegedly confronted by the aunt after the program with concerns about how she treated Caleb and the teacher made light of it and would give no explanation.

      And yes, of course, the district will stand with the teacher not because they feel she is right, but to cover their own behinds in a possible lawsuit. A district will never admit wrongdoing unless basically forced to do so. Deny, deny, deny is the name of the game. I’ve seen it time and time again. People who do have children with IEPs and have not been part of the special education process do not and will not understand what goes on. Only parents of children with disabilities and educational advocates who help them will understand. Most general education teachers are grossly ill-equipped to handle an autistic child in their classroom and many do not have necessary training needed. Many general ed teachers feel it’s something that is pushed upon them (inclusion). Part of the problem is the educational system is broke particularly when it comes to including special needs children. Often things that need to be done to make inclusion successful are not done because districts do not want to pay for additional supports and staff or training. It’s all about money on the bottom line.

      That said, I do not advocate or support threatening anyone, giving out their personal information or cursing at them. I do believe the teacher should be placed on leave pending investigation. There is video evidence here. It’s not a he said/she said situation. Obviously enough people were alarmed even after viewing the entire video that there was still outcry. Just because Caleb was having some difficulty throughout the program does not excuse the end action of the teacher.

      The blogger seems to think Mrs. Lindsay is excused of any and all responsibility. It is not solely on the child or parents fault as many on this page seem to want to blame them exclusively.

      Instead of taking this as a learning opportunity and a way to educate themselves on what they can do to improve working with special needs children and bettering the inclusion process, the teacher and district chose to play victim and their supports to blame Caleb for having a disability. The victim is Caleb and the other students when staff do not have appropriate tools to handle special needs children and then want to excuse their mismanagement of a situation.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You said, “And yes, of course, the district will stand with the teacher not because they feel she is right, but to cover their own behinds in a possible lawsuit. ” A LAWSUIT???? Are you serious?? For WHAT, pray tell? I want to laugh but fear you are serious.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Sorry for being rude, but here we go…..You sound unhinged. REALLY? A civil rights investigation? It is tough to have a kid that has difficulties, but to demand everyone bend over backwards for you is ridiculous. This PC crap is out of control. Many of us are sick of it. News Flash: Child who never participated in school play rehearsals wants another turn at the mic and the teacher takes mic away. OH, THE HORROR!

        Liked by 2 people

      3. You are the very problem with our generation. It’s not the teacher’s job to be compassionate, and to be frank, caring so much about children’s ever-so-precious self esteem does them a disservice; even more so with a child known to have behavioral issues. His autism is irrelevant here. His carrying on because he didn’t get his way is even more irrelevant. The teacher did the right thing – she enforced the rules. She didn’t do it with malice. She didn’t berate the student. She took the mic away from him because he wasn’t supposed to be speaking into it.

        It’s no wonder why our generation is being given such a bad name of being lazy, self-absored, self-righteous, entitled idiots when “compassionate” people like you spout off the kind of garbage you just posted. People like you make me sick and I fear for the future of our country with people like you leading the way as the new majority.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. From the language used in your post, it seems that you have some knowledge of either education, special needs, or both. If so, did you miss class the day they taught that rewarding unacceptable behavior in any way only reinforces it? And that experts strongly discourage negative reinforcement? I work with a small group of precious one year olds forty hours a week and I know that even they know how to use tears and tantrums to get their way. In the midst of such manipulation my response is only for their safety. If I show “compassion” or coddle them then I am sending them the wrong message. This teacher made the right choice, ignore and move on, and it has been reported by witnesses that his tears stopped quickly.

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  20. “All of us are more than one thing. If that’s all you’re looking at…our worst act on our worst day…any one of us could be painted as a villain. It’s really about the totality of someone.”
    Leslie Odom Jr

    Liked by 3 people

  21. I have followed this story in news media, which as we all know is not always accurate especially after the recent election. I worked as a teacher’s aide/paraprofessional in the school system for 29 years in special needs classrooms at elementary, middle and high school levels. In defense of Mrs. Lindsay, if she was not a special needs teacher and was helping the school to have a play and if this student was not one normally in her classroom or charge, she probably has had little training in autism. I am not judging her for this, but older regular education teachers were not required to take classes dealing with special needs population. Add the fact that this child has autism makes it even worse. Many children with autism have to have picture schedules to know and understand what is happening next in their day or world. If the parents had not signed permission forms, which is required for other students then I think Mrs. Lindsay was gracious to let him be in the play. Also, the parents should have told the teacher earlier that he wanted to be in the play.

    Parents of children with autism know those children better than anyone else. The inability to cope with changes, the inability to deal with excessive stimulation of loud noises and other children being hyper. The fact that they blurt out things or are impulsive. To place that child into a situation with a teacher that doesn’t know everything needed is a disaster looking too happen. They should have checked into the practice schedules and even requested to be there to help with their son or to have requested that a teacher’s aide who would be familiar with their child be assigned for the special event. These children do not like changes in what is the norm for them. So planning ahead is of utmost importance and the parents and staff need to work together. You can’t expect the child to be thrown into being in front of a huge crowd of observers and the other children in the class, probably at least 20-21 children who are excited and hyper to react in the same way as the others.

    I have been involved in ‘inclusion’ since the early ’80s and required to travel with my students to many classes. The support staff has been cut so much due to funding so perhaps this student doesn’t have his own aide, but if he did the teacher or aide should have been assigned to this student. I agree he had every right to participate, but the way it was done was not appropriate. Why should Mrs. Lindsay at the last moment be placed with all the responsibility of handling the other students and this child also. It is hard enough for a teacher to maintain so many students at once..I also assisted in these Thanksgiving plays in kindergarten with my teacher, two other teachers and two other aides..it took all of us to maintain discipline and concentration for the 3 groups of kindergarten classes. The students who needed extra help for behavior and remember lines were assisted by the aides.

    It is sad, as the autistic population and those with other disabilities have the ‘right’ to participate and inclusion can be done but in the correct way. Communication between educators and parents is essential. Most of the parents in our school system were right up on their children’s rights and legal responsibilities and their children were very successful with inclusion.

    As for the teacher, I feel she needed more support during that play..as it was noted in above postings the child loved her and hugged her each morning, but he didn’t have to provide discipline or work with him on impulsive behavior. I have had children with complete meltdowns when put in stressful situations. I have attempted to calm and sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t…most of the children are familiar, helpful and empathetic with their peers who need support.

    But what does bother me is that the parents are not working more with staff to learn about their child’s needs in an inclusive environment and preparing the child to better handle or interact in a different environment or situation instead of laying the blame on staff. The child could have easily gotten out of control worse.

    Teachers, aides are not there to make life more miserable for those special children..From my experiences they love those children, spend extra time talking to them or paying attention to them. Teachers pay money out of their own pockets or presents, for snacks, crafts, etc.. because they chose their professions and because they love the children.

    So sorry that this situation has brought unnecessary attention to a child who does not need that type of controversy in his life and who does not need the extra attention to his disability.. please let this die so he can get back to learning what he needs to learn.

    As for the teacher, I am sure she also was under stress, without the extra support she needed to handle the situation in the correct way.. in spite of the fact that the child had not practiced perhaps a non-peaking part would have worked in this instance… Instead of being critical it would be great for all parties to sit down and discuss things and perhaps for the administration to set up a policy and plan as how to handle participation in events for future issues…example, having the special needs support working with regular education teachers and something written in their IEP.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This child was suppose to have a non speaking part, as agreed to by his mother. His mother then decided to add speaking parts for her child without informing the teacher. The very teacher who added this child to the play the day of the play per his mother’s request.

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    2. The child did not bring a permission slip to be in the play. Caleb also had not attended any practice sessions at all. On the day of the play, his mother turned up and demanded that he be allowed to perform. So he was given an Indian suit and allowed on stage, with the mother under the strong understanding that due to no practice or knowledge of the play, her son was not to speak at all. The mother’s actions in insisting that her autistic child be exposed to an over-stimulating unfamiliar situation were foolish. He spoke several times, despite the instructions to be quiet. If he had an Indian head-dress with feathers on it, he possibly thought he was a turkey, as people on the autism spectrum may take things very litereally that way. Perhaps that is why he decided he wanted to say gobble gobble. However, given the laughter at his earlier mis-steps due to not knowing the play, the teacher, who this little boy loves even though she is not his teacher, was concerned that he may attract further negative attention.

      So all of this has ended in death threats for the teacher and a lockdown for all 1000 children in the school.

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  22. I just have to say….i watched the entire video as well. I did Not think Caleb was an embarrassment or was embarrassed. The choice to snatched the microphone was a bad one in my opinion and she could have handled it differently. Do I think the teacher should be raked through the coals? No! A simple apology for what she thought was the right thing may have solved this entire mess. Teachers have a very important job most couldn’t handle but we all make mistakes and we all know how to utter an apology.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually, she should have. Children and parents need to learn to follow rules, regardless of if they are an IEP student or not. This mother is selfish, putting her child’s wants above everyone else. No child, autistic or not, is a special snowflake who should be allowed to do whatever they want. That’s what is wrong with America now. No one thinks they should be told no. Kudos to the teacher. Shame on the cry baby mother.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No what’s wrong with the world are people who think they know anything about a special needs child when their children are normal. No sympathy and no understanding, that’s what’s wrong with America. People think their normal child gets everything a special needs child gets without the struggle.

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    2. Whos to say she didnt apologize just looks like the mon is seeking attention and now a reward. So an apology wouldnt work with all the attention everyone is dishing her. If the teacher was being mean she would have done it the other 3 times he spoke in mic and she would have removed him from play after the first outburst.

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    1. If they had a mixer to do it remotely, sure.

      Otherwise, heck no.

      You don’t let kids make unscripted & unrehearsed remarks into an open microphone.

      You don’t make rules exceptions for special needs students that are outside the realm of behavior caused by their disability.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Totally. Everyone is sensitive to everything and it is not helping our children. The mom put the child in this position and now she should use it as a learning experience for herself and unfortunately for Caleb as well. He will forget about it and move on while this good teacher suffers.

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      2. After reading the article on the mother’s behavior I blame her for this entire situation. My sister has 16 year old triplets and one is severely Autistic among other disabilities. I can assure you that my niece would never have had to face this.

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    2. I’m sorry, but no. Sometimes children have to learn the difficult lesson that they do not always get to do whatever they feel like. There has to be healthy boundaries that teach children how to follow instructions, obey rules and be respectful of other people even when it’s contradictory to what would make you personally happy.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Ask the parents *I* know of kids with autism. They DO NOT give shortcuts, DO NOT expect trophies and special privileges…it encourages attention-seeking behavior. And before you shout in all caps that i need to *educate myself*…how does a Master’s in Special Ed sound? I have one and I’m not afraid to use it. Special needs people function best when they are afforded opportunities to be included in situations that they are capable of being in…AND also when being treated like everyone else. No free rides. If he cried, that’s because, according to Nutter Fort residents who were present, he was frustrated because his parents didn’t bring him to practice, nor did they prepare him. They just demanded he be in…so, as per usual, the school allowed the parents to run over them for fear of a lawsuit. Now this. Great job, now the school has been in lockdown because idiots have threatened this teacher’s life and safety. People are threatening to rape her for God’s sake. Just great. All over your kid not getting his feelings hurt. Now, everyone ELSE’S are.

        Liked by 3 people

    3. No, I think the mother should not have insisted on putting her child in the play when he didn’t know a thing about it. The fact that he is autistic just makes this point more pertinent. If he has learning disabilities, then it is the MOTHER’S and FATHER’S responsibility to care for their child first. Who said the school is responsible first? THEY demanded he be in the play. THEY bear the consequences of that action. The teacher didn’t know what he would say. So she took the mic. Makes perfect sense. He started crying. Is that the time to give it back? So he can cry into the mic? No. That’s the time for someone to comfort the boy. Preferably, his mother. But his mother was too busy falling apart herself to help her boy!!! Such nonsense.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. I agree she had no clue what he would even say!! How is she supposed to know that the mother was having private play rehearsals at home!! This mother is disgusting! She should accept responsibility and stop passing the buck!! She should be ashamed of herself!!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Just because a person has autism, it does not mean they have learning “disabilities “. In fact, I have Aspergers, a 4.0 , and I am a congressional award winner for human rights and advocacy.

        Like

      3. Right on! When I saw this on TV, I had a feeling the teacher had reasons. It’s terrible that she has been tortured for it. When will we learn to not judge people in the court of public opinion? Judges and juries don’t always get things right. How can we expect to get things right with little information? Let’s stop being bullies, and let’s start standing up to bullies. No one likes a bully, or so most people say. I’m very disappointed in the way this incident was reported on the news. All they did was mislead people and stir the pot. My heart goes out to the teacher.

        Like

      4. Well, this has taught all of us a lesson, I think. Me too. I have been reflecting backward and wondering if I have ever been part of an internet mob unwittingly. I have promised myself to never comment negatively on a social media article that has little or no information (if I ever have.)

        Like

    4. Nope. And the mother should publicly apologize cor her fake crybaby outburst, the firestorm she deliberately started for revenge, and be forced to take down her Facebook page where she’s asking for “gifts” for Caleb. She is milking this, while tearing down a good teacher.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. By what I have read shes looking to settle Christmas early so she don’t have to buy her child anything shes an attention seeker prayers for the teacher hope she finds peace she sounds like she has a good heart xx

        Liked by 1 person

    5. The play was over. The child had no speaking part. If there is no sound board operator to mute the mic, then physically removing it is the proper option. So, no, we certainly don’t all agree.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. My daughter had this teacher and she is an excellent teacher by all means she is very caring and helpful! I wish I would seen the whole video before commenting about it cause once I realized it was her and seen the rest of the video I knew then I made a huge mistake! She only did what she needed to do to take control of the program. I’m sorry for jumping the gun on this one! This is a great school with great teachers and they all are very caring!!!!💗💗💗

    Liked by 4 people

  24. I am a teacher in an autism classroom so I understand this situation pretty well. First and foremost, students with autism require pretty rigid structure and scheduling. Any changes from the norm have to be introduced pretty far in advance. So to just show up that night and throw him in the play was pretty irresponsible of his family. They had to have known that a deviation from the schedule could have been catastrophic. Furthermore, the play was over. No student should have been taking extra turns playing with the microphone, so you yell about her being mean to Caleb but would you still be angry if it were “Joe” his gen Ed classmate?

    Being a good teacher does not mean letting kids do whatever they want. It includes teaching norms and expectations and enforcing them!

    I’m so sorry for this teacher. None of use deserve to live in a world where people think that violence is the proper response to displeasure.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. In my opinion, the important part of your comment follows the “Furthermore”.

      The Autism is irrelevant here.

      What’s really sad though, is that a lot of people are insisting that the kids–any kids–should be permitted to say whatever they want into the microphone, because they’re only 6 and “what harm could it do”. Unfortunately for the rest of us who are still sane, they don’t go into detail about what age kids should start following the rules or explain their arbitrary cut off that exempts 6 year olds from them.

      Liked by 6 people

  25. . I just watched the you tube video. And as a parent of a child with Asperger’s I can relate to the parents frustration. But this video is ridiculous. The teacher was obviously removing the mic before the little boy even got there and did absolutely nothing wrong. Autistic children over react and have small emotional outbursts frequently. I’m sure he was fine 5 minutes later. The mother making an issue of this incident is not helping her child to cope with inappropriate behaviors. So annoying!

    Liked by 4 people

  26. I have supported you from the beginning and sent you an email to show my support when all this happened. I pray that you and your family can have a peaceful and pleasant holiday. There are many that do support you so hang in there and keep doing a great job teaching!
    I don’t know you but I have said a 100 prayers for you.

    Liked by 5 people

  27. What a great letter, very fair.

    I have been following this situation from here in the UK because, once something is on the internet, the world can see it.

    What has appalled me about this is that a parent was upset and their first thought was to express this on social media – trial by social media I call it.

    Wouldn’t any responsible, concerned parent – any responsible, mature adult – initially go to the school with their concerns rather than rallying the troops on social media? I know I would and I have a severely disabled (physically and mentally) child. What I would not do is what these parents did. One has to wonder at the level of THEIR education!

    What we have now is supposed grown-ups (and presumably parents) setting an example that, if something goes wrong or something happens that you don’t like, you head to social media. You send death threats, insults, you behave like the kind of person you DO NOT want your child to become. What kind of logic is that?

    I’m stunned at some of the vitriol I’ve seen online about this teacher, who made a mistake. All humans do it.

    Have these parents come out at all condemning all of the insults and threats towards a person who they didn’t mind their child being taught by until this one incident? Have they asked people to stop, said enough is enough? No, they have started petitions for a woman (a mother perhaps?) to lose her livelihood and ability to feed her family, rather than going through the proper official channels to air their grievances.

    Their son now has more attention than they could ever have imagined, and not in a good way. The cause of disabled children has been put back yet again by selfish parents seeking a click or two, some validation on social media.

    I shake my head and wonder at adults behaving like the children they purport to be protecting.

    Liked by 7 people

  28. I have grown very skeptical of anything posted on Facebook until I can research the content more thoroughly for the simple fact that most people only post a small part, usually the bad part, but not the whole story. People twist the words around to suit their needs and desires. I always assume that the whole story has not been presented to us and that there is usually more, a lot more, that we don’t know about the situation. As a society and as individuals we need to learn to look for the whole story and not simply a snippet. As a society and as individuals we need to learn to show (or post) the whole story and not just a snippet. As a society and as individuals we should reserve judgement until we have all the facts and not just a snippet.

    Liked by 4 people

  29. Thank you for taking the time to write this blog. Having read the comments (along with watching the entire video) from those who were there I think it is all very clear, a big misunderstanding and blown way out of proportion.

    I hope the school district and administration backs this educator!
    Having been a music teacher myself and having done several programs I likely would have done the same thing in this situation.

    Maybe next time his parents will sign his permission slip, get him to rehearsals and be a little more involved in his education!

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Well, Caleb’s mommy just shut down her Facebook. Too many people were posting the truth and she couldn’t let the world find out she’s manipulating the situation.

    Plenty parents with children at that school and school teachers were posting things that were making Caleb’s mom look bad. In case you missed it, here it is:

    -Someone posted the play program and Caleb wasn’t on the list of participants and there was no turkey part in the play

    -Two teachers and a bunch of parents confirmed Caleb had no part because his parents didn’t sign the permission slip and didn’t bring him to rehearsals, instead showed up with Caleb 30 minutes before the play and demanded he have a part.

    -Someone said the parents tried to do this before to another teacher but it didn’t work so this time they took to social media to ensure results

    -Mom and dad gave their home adress so people can send Caleb Christmas gifts and gift cards and are happily accepting all the things good people who believed the lie are sending

    -Mom’s FB group “Team Gobble Gobble” is banning anyone who dares tell the truth(with proof even) or who dares suggest this is getting out of control and the teacher doesn’t deserve the death threats

    -Mom posted the school info and allowed a follower to post the teacher’s personal info which I find despicable.

    I have sympathy for this mother who obviously deals with some difficult things but I cannot have sympathy for this situation. She just ruined a person’s life and the school is on lockdown, constantly fighting death threats. She is even endangering her child, having posted where he lives, where he goes to school, what he looks like, that he has a disablilty that makes him more vulnerable than other children. The whole thing is completely insane.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Even before I read all these facts surrounding this situation, I couldn’t help but get the feeling that this video and situation were being used in an opportunistic or sensationalist way, and for me, doing research and becoming aware of these facts makes it seem even more likely.

      Let’s face it, when these stories of someone being “bullied” or “victimized” go viral on social media, we all know that copious amounts of media attention and free gifts tend to follow. Is it possible the parents took to social media about this because of a genuine concern for their child, or in an attempt to gain their 15 minutes and stacks of gift cards? Just sayin’.

      In my opinion, good parents, especially ones who have children with special needs, plan situations involving their children very carefully so that the situations work out in the best possible way for their children, with the least possible chance of things going wrong. For example, NOT failing to return a permission slip so their child receives lines for a play in advance, NOT failing to attend rehearsals so their child gets opportunities to practice, and NOT insisting at the last minute that their child be given a part in a play leading to the child, and the people organizing the play, being thrown into an unnecessarily unpredictable situation.

      From the way the facts are lining up, I do believe Caleb is a victim here. I believe he’s a victim of his parents, and not this poor teacher who is now having an awful time of it because of the irresponsible actions of others. What a shame!

      I hope this teacher stays strong and realizes that this, too, shall pass. I also hope she knows that many people — who are capable of using logic and who are willing to do a bit of research — sympathize with her.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Great post, Tis Moi! I couldn’t agree more with your points.

        It really bothers me that these parents are passing around memes, setting up Facebook groups, etc., yet they don’t think it’s important to tell the full story. They claim to be concerned about their son being damaged by this, but have no concern about seriously damaging the life of this teacher. They should be ashamed of themselves.

        They are sharing an image with a Turkey that says #TeamCaleb and #MakeItRightforCaleb. What a joke. What are we supposed to be “making right” for him? Reports from people there have said Caleb was fine two minutes later. I seriously doubt this incident damaged him in any way. To me these parents’ actions clearly translate to “give us attention and/or donations/free stuff.” I can’t believe more people can’t see through it.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Rachel, I am actually surprised a GoFundMe has not been set up! That is typically the first thing done these days after these stories come out.

        “Cards and stuff,” ha ha. That is a good one.

        I have a problem with this current mentality that every time something goes wrong for someone and it’s posted on the internet, we’re supposed to flood them with gifts and cash donations. In some cases I think it’s a positive thing, but now you see it for every little thing and it’s gone way overboard.

        I think some of these stories that come out are genuine and some are clearly people looking for handouts and their 15 minutes of fame. A few years ago there was a story about an older lady bus monitor who was being really viciously bullied and demoralized by kids on the bus, and it was really painful to watch. Now that got my sympathy. That was an example of actual bullying whereas this is not.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. I knew the boys mother already had a problem with this teacher. She made snide comments about her, that led me to believe differently. My friends said, you have a special needs son, defend the child, and I stated the above and I also noticed that the boy was walking around, interrupting others and didn’t have anything to do, because he wasn’t prepared or entertained properly. That mother should have gotten up there to settle him down, or his special Ed teacher should have helped ease his anxieties.
      I hope this teacher can return to her job, and her life will continue to be positive. I felt so bad, but this is how the media likes to portray others. I believe in Karma!
      Happy Thanksgiving to you all….

      Liked by 1 person

    3. No she hasn’t. And her husband has a FB page too.

      Here is a link to her FB

      Does anybody has a full video?

      She, Riddle, probably presented that little bit of video to her convinience which it doesn’t show how the little boy was speaking throughout the program.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. She reopened it then, after “cleaning” all the comments that told the truth. She also changed the profile picture, put everything on private and disabled comments. Interesting behaviour of someone who has nothing to hide and who had no privacy settings and had no problem with comments until things didn’t go her way anymore.

        Like

  31. If Mrs. Lindsay was not Caleb’s teacher, then she likely never saw his IEP or accommodations because she didn’t have “an educational need to know.” When I watched the video, I felt using the word “snatched” was a misrepresentation of what happened. I am curious whether the school even allows videoing. At my school, parents are told that they CANNOT video performances due to privacy issues for the safety of all students. This kind of bashing crowd mentality is what drives great teachers out of education or makes them hesitant to do the many things we do that are above and beyond our actual jobs. This poor teacher will never be the same.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. At my school district I work at, students parents have to sign a “video” policy otherwise no photos or pictures allowed. Also, there is a legal stipulation surrounding defamation of teachers and staff by parents and families on Facebook. Only if every district were like that

        Liked by 1 person

      2. At my school you have to get everyone’s permission to post anything on social media and let’s face it that’s pretty impossible. At this point the parents are setting themselves up for a lot of lawsuits.

        Like

  32. I am a mother of three. While I have had my complaints with the public school system and even with a teacher here and there, I can’t help but feel that the comments that I’ve read concerning this teacher are waaaay overboard. Especially when the people making them are basing their opinions on a few seconds of observance. These people are calling this teacher horrible names, are demonstrating a level a hatred they would never dare show in person and are acting as if this teacher had beaten this child. As you say in this article, there could very well have been extenuating circumstances. And now, based on some of the comments here, we are learning that the little boy was never given ANY lines, yet made them during the performance, was never brought to practice and was never even permitted to be in the play, we can all see that this teacher had been extremely patient with him after all! And with his mother! Her expectations were very.. selfish, it seems to me. How can she expect that her son be put into a play that every other child had been preparing for over many weeks time? Especially if he is a child who needs extra support in order to behave properly? She, of all people, should understand that her child needs extra attention and preparation time to do well in such a situation. Instead, she thought she could just take advantage of the sympathies and discomfort of this teacher and the school in general and demand that her child be included at the last minute. OF COURSE there would be problems!

    While it is to be expected that children make mistakes during a production, I have no doubt that anyone who puts together a production wants it to go well. Laughter from the audience at the wrong times is embarrassing. And it looks as if the teacher who designed the show is at fault. It could very well be that this teacher got upset by this child’s behavior in that moment- perhaps even at the mother. Perhaps she felt that the show was less than it could have been because of the careless and demanding mother who never bothered to show up for practice! How wrong is it to demand to have your autistic child be part of a show if you didn’t bother practicing??? It just shows a certain entitlement attitude and it was wrecking her play (and who could she tell?) She had to take the full blame of the mother’s actions. And all along, it was the teacher (s) who were being nice and patient all along!

    And now, with a few seconds of video and a mother who didn’t tell the full truth, this teacher is skewered for good. SHAME on that mother. Having a disabled child doesn’t give you any entitlement from the school. In fact, it gives you extra responsibility for your child. YOU make sure your child is prepared for these things by making sure your child has what he/she needs beforehand. I would. I wouldn’t allow my child to be in such a position to be laughed at like that. I would do my best to make sure they were as prepared as they could be. If people laughed then, I would get angry- it would be no fault of theirs or mine or the school’s. It would just be cruelty on the part of others. But that isn’t the case here.

    In any case, thanks for this article. Shame on people for such quick and overly harsh judgements.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Sadly, this incident would not have occurred if the teachers/school had enforced a sensible rule of “no permission slip/no rehearsals/no performing that night”!!

    Secondly, if something happens with a child at school, schedule a conference, and discuss it with the administration in a proper way–do not post on Facebook. Ever.

    Liked by 3 people

  34. Bless this woman in such a noble profession. Its sick that the world can determine who a person is these day’s in a 10 second clip. This was a very well written article and bless the people who were there and willing to give their full view of the story. This much destruction and prejudgment on a teacher on a few seconds of her life is disturbing and sad. She may just be that one teacher that can reach and teach so many others and one your child may need, there is always that one for every student if we are lucky. I feel so bad for her being put under the scoop for this.

    Liked by 2 people

  35. I feel sorry for the child but wonder exactly what made the teacher stop so abruptly…I think there is more to the story…and that the teacher was the scapegoat for an administrative decision…and don’t think that the board or superintendent would not lie…it happens Nd the teachers and kids pay…

    Like

  36. I have looked for the 12 minutes video. It has been removed from the internet stating it is “not available” at this time. However, the 33 second clip lingers on Face Book. Once again, garbage that is posted to the internet should ALWAYS be in question. I too, like many, thought this teacher a scoundrel until I came across this letter by Carrie Rowan. I am now questioning if in fact the teacher may have been attempting to reign in a performance that had gotten out of hand. And now, she is being villianized by thousands.

    Liked by 2 people

  37. I watched the video, again, for like the 10th time.
    Caleb is NOT dressed as a turkey. He is dressed like the other children with the tan collar and a headdress of feathers. He is wearing his collar on his head.

    His mother claims he was the turkey in the play? Let’s not let the truth get in the way of a lot of drama!!! She sure has stirred the pot!

    Liked by 4 people

  38. I have argued with people until I was blue in the face. I knew when I first saw the edited version that something fishy was going on. I, being a special education teacher myself, specifically one that works with students with behavior disorders (Autism, Emotional Disturbance, ADHD, etc), knew there had to be a reason she had to get to that mic before he did. Whether people want to believe it or not…6 year old know cuss words. Truth be told, 3 and 4 year olds know cuss words and everyone knows after speaking on a microphone that what you say into it sounds louder. I will tell you, I have had to snatch a few things out of reach in my day. Just this Friday, I ran to the round table where the new Chromebook was because one of my students who has Autism was very upset that he had not earned his reward. He is 13 and becomes very violent. He actually picked the round tabled up on one end and flipped it. I had to remove all of my other students from the room and get principal and cop there. To me that is a normal day. I have to be prepared for the unknown. I have to be ready to run, catch, or snatch, etc.

    I watched the 12 minute video and here is a list of things I noticed in the video.

    *The play was longer than 12 minutes but the video started after the play began
    *Caleb was doing a good job of doing what he was supposed to be doing
    *Caleb was doing a good job of being where he was supposed to be
    *Caleb is on a wing of the stage
    *The singing ends, two boys immediately walk to the stairs to head to mic
    *At the 12 minute mark, Caleb looks at his parents
    *The camera nods up and down as if someone is motioning yes
    *Caleb hesitates, then runs to main stage and gets behind kids in line

    Here is what was on mom’s page too
    *Her confession that she taught Caleb “Gobble Gobble” and that is was not a line in the play
    *That 12 minute video

    Dad is Kent something…he’s the one that edited the video and sent it out

    It’s hard being a teacher. Mrs. Lindsey is in all of us and she could be any one of us.

    God bless you, Mrs. Lindsey and I hope you sue the crap out of the parents, outlets that allowed your address to be passed around and talk shows that defamed your character!

    Liked by 2 people

  39. Hi, could you please delete the one image you posted that includes the word ‘naked’ in it? I am trying to link to your article but my comments are consistently being rejected by other sites due to that ‘naked’ comment. It’s not passing their moderation filter, believe it or not! lol. I really want to share this article, but that one example of rude behavior is ‘too’ rude for other site’s filters!

    Like

  40. I have autism. I can totally see myself as the “Caleb” in this story when I was in first grade.

    If I had repeatedly gone to the mic out of turn (when I didn’t have a speaking part), and the teacher had taken it away before I could do it one more time at the end of the play … I definitely would have burst out crying in frustration.

    But you know who would be in trouble? Not the teacher — me! I would have been sent to bed without supper and grounded for two weeks for repeatedly speaking out of turn and for crying when the teacher finally put a stop to it.

    The difference is, when I was in first grade, Asperger’s/high-functioning autism weren’t a thing. I wasn’t considered “special needs” — just a bratty kid with poor impulse control. I’m glad we are more enlightened today — I wonder how my life would have turned out if I’d had an Asperger’s diagnosis to explain me back then — but autistic or not, kids need to have consequences. Caleb was allowed to get away with a lot: to be in the play without a permission slip, and without having practiced, and to get a pass on his misbehavior onstage before “the incident.”

    I’m curious about the permission slip thing. Did mom just show up with him on the day of the play and demand he be put in it? Or was it a case of her forgetting/losing the slip and asking nicely to be accommodated? (“Mrs. Lindsey, I’m so sorry I misplaced Caleb’s permission slip and then forgot about it. I realize the play is tomorrow/this afternoon, but is there any way you can fit him in somewhere? He’s heartbroken about missing out, and I hate to punish him because I messed up. Please?”)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. From what I gathered from people who were actually there, the mom not only didn’t sign the permission slip but she didn’t bring the kid to rehearsals either and (I am not entirely sure of this but a parent of a kid at that school said) they brought him in a Scooby Doo costume. They showed up with Caleb(per multiple accounts) 30 minutes before the play was about to start. Based on how the mother behaves now, I am willing to bet she pitched a fit about her son “not being included” and “being discriminated against” for having special needs.

      Liked by 2 people

  41. I’m curious. Among all these comments of, “We don’t know the full story,” I see a lot of people vilifying Caleb’s parents for not sending him to rehearsals without even asking if there may have been a reason he was not able to attend. What is the difference between this string of comments and people who were upset over the video (whether the entire video or the clip)?

    Besides that, this post is written in a very disturbing tone. Having experience assisting both high-functioning and low-functioning special needs kids both in schools and in my family, even living with them, I get that it can be frustrating; but Caleb is only talked about as burdensome to his teachers, peers, and parents, here. The language used does everything to address him as a problem rather than a child, or a human of any age, really. I understand you’re trying to garner sympathy for the educator in question, but if you have to do that at the student’s expense, perhaps it isn’t that deserved.

    As I said before, no one knows why he was not able to attend to rehearsals, or why his parents were not able to get him to and from rehearsals. Whatever the case, it does not justify being disrespectful to a student. The teacher not knowing what would come out of his mouth next is a lousy excuse, as are the others given; he didn’t suddenly get autism at the end of the play. These concerns would have always been present, but he was allowed to participate anyway.

    The issue is not even that she stopped the production, cute as it was. The issue is that she did so in a way that was dehumanizing. She did not stop to explain to him that she was ending the show. She did not ask him what he was going to say. She even could have given him lines right then to end the play, “Say, ‘thank you for coming,'” or, “Say, ‘gobble gobble!'” You know, anything to treat him like a human being. She saw that he had queued up to speak, but took the microphone and turned away as if he wasn’t even there. She doesn’t even look at him. Decent people don’t treat anyone that way and I thought it was common knowledge, at least among those who worked with them, that it can be particularly damaging for children.

    Like

    1. Maybe he couldn’t make the rehearsals but as a parent you don’t give your child a line in the show. And as a parent whether with special needs or not why would you want to put your child through something like a play that they don’t know what to do. If this was wanting him to be like other kids than you don’t put your child in the spot light with out knowing what to do. You wouldn’t let him go to school without doing homework, or take a test without practicing so why would you put him on a stage without practicing. This was all about the parents spot light. This is a look at me moment for the parents. And to receive gifts and to encourage others to send insulting messages to the teaches is just down right evil, not very Christ like. Another thing they are not teaching their child….to be Christ like!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. “The issue is not even that she stopped the production” She didn’t. The production was over. The last line of the script had been said. Caleb’s mom wanted to add to the script, so she taught her own version to Caleb. Unfortunately for her, the play was not a crowd-sourced production, so her additional scripting was cut off, as it should have been (unless you think that they should have just left the mic live for an open mic comedy jam/talent show).

      Like

    3. Dehumanizing? Are you nuts? Kids- even special needs kids- need to learn that no means no and when something is finished there is no negotiation. I say this as a mom of special needs kids. Children MUST have boundaries.

      Like

  42. I guarantee you he ain’t thought anything about it….his parents are playing the part! Dad has even gone so far as to putting up pictures of when Caleb was born and family portraits of them together. Honey, they are milking this for what it’s worth. Even have given their address so people can send gifts and stuff. It’s gonna be a great Christmas after all!

    Liked by 2 people

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