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. She did not dehumanize him. When the word “snatch” was used it is now etched in most folks brain and y’all can’t see through that. This is the problem with society right now; we let certain factors get in the way of making better decisions. Mrs. Lindsey mistake was being too nice and bending the rules. His parents are the reason this even happened. If he had a way to get to the show, don’t you think he had a way to get to rehearsal? How hard was it for her to sign a permission slip and even write a note saying “I would love for him to be apart but I do not have reliable transportation.” Something! Also, there is no support staff for students with special needs after school hours. It is against the law to ask them to work without paying them…teachers not so much. There was no stipend for that play. His parents should have helped with him more there; usually that’s what happens when parents want their children with special needs to be apart of extracurricular activities. Kids (any, all) should not be given carte Blanche at any given time. Today, he’s 6 and it’s a microphone but in a few years he will be 18 and it might be a gun. He had 0, zero, zilch, none, lines in that play to speak. Him having Autism and being cute is not a reason to just allow him to say Gobble, Gobble. None of us, including Mrs. Lindsey knew if that was what he was supposed to say and that’s not because of Autism but BECAUSE IT WAS NOT IN THE SCRIPT AND THE PLAY WAS OVER!!!!! He’s throwing a tantrum because he did not get his way…not because it hurt his feelings. I get called mean all the time but I am stern and will always be. I’m there for all of my student; past and present. If people think Mrs. Lindsey is bad for snatching a mic, you should see me snatching up Chromebooks and my book bag (yes, they get mad and try to destroy my personal things) deflecting books (yes they throw things) and taking scissors( just happened last month) from a self-threatening student. Whew!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I just want to say that I’m glad to hear another side to this story. My initial reaction on seeing this was harsh and judgmental. My youngest brother had autism and was laughed at and treated cruelly in school and all of his life. To see something like this was quite painful for me. I’m sorry that I reacted so quickly. It just didn’t occur that perhaps there was more to the story than that short video showed. It should have, but it didn’t. I’m usually more level headed. So to the teacher (Mrs. Lindsay?) I apologize for my initial reaction and to the school I say bravo for investigating further. We all can learn a lesson in moving to judgment. No, it wouldn’t have hurt to let the boy say “gobble”, but it might have helped if his mother had said something to the teacher in advance. Autism does not give license to entitlement.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. 😀 This must be the blog where educators and supporting staff go to make themselves feel better, assign blame and distribute their prevailing wisdom to those in need. The facts speak for themselves. Mrs. Lindsey acted in error. Last week Dr. Mark Manchin, Harrison County Board Superintendent acknowledged the mistake and reprimanded Mrs. Lindsey with Principle Gilbert in tow. He then went about the business of healing, apologizing to the family, community and all other concerned persons. His outreach came in the form of a written statement and video broadcast. It’s absolutely clear to me that what took place was not in keeping with the policies and good traditions of the Harrison County School District. Therefore, corrective action was warranted and carried out by the powers that be. I believe any attempt to rationalize or otherwise minimize what happened with a “Teacher was actually doing her job…mother deserves your scrutiny” approach only undermines the very values that many who commented demonstrated in their writings. I think at some point reasonable people can reach a place that acknowledges the fact this could have been handled better, this incident was totally avoidable and students & families are the #1 priority. Teachers serve their communities and that’s what makes them so special.

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    1. Dear Ronnie,

      Please remember than when you are speaking of the leader of a school, it is spelled “principal.” An easy way to remember this is, the principal is your PAL. You’re welcome.

      And yes, I am hoping to provide a place of solace for a teacher who has been completely terrorized by an irrational and out of control mob. The comments submitted that I have deleted are so beyond what is considered civilized behavior that I fear for our country.

      Blessings.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. I am not a writer nor do I pride myself in doing so. What I am is a father, husband, veteran and a person who has pride in his family and community. Although your corrective advice is appreciated it is neither required or desired for the purposes of my written expression.

        I do not condone or advocate the culture of destructive politics, social media trolls or inflammatory speak of any kind. I get your motives for provided this space and believe them to be pure and well intended. We’re all not going to agree on everything as my post probably indicates. What’s important is how we treat one another and how we share our common values.

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      2. Actually Ronnie, the superintendent has gone public saying the teacher was not to blame. Please check the updated news story before spewing false statements.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. This is the problem with social media. The mom of the autistic child did want special treatment for her child. He didn’t have a line to say at that point. Maybe the teacher was worried that he might say something inappropriate. Now she is vilified for doing her low paying job.

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    2. Maybe it’s just a place where people go to find logic and reason when they see numerous people on social media literally going so far as to wish Mrs. Lindsey be physically harmed and posting her personal information. Or maybe when we see Caleb’s parents encouraging people to send gifts and posting #makeitrightforcaleb images, milking the situation for all it’s worth.

      Sorry, I still can’t find any malice in what this teacher did, no matter how many times I view the video.

      The facts of the situation, as provided by other parents at the school, in the room that night, speak for themselves. These are people who know more about the situation than the thousands of armchair internet commentators who viewed a 10 second video.

      By the way, I am neither an educator nor anyone associated with the school. I am simply someone who went searching for more information about this situation and who arrived at this site.

      Liked by 3 people

    3. This family was accommodated in many ways. Proper ways that night and this child had lines and wandered around and caused laughter because he didn’t attend any practices and did not know what was going on. No one knew but the child and the mom he was supposed to say gobble gobble. I would never give any kid a hot mic not knowing what he was going to say. EVER. I think she did enough for parents who followed none of the requirements for their son to be in the play. Maybe she thought that was enough, I certainly do. I feel bad for the kids who did follow the rules, did go to the practices, and this kid stole the show because his parents are entitled.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. “this incident was totally avoidable” – it was indeed: the parent should have brought her child to the rehearsals or kept her unrehearsed child out of the play.

      Liked by 1 person

    5. Ronnie: Sorry, but I’m NOT an educator by profession. I’m a husband and a dad first, and a retail manager last. So, no, I wouldn’t be one of those who “came here to make myself feel better or assign blame.” What YOU don’t know about the situation speaks volumes. Having been a school crossing guard and a many year Scout leader, I’ve run into these same situations. The principal tried to placate the family and those of little intellect who jumped on the bandwagon to assign blame to the teacher, simply because they failed to due their own investigation into FACTS instead of just browsing the articles and making a snap judgement.

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  3. I taught school for over 30 years and you have my sympathies. It is not fair what happened to you and this posting on facebook will go a long way to help. Unfortunately, we all have stories about radical parents that ruined teaching for us, and your story won’t be the last. You hang in there and have a great Thanksgiving. A quick but true story. My wife was a kindergarten teacher for over 30 years. One rainy afternoon, a parent of a special needs child came in to her classroom, ranting and raving about my wife sending her child home, with out his umbrella. After all the threats and belittlement, my wife was able to explain that he didn’t bring an umbrella with him that day. After more accusations, the umbrella was found in the corner of the bus room, clear on the other side of the school. No apology from the parent, just another statement that my wife should have checked the bus room because she should have known that she, as his mother, would have never have sent him to school, on a rainy day, without an umbrella. Best wishes to you!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. As a teacher of 30+ years, I have worked with children of every exceptionality, including those on the Autism Spectrum. Let me assure the public that we all receive plenty of training in special education issues. Training is not the problem. It is communication. Communication of the parents to the school. Maybe I have been blessed by truly cooperative parents, but I have never run into such an incident. I have worked with students who display similar characteristics as Caleb. Any time there was to be an event, a schedule change, or any other occasion that might cause frustration, I informed the parents. In return, the parents wanted their children to be treated as much like the other children as possible. If they believed an event would be too much for their child, they removed them from the situation. Where is Caleb’s mother’s culpability? It looks like she displayed more drama than her 6-year-old. SHE disclosed his disability. SHE made sure no other facts were known. SHE posted a video with the images of other people’s children. Did she have permission from those parents? If Mrs. Lindsay is not this child’s teacher, how is she at fault? I find the responses of the internet world completely over the top. I believe in the adage, “Let no good deed go unpunished”. By being kind and allowing the child to participate, (even though his parents didn’t adhere to the same norms as the others), this woman’s life is on hold. Bottom line is this: the child was allowed far more lenience than allowed the other children. The mean, evil, b!&$% teacher took the mic and spoiled his moment. He was angry and had a little tantrum. Rather than to discuss it with the teacher or principal, Mommy turned immediately to social media. She received exactly the result she has achieved. How wonderful to receive gifts and money for throwing a tantrum! Since this has been such a devastating event, if I were a board member, I would make sure to offer the parents an option of transporting Caleb to another school.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I just want to say I watched the short video of the end and read what the parents said and believed it. Why would parents lie? So while I would never go as far as the nutters calling the school or demanding she be fired, I did quickly judge her to be wrong. Now seeing the other side I realize I was wrong. For that I apologize. I hope Mrs. Linsey can get back to normal and someone properly blasts those parents for painting an improper picture. Failing to mention that they followed no proper procedures for their child to be in the play and insisted he be in it the day of and were accommodated. How they knew to say gobble gobble was the most important thing to him but failed to let the teacher or play staff know. How they just think things run the way they want them because they want them too. I know parents and people like that and it has NOTHING to do with autism.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. The message I just sent the mother
    I wanna start this off by saying your your a disgusting human being for trying to destroy a teachers life probably the only person instilling morals in your child’s life instead of publicly apologizing like you should you’ve chosen to sit by and see how much free stuff you can get form this you want your child to be like everyone else but you feel entitled by just throwing him into a play that he had no idea what to do because you chose as a parent not to take him to the play practice that’s on you not the teacher yet you act outraged by what happened that’s on you from the very beginning you took this as an opportunity to play the victim and now this teacher is getting harassed death threats and publicly shamed while you get symphony and free stuff from people who are just as ignorant as you maybe will all get lucky and someone will send you parenting classes as a Christmas gift because you obviously need them and who knows maybe this message will help you stop being a shitty person who just sits by and destroys someone’s life

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So this disgraceful babble is exceptible because it’s directed at the mother !? But if i were to wright about the disgusting disgrace of what that so called teacher did ( and yes I watches the whole 13 min video) my comment will be deleted! Hypocrites

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      1. You SAV are what’s wrong with the world today. The MOM sucked at being a mom. She was given a permission slip to sign stating the child would be in the play. She received reminders that the school needed to know her intentions with regards to the play because HER child had special needs that needed to be accommodated. MOM failed to communicate with the school and then MOM and DAD failed to bring the child to practices. THEN MOM shows up the day of the play demanding that her autistic child magically be given lines to be in the play. Knowing that a child with the disability Calib has would have difficulty just being thrown into the play, MOM still insisted that he be in the play. The teachers made it possible for this child to participate DESPITE the truly horrible parenting decisions being made. The child wandered aimlessly during the program and even jumped on the mic for UNscripted lines all throughout the play. I don’t fault the teachers for ending the play when the play was supposed to end. For crying out loud, THIS MOTHER STILL thought her child was a TURKEY AFTER seeing her child dressed as an INDIAN on the stage. What would make a parent fail to return permission slips, FAIL to bring their child to practices, FAIL to communicate with the school, FAIL to see their child is dressed as an INDIAN and tell the world he is a turkey, FAIL to go to the teacher and principal with their grievances, FAIL to know it is wrong to blast their child on the internet, FAIL to know it is wrong to blast video of ALL of those children on the internet, I could go on and on. These parents are at fault for creating this situation, not the school. Funny seeing that MOM and dad are now accepting hand outs over this matter. Waiting for the Go Fund Me account.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. I am the mother of a child who is autistic and in a special needs school. If I did not sign a permission slip, I would be hearing about it from the school. Further, I would not put my son in a situation where he never practiced any lines and throw him in at the last minute. He would not be able to cope. So, if this is what the parents did, then the fault lies with them. And the one who suffered was Caleb. The parents would be the guilty party in this if they did not do what they were supposed to.

    I will say it was pretty abrupt for Mrs. Lindsey to just grab the mic. Maybe she could have handled the situation a bit differently, but it was a last minute, quick decision that needed to be made. The parents should have handled any outrage they had in private with the school. Not naming and shaming on social media.

    Lastly, if there are people who believe autistic kids do not get disciplined, think again. My son, for the most part, can be very caring, thoughtful and with what has been described as beautiful manners. He opens up doors for people and pulls chairs out for females. And he is only 8. I am strict and do not give him a free pass due to being autistic. I also do not wrap him up in cotton wool as he needs to learn how to deal with changes in the real world. His school has said we are very supportive and good parents. Yet, my son can switch and become rude, nasty, aggressive and physically violent when aroused. That is the world many of us parents live in. What triggers my son does not trigger another. I do hate it when I see remarks like parents of special needs children are trying to use it for special privileges or some other such nonsense.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well said! I too don’t bubble wrap my boys. They’ll be adults soon (mine are 17&16), and have learned to the world isn’t going to “excuse” them for having Autism. They’re capable of doing anything if given the right tools.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Dear Mrs.Lindsey, sorry for the unkind words and treatment. We all make mistakes. I know it can be stressful putting on a school play with young children. It can become overwhelming with all of the parents there. I understand that the mother was very demanding and should have asked you if it was ok for him to speak. You, probably weren’t thinking of an action plan incase he wanted to speak. You were in the moment perhaps terrified of what he might say. Looking back I know you would have handled things differently. This experience is difficult but it will soon pass. I hope you were able to talk to the young man and smooth things over. Best wishes.

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  9. As a special education teacher, I would say that parents of special needs children need to be educated to know when it’s the time to fight for your child’s rights or when you insist on “rights” and allow the disability to define your child and not allow them to be treated as other children. Allowing the disability to be who they are or use experiences to grow to their individual potential. Don’t be the one to say he/she can’t.

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  10. I am so sorry this happened to you. I am a mom who also has a special needs child and it angered me to see this happen to the teacher, I know everyone was quick to judge and shame on this mom. Our kids need boundaries too and I know how mine gets on an open mic. Please to the teacher, not all parents of special needs are like her and many of us understand and read the whole story but it won’t catch on as hot as you are mean. Hang in there. And no matter what you are not a horrible mean person.

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  11. I feel this whole situation could have been avoided if there was communication between the staff and parents, beforehand.

    I have two on the Spectrum, one is HF and the other is Aspie. With my Aspie son the staff always communicated with me and we always decided together if a play or some other type of group activity was going to be overstimulating enough to trigger unpredictable behavior. If we came to the conclusion, yes, then either he had no speaking part or he had a aide within arms reach to redirect his behavior. I NEVER insisted that my child be included in everything especially if it interrupted the learning process or enjoyment for the other children in his class. I don’t allow my children to be disruptive and they know it. However, I understand our situation is different as there are different “levels” (for lack of a better word) of Autism.

    The fact that Mom didn’t bring Caleb to practice, tells me that she expects the staff to bend over backwards to accomodate her son. I get it. Parents of Autistic or any special needs children don’t want their kids left out. They fight to ensure their child isn’t left out and they have a right to do so. But you have to be willing to work with the staff! If the staff is unwilling to work with you, then you fight harder or find a school with staff willing to do so. There should have been a clear indication on the permission slip that stated that your child needed to attend all practices or they don’t participate. Even if he had practiced with the other children, he would had some idea what was going on AND the teacher could have made adjustments ahead of time (like had another staff member standing by to redirect his behavior or help him get to his spot) in case this type of incident occured.

    As far as the teacher involved goes. Should she have “snatched” the microphone the way she did? Probably not. But I can tell you, there are split second decisions I have made with my kids that probably resulted in tears and meltdowns that probably shouldn’t been done. I’m sure Caleb’s Mom has done the same and gotten the same results. For this teacher to be threatened for a split decision is despicable. Yes, it couldn’t been handled differently, like whispering to him “the play is over now, Caleb, I need the microphone now,” but it could’ve ended the same way, we don’t know.

    This whole thing is just sad. For the boy, who obviously wasn’t all that affected by it in the end and for the teacher who’s split second reaction got her blasted on the internet and news for something that could’ve handled privately.

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  12. Ok here is my thoughts… Even if the mother did not fill out the slip, did not bring him to rehearsals etc. There is a better way to handle this, the teacher could of went up to the stage slowly and stood next to him and let him get his little word in and then grabbed the mic. If this was an ongoing issue, that he kept going up to the mic, then a teacher should of stepped in and handled it. This teacher snatched that mic, regardless of the horrible parenting.. this was handled all wrong!! This is a 1st grade play not Broadway, parents get that it is not going to be perfect that is what makes these plays so great at this age. I am sorry I get where you are coming from and sure the parent was wrong and is now milking everyones hearts to fill her pockets and her home.. but regardless it was handled all wrong by the teacher… there is a way to do it respectfully, the way she handled it was not!

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    1. ” If this was an ongoing issue, that he kept going up to the mic,” – did you miss the part where this was the third time that he had seized the moment to give an unscripted line?

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    1. Stace – how incredibly gracious. I really hope Mrs. Lindsey sees these. I am sure she freely forgives. Major props for being so willing to express humility. Something we all can learn from.

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  13. Thank you.

    You just confirmed what another lady said. Everyone believes things without checking out the facts. He had no lines and wasn’t there at the practices. I am sick and tired of people feeling using their child’s handicaps to get their way. Here is a petition going around in support of Ms. Lindsay:

    http://www.standunited.org/petition/peace-support-and-love-for-mrs-lindsey

    Please sign it if you have any scruples. I have and so have many others.

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  14. Dear Ms. Lindsay, I’m so sorry you are coping with a situation like this. If I were the parent. If I felt like a teacher did something to my child I did not agree with I would have waited til the play was over and explain my point of view, and the teacher can explain his or her point of view and the situation can be settled from there. Best wishes Lindsey! 🙂 I’m also sorry for being unkind.

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  15. It is sad that the parents has caused all of this and 2 people are hurting from it. The teacher and the child! The parents need a mental evaluation just to see if they are capable of raising this child. It’s not the child’s fault! As for the teacher I want to apologize and to let you know I’m deeply sorry for everything that you are going threw! I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers!!!

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  16. Dear Mrs Lindsey,
    My heart goes out to you. I can’t imagine what life is like for you now, but know that the truth is getting out there. Many wishes for a peaceful Thanksgiving.
    ~Dana

    Like

  17. I’m a Music teacher in an Indiana public school system. I have very little patience for this situation which now is very apparent was created 100% by the family/mother.

    With my students, it comes down to this:

    Don’t practice? Don’t perform.

    Simple as that, that’s the rule. That takes any special needs discussion or otherwise out of the question.

    And good GRIEF why would a parent not bring their kid to a single rehearsal and expect their kid to have a SOLO? If a parent told a kid to act out and do something unrehearsed in a program I would be in that parent’s face immediately after the concert.

    This has nothing to do with special needs, people. This is about a parent acting poorly.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. How do we know this article is true. Just cause it was placed here doesn’t mean this is the truth. As a substitute teacher in the K-12 system I hear teachers all the time say very unkind things about students who are special needs because they don’t care or want to understand. Grandfather of Autistic grandchildren.

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  19. This is part of why I decided NOT to be a teacher after going to school for it three years. Parents are ridiculous these days. This one each especially. She obviously did this to get free stuff. When people start thinking stuff matters more than people, society crumbles. Thank you for being a good teacher. I hope the words of encouragement you receive outnumber the negative, knee-jerk reactions you’ve received. Love to you, Mrs. Lindsey.

    Like

  20. I’m sorry Mrs Lindsey! I’m one who said how awful. I am disappointed 😥 in myself that I didn’t check out things further. I don’t understand why you would do this. I ve to be more informed in the future before I comment. I always believe face va l ice and realize people will stop to all lengths; which using your precious child. Sorry doesn’t fix it but Happy 😄 Thanksgiving

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  21. I’m just a nobody, but let me assure you there will be a lawsuit and the family will win. I mean millions were awarded because the coffee was too hot. After a jury of this family’s peers sees that video and sees the autism from the child first hand in court, they will give the family everything they want. And the nail in the coffin will be the small smile/smirk look on the teachers face as she quickly snatches the microphone away. Sorry but you can’t deny that….. As for my personal opinion, the teacher acted with cruel intentions against that child, recorded footage is hard to dispute

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  22. No matter what happened for what reason this teacher should not be getting harassed and threatened. Let’s be angry that people are treating her that way. She did nothing wrong in the legal sense that she created a boundary and the child got upset. Guess what boundaries are healthy for everyone and anyone and this child is probably going to get upset a lot more in his life because that’s life. What is being done to this lady is illegal and not many seem to care that her entire life… not just one moment in a play…,her life..,,is being turned upside down. Put it in perspective.

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  23. I’m so sorry you are experiencing this, and I’m sorry I didn’t speak up when I read the original post! No one should be judged on a few seconds of video! I had a parent just like this. She rescued him from every consequence of his behavior. I wasn’t picking on him. I was trying to help him become someone that functioned successfully in society. Fortunately for me, she only screamed at me in front of my students, and did not take to FaceBook.

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  24. Dear Mrs. Lindsey, no person should have to experience what you have suffered. You’ve dedicated your life to children, and I am sure you have seen both blessings and challenges. Know that you are not alone; God has His arms wrapped around you in the midst of everything. He knows suffering more than we ever could, and He will never leave you. People all over this country are praying for you, for your strength, your peace, and for eyes to be opened to the truth. You are an amazing person with a heart full of love. Never forget that.

    Like

  25. I’ve worked with children of all learning disabilities as a substitute paraprofessional. They sometimes cry because you tell them it’s time to stop playing with their iPad and do some work. They sometimes cry because you touched their pencil while handing it to them. They sometimes cry because Mom isn’t right there to give them a hug. Sometimes this crying escalates into a full blown tantrum with throwing chairs at people.
    My school district has a para one-on-one (or one in the room) with children with special needs like the boy in the Thanksgiving play. They try to include all of them. And, I have seen parents attack those educators because the educator didn’t do things the way the parent wanted. Guess what? The teacher and Para are required to do things the way a “hired professional” tells them they HAVE to. Educators can’t deviate from the recommendations that professional instructs.
    One child I know got suspended for hurting two other children (drawing blood), and the parent retaliated the suspension by calling the media and claiming things about that particular school that weren’t completely factual. For all the times that kid has attempted to hurt others and allowed to stay in school, the suspension was MORE than GENEROUS.
    Mom of the Thanksgiving play, you have a hard job. That teacher has a HARDER job. She’s doing the best she can to accommodate ALL of the children and parents she oversees. Give her a break and stop playing off of her misery for your financial gain.
    To the people threatening the teacher, your comments say WAY MORE about who YOU are than who that teacher is.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Dear Mrs.Lindsey, I never jumped to judgement cause I wasn’t there and know things aren’t always as they seem. GOD knows the truth and your heart and it’s going to be just fine, try hard to ignore the critics and it will work itself out.
    In much prayer for you, Margie !!!

    Like

  27. The teacher was right to stop the child, from further humiliation from the crowd and children. I taugh H.S. for 32 years and had many a parent push their way into their childs’ life and try to condemn mine. I hope the teacher can continue her wonderful commitment to children and get past this awful incident.

    Like

  28. How about the truth for a change…
    This mother is not doing Caleb any favors by publicly humiliating the teacher that gave her son more of her time than any other teacher has done. Who does this mother think she is inserting her unprepared child into a play and giving him lines because she wanted him to have them. This mother needs to be publicly SHUT DOWN and she needs to PUBLICLY apologize to the school, the teacher and to her son!!
    Read the truth:
    https://shortlittlerebel.wordpress.com/2016/11/22/calebs-mother-lied-about-nutter-fort-teacher/comment-page-68/#comment-25970

    Like

  29. Mrs. Lisa,
    Stay positive! You can’t make parents to do the right thing and follow the rules. In the end it’s not about their child….it’s all about them. They want the spot light and will do anything to get it.

    Like

  30. I am so sorry for the predicament that social media has left you in.
    I, as other fell into the lie trap, of a cut and paste video to show only what they wanted people to see. I, along with others, were angry, because my nephew is autistic.
    This mother was absolutely WRONG, spiteful and vindictive. I hope she is prosecuted for everything that has come about due to these false allegations. She USED her son to gain sympathy in the most spiteful way…..social media.

    Like

  31. It strikes you that you aren’t telling the whole story. Teachers who were actually there are making the truth behind this performance known: Your child never attended one rehearsal or practice, and you demanded he be included at the very last minute, agreeing to the stipulation that since he had missed EVERY rehearsal, he would have no lines.

    Shoving an autistic child into a public performance without giving him the chance to practice and gain comfort is, to be honest, not the best thing for him. He did amazing considering that. As did his teacher, allowing him to wander, confused and without any idea what to do, in front of an audience.

    Now, as for the “gobble gobble” line…how was his teacher supposed to be psychic enough to know what he wanted to say. YOU agreed with her he’d have no lines… He’d never attended a practice. How could anyone know what’s in a kid’s mind?

    You did. You agreed for him to have no lines after demanding he be included in a play he had not attended one of several rehearsals for. YOU thought it would be cute for him to say the line, and knew it was coming, AND did not share the fact that you had prompted him to say it with the very teacher you are now vilifying.

    Stop this. Stop doing this to that poor woman who, form all reports of her co workers, has been a wonderful teacher to your child.

    Stop using the failure you designed to get free Christmas gifts.

    Your child is an amazing boy, but it seems you manipulated this from the start, and are now using it in a sort of Munchausen By Proxy on the Spectrum ploy for attention, pity, and outrage aimed at an innocent woman.

    By the way, as the parent of a boy on the spectrum, you should know better than to try and pull heartstrings to get him pity. PITY is the last thing a child on the Spectrum needs. He’s not at a loss…he sees things a different way, and in many ways, he has strengths yet to be tapped into.

    Shame on you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wonderfully said! I feel even worse for the teacher because she has a young daughter who is reportedly absolutely terrified by all this! I can’t say that I blame her.

      Like

  32. I am glad that the truth is coming out. I have friends and family who are teachers, some in the “special needs” area. I would be angry if a parent treated any of them like this. It appears, from several different articles / blogs, that the mother set this up all on her own, and is now profiting by “accepting” gifts and “well wishes” (her own ego is being stroked). She is using her son to get something, and that is wrong for any parent, but especially for a child that “is different” than others. t’s hard enough to be a kid, you don’t need your mother (or father) bringing more stuff down on you, making you more different (all children are unique, so they are all different) than you already are. I wish nothing but the best for Caleb. For his mom, I wish that she pays for her deeds. One article I read called her disingenuous, let’s call it like it is, she flat out lied. And now that the truth is out, she refuses to apologize. While I would hate for Caleb to lose a parent, I feel it may be in his best interest to lose one who is more interested in her own, sick, gain than in her child’s welfare.

    Like

  33. Dear Mrs.lindsey,
    Now to be honest I did not watch thee original video as I do not like anything having to do with children being hurt.but I did see how this story was everywhere,so I knew it was a big deal.After a few days of seeing it on every social media and news coverage did I start to read the comments..and as you know they were horrible.and I’m not going to lie the people and media painted you to be this horrible person as I’m sure your aware.but I still didn’t watch the video nor did I comment..well not until I seen the article speaking the truth about the whole situation and reading the comments of other parents and teachers wrote about you saying just how nice of a person you are.and that’s when I just had to watch the full video and it all made sense then.now I know the damage and torment you have been going through can never be taken back what s done is done.but I’m not one to just sit back and watch someone get abused,let alone get abused because some selfish,entitled,spoiled little attention whore (sorry for the language) lied about you only to reap the benefits she sewd with your pain.I couldn’t just let that happen,and so I stepped up and did something.now I know it’s not anything huge or special but I stayed up all night just reposting the link to every post that #teamgobble or team caleb,I went and messages my local news as well as virgins news anything I could see with those tags or anyone who posted the storie that I could see…again I know it isn’t much but you deserve justice,you deserve to have your name cleared! While amanda riddle well she deserves every bit of ridicule,shame and torment that will go her way.she needs to know what damage she caused you,she deserves to have her true character shown so that she can be knocked down a few pegs….so with that said I hope and wish that some day very soon you can rest easy and be at peace and go back to doing what you do best, and being a great,mother to your child and the children you teach
    Have a wonderful string of holidays. C

    Like

  34. My heart goes out to this teacher.
    Everyday we show up and we do our very best. It always seems their is someone trying to pee in our wheaties. Well I am very Thankful you took the extra time and effort for the rest the students. God Bless You and May Your Heart Heal from All The Hate hurled your way.

    Like

  35. If children on the spectrum were treated normally, there would have been more order in the firstplace. Austin and aspergers have been around prior to their names. Studies show children with special needs develop close to or on par with their peers if they are treated normally. When they are coddled, they become dependant, or worse, truly disabled. The mother needs to stop using her son’s “disability” to further her own agenda and fulfilling her own psychological issues. The teacher could have waited a few seconds to see if the child would do something. He was at the mic for a reason. It’s a children’s play, they are supposed to go wrong and be a total circus. They are perfect in their imperfection. To expect anything less is autocratic.

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  36. I’m quite sure this will stir up the masses once again, but I’d love to see a tally of the political affiliations of the ones sensing death threats and the ones who are more generous in spirit towards this teacher even after hearing the whole story. I’d be willing to make bets in which are the liberals and which are the conservatives.

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  37. I’m quite sure this will stir up the masses once again, but I’d love to see a tally of the political affiliations of the ones sending death threats and the ones who are more generous in spirit towards this teacher even after hearing the whole story. I’d be willing to make bets which are the liberals and which are the conservatives.

    Like

  38. Last year we had a student come to a night program. He had refused to participate during our daytime program at the school, and his mother knew he did not participate and did not know any of the songs, but she brought him and let him come on stage without his medication and carrying a huge stuffed animal. This child, whom we all love very much and understood his disability, stood on the bleachers and jumped up and down the whole time during the program, making horrendous noise to where the audience was unable to hear the other students singing the song. His mother did nothing to stop him, the music teacher tried to get him under control was basically her hands were tied, I was running the sound so I couldn’t physically take him with me, so he was left on stage to make these noises and act up. I now understand why Mrs Lindsey was trying to keep the microphone away from Caleb. I only wish I had not cast judgement without knowing the full story I’m so sorry!! Parents please use better judgement and understand that sometimes your child should not participate in school programs for reason beyond control. It’s not because of anything other than trying to keep your child from embarrassing himself and the other students that have practiced so hard to put on a fabulous show for their teachers and parents. NOTHING MORE.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. There is a lot of she said this and she said that but i think what maybe should have happened is if the boy did not have his permission slip and the mother just showed up that either he be let in and the mother and teacher agree right then what is expected and that both make sure the boy understands it. If they know him well enough and they should they should know how well this would work out and be ready for that. If the teacher wants to follow her rule of no permission slip no play then the mother should be required to explain to her son why it is not happening. Obviously this is the parents fault for not doing what was expected. Most parents would know the child is autistic and not be surprised by what he does and so should his classmates. In the end though what happens happens they are kids. I don’t think the mic should have been grabbed away. It seems to make a bigger scene then letting him speak. I have 2 kids on the spectrum and have ADD myself. One is 20 and one is 13 btdt. Unfortunately social media can make anyone a star. IF the mom was that upset she should have taken it up with teacher and if not happy the principal and so on. You don’t need to go right to social media. The goal might have been to get back at the teacher but she also put her son in the limelight and that is not right. If she was upset about him being embarrassed or hurt by what happened putting it online would only make that worse. That’s not protecting your child. I wasn’t there but it’s possible for a teacher to make a mistake maybe after think i could have handled that better. It happens but social media is where everyone runs today for attention and if it’s true it seems for a pay off. Now the whole school is on lock down according to earlier comments are true and i am sure they are not other kids parents and teachers are at risk. Sorry if i am a bit rambly but i have dealt with a lot of issues with my kids in school. There are good teachers and not so good teachers. Be sure to tell any teacher who is good with your child that they are. Let them know.

    Like

  40. I’m so sorry so many people believe it’s okay to send death threats over this. I’m so sorry that this woman believes her hardships of her son are worth your pain and terror. I truly hope that this can be resolved and that you and your daughter are kept safe. It truly hurts my soul to see this happening. People should not be so quick to judgment as they wouldn’t want that on themselves. I’m so sorry.

    Like

  41. My son, who will be 19 in Feb, is on the Spectrum and also has ADHD. When he was younger we adhered to STRICT structure and rules that lessened as he got older and learned how to make his own way in the world better. Structure is still VERY important for him. He doesn’t deal well with change. He still has the occasional meltdown when he doesn’t get his way. He’s getting better about that though, too.

    We made sure to work WITH the schools so that he could have the right education. He’s in only one special ed class and that’s English. Thanks to our close work with the school and strict adherence at home, he will graduate from high school just one semester behind his age-mates! I couldn’t be prouder!

    If little Caleb’s parents don’t start working WITH the school instead of against it, it’s Caleb that’s going to suffer the consequences!

    Like

  42. I myself am a teacher, and I heard 2 of my best friends (who are also teachers) discussing this.
    Now, in NO way, were either one of them being derogatory towards you as a professional (because that’s wrong, and teachers, as history has proven time and time again, are usually the first to be blamed for a child’s behavior).

    Now, that being said, they ALSO did not immediately pass judgememt on your personal character (because they were raised better). It was simply a statement like, “wow, did you guys see/hear/read about _______________.”

    But my IMMEDIATE reaction to hearing them say that was, “there’s something odd about it tho… I don’t think this is the WHOLE story.”

    I knew this because I casually FB stalked the story back to the source and checked out this lady’s boyfriend, who had shared it. Well, let’s just say that it was very ODD. The WHOLE thing… And once they started really looking into it, they immediately realized it too.

    Long story short; I want you to know, that there ARE educated people out there. And they recognized that this wasn’t the WHOLE story. You WERE NOT this “awful person.” And those people knew… for whatever reason you CHOSE to take the mic; that YOU as a professional, had made the best decision for your students. And society didn’t NEED to know your reason. Because WE, as fellow professionals in eduction… TRUSTED IT. ❤️

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  43. I watched the video, read several blogs and articles and comments from both sides….all in absolute horror. I used to be a teacher. And now I have a child who has autism. My viewpoint is coming from the fact that I am BOTH a mother of a child who has autism AND a former teacher (who resigned with relief to stay home with my children). This whole thing is horrendous- the publicity (shame on you, all you sensationalizing media who are crucifying this poor teacher who cannot even defend herself! Shame on you, all you people who shared this video and spread the hate!) Why is everyone missing the biggest, most obvious point? This video should never have been posted by that mother on her Facebook page. I could go on and on about why.
    As a parent I would never 1. Have entitled expectations for my special needs daughter to get to say whatever she wants to just because she has autism and I want to let her have her own special unscripted moment at the mic. This is just like EVERY OTHER PUBLIC SITUATION EVER in the life of a parent of a child with autism. (Examples: no, my child is not the exception and allowed to grab things at the grocery store and throw them …or scream bloody murder and walk around touching people in a movie theater…or yell and laugh loudly at an orchestra concert…or be on the soccer team just because I want her to even though she can’t really play… Etc) I have three other children. Autism or not, I would never want any of my children to run up to the mic and say an extra unscripted line at the end of a school play just because she/he wants to. That teacher knew the play. She knew the lines. It was over. She didn’t “forget” that there was one more line about gobble gobble. She probably had that play memorized in her sleep. “What would it have hurt?” The mom and others say. I could say the same thing to you in any public situation, but I wouldn’t do that. What would it hurt if I let my daughter do something like that? I wouldn’t dream of it. That mother embarrasses other parents who have children with autism. There is a huge difference here between advocating for a child properly, and publicly ruining a teacher’s life over something that a parent feels entitled to. Advocating would be appropriate if the child wasn’t even allowed to be in the play just because he has special needs. Advocating is educating people about autism and being involved in a child’s school and activities. Advocating is about awareness, disability laws and the right to an education. This is not advocating. This is targeting and deliberate defamation of character with a YouTube video and crocodile tears.

    2. I would never post a video publicly in an effort to garner sympathy and roil up an angry internet mob. This was obviously her purpose. If she had wanted to address the situation in a proper way she would’ve spoken with the school administrators or *gasp* the teacher herself. Why is this acceptable now? Just post it on YouTube for the world to judge.

    3. I would never give an interview (!! For the world to see! The whole world! Mom, get yourself together) and not give all the facts about the whole situation and cry on camera like a blubbering fool – again, entitlement is an underlying issue here.

    4. Allow this entire atrocity to go on for days and days like this without piping up to stop the insanity and set the record straight. I am so angry for this teacher. The mom is struggling emotionally, that is for certain. But this is no way to treat the teachers who love on our children for hours every day.

    Thank God in heaven no one did this with their cell phones to me when I taught and had stressful moments with children at holiday plays with a room full of people watching. My child has had many teachers (she is 12) and most of them are my heroes. The not so fabulous ones still never ever would deserve to be crucified on the internet like this for …for this! For taking a mic at the end of a play.

    My hope is that this teacher has her moment in the spotlight, to speak the truth and set the record straight (if she wants to.) And that all the media and haters would publicly apologize and take down all their slanted articles. And maybe the mom could eat a huge piece of humble pie and apologize, for posting the video in the first place and causing all of this.

    Like

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