A West Virginia teacher ruined an autistic boy’s role in a school play when she literally yanked the microphone from him so he couldn’t say his line. The incident caught on video left the 6-year-old child in tears on stage, Daily Mail reports.
The autistic boy’s role in the play was that of a turkey at Nutter For Primary School in Harrison County. Young Caleb Squires was dressed in a costume as he stepped up to the microphone to deliver his line when the teacher suddenly snatched it away from him. The footage was filmed by the boy’s parents, Kent Squires and Amanda Riddle.
A child before Caleb said a line and the teacher was quick to remove the microphone before the autistic boy had a chance to speak his line of “gobble, gobble” in the play. Caleb is seen yelling, “Oh no,” as the mic was torn away. The heartbroken boy was visibly upset, crying on stage before an audience.
It’s unclear why the teacher took the microphone in the manner that she did.
Caleb’s father posted the video on Facebook and it got a visceral reaction from parents and teachers calling the incident “outrageous.”
The child’s father, Kent Squires, shared that Caleb has high functioning autism and has a huge heart. He shared how excited his son was to be a part of this play.
“This is my little boy in his Thanksgiving play. He is the last kid and has level one high functioning autism. He has the biggest heart and [is] always happy. Now watch it and see what a teacher of kids does to him. He has [come] home from school and said he gets to say ‘gobble gobble’ cause he was playing the turkey. I am reaching out to see if something can be done.”
Caleb’s mother, Amanda Riddle, posted a separate video of the boy singing with the other students just before his line in the play was diminished.
Riddle left the play crying as well after watching her autistic son’s special moment be ripped away from him. She expressed her anguish on Facebook after the teacher abruptly took the microphone off the stand on stage.
“I was all excited to go to Caleb’s play everyone did a good job. I left in tears because one teacher grabbed the microphone from Caleb and in a mean way. My son is a little different I know this but his heart is so big and he loves everyone. What does it matter if he wanted to say ‘gobble gobble,’ he was the turkey.”
The family received a lot of support and sympathetic comments on Facebook after the incident. It especially impacted other parents of autistic boys and girls. One woman was “horrified” by the teacher’s actions. Another remarked that other students might think the behavior of the teacher is okay, and many others were in disbelief at what they witnessed on the video. One user emailed the school’s superintendent.
Mark Manchin, Superintendent of Harrison County Schools, revealed that the video is being investigated by the Board of Education. He told WDTV 5 that he thinks what the teacher did was a “mistake” and that “no malice” was behind her intentions. Manchin goes on to say that all of the teachers “truly care” about each of the students and that the play was over by the time Caleb’s turn came to say his line in the play. He further stated that the play had ended when the incident in question occurred. Lastly, the superintendent claims the autistic boy’s “gobble, gobble” line wasn’t a part of the final script.
[Featured Image by Alexey Yazhukov/Shutterstock]