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Documents: Indiana principal to be fired over 'annoying award' for autistic boy

Meredith Colias-Pete, Post-Tribune on

Published in News & Features

MERRILLVILLE, Ind. -- The principal at Bailly Preparatory in Gary is facing termination over a "verbal conflict" with the mother of an autistic boy given a "most annoying" award at the school last month.

Principal Carlita Royal is also cited for failing to prescreen the fifth grade student poll, with trophies given at an end-of-school ceremony at the Merrillville Golden Corral on May 23, according to documents obtained in a public records request.

The "most annoying boy" trophy given to the nonverbal child with autism has caused a national uproar in recent weeks.

After the May 23 incident, Gary Community School Corp. announced it would seek to fire three teachers: special education teacher Alexis Anderson-Harper and fifth-grade teachers Bianca Jones and Crystal Beeks. It later announced Royal would also be fired.

Prior interviews with the parents indicated that Anderson-Harper was the child's teacher, while Jones and Beeks might have helped to create the awards list.

Royal, Anderson-Harper and Beeks were not immediately available for comment. Via text, Jones declined comment.


In an interview, Rick Castejon, father of the child, Akalis, 11, confirmed his wife Estella confronted Royal at the school's office the next day.

His wife was told to make an appointment, he said. She was told "we don't have time for this right now," he said.

Estella Castejon then demanded to see Anderson-Harper, her son's special education teacher, Rick Castejon added.

"Carlita wouldn't let her," he said.


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