ADD to WTF
July 2nd, 2018 – A mother in Connecticut isn’t throwing any grand end-of-the-year classroom parties, but she is considering taking legal action against the school. Tera Cooper, whose 13-year-old son attends Plainfield Central Middle School, says she remains frustrated after her son received the “ADD Award” from his social studies teacher.
Cooper’s son has been diagnosed with ADHD, a condition she says the school and the teacher have long known.
“He is on a 504 plan at the school, so she is aware of it. I don’t know if she thought it was funny but it’s not funny. She’s the teacher. It’s supposed to be a safe place,” Cooper told NBC Connecticut.
The 504 plan branched off of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and provides students with accommodations in order to achieve their educational goals. Cooper said she has never met the teacher in question but wants some type of change to be made so no child has to go through this experience again.
“He had tears in his eyes,” she said of her son. “He’s embarrassed because he had to accept it in front of his entire class.”
Her son, Derek, was also awarded the “most improved in social studies” certificate, as well as the “#BermudaTriangle” award. The latter goes to middle schoolers who are “most likely to borrow stuff and it never coming back.” Derek wasn’t the only student to receive the “ADD” award, which features a propeller hat-wearing zombie being lifted up by a balloon.
The center of the award reads: “Most likely to be distracted by … look something shiny!”
Although the principal responded to Cooper’s email immediately, and set up an in-person meeting for the following day, the mother says she still has not received an apology from either the school system or the teacher herself. Initially, Cooper was happy with the school’s response after being told the teacher would be off campus for two days, but she now says no definitive disciplinary decision was relayed.
Plainfield Public Schools Superintendent Kenneth Di Pietro has declined many media outlet’s request for specific comments but did say:
“Our effort to respond immediately and follow up is certainly evidence that we as a district and personally take such matters seriously.”
In the meantime, Cooper says she is considering meeting with a lawyer to weigh her legal options.
“We hope the school will learn that they need to be more sensitive to what students are dealing with and not make fun of them in what is supposed to be a safe environment by the person that is supposed to be the role model setting high standards on how to treat our peers,” she told Newsweek.