The students at Nutter Fort Primary School had been practicing for weeks. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, each child’s parents were invited to the school to watch the performance.
6-Year-Old Caleb came home eagerly from school, telling his family he was going to play the turkey and even have a speaking part, “Gobble, Gobble”. This was a big deal for the high functioning autistic student.
When Tuesday, November 15th finally came, parents gathered at the West Virginia school to watch the class performance. Amanda Riddle & Kent Squires, Caleb’s parents, each ready to take videos of the show.
Riddle & Squires watched as different groups of students said their lines, telling the story of the first Thanksgiving. The class sang songs and Caleb joined in while wearing his costume on stage.
As the show came to a close, the last group of students lined up at the microphone for their speaking parts. The first two students each thanking the parents for coming and telling them “Happy Thanksgiving.”
Then, it was Caleb’s turn. The moment he’d been gushing about for weeks to his parents.
As Caleb approached the microphone, a teacher stands up and grabs the microphone from the stand.
Caleb’s face turns to horror as he says, “Oh no!” loudly. Then, he begins to cry.
Onlookers seemed shocked, not knowing if it was planned or if she would admit her mistake and return the microphone to Caleb. Riddle can be heard saying, “Why would she do that?” into the video they recorded.
Outraged and heartbroken, the parents both posted the videos they took of the incident on Facebook. The community has rallied behind them to show their support for Caleb.
“What does it matter if he wanted to say gobble gobble,” said Riddles. “He was a turkey after all. I’m sick of kids that are not considered ‘normal’ being treated the way they are.”
Squires says, “[Caleb] has the biggest heart and is always happy”, even though he has high functioning autism. Squires was hopeful the school would do something.
Doctor Mark Manchin thinks, “There was no malice.” Manchin is the Superintendent of Harrison County. He believes it was simply a mistake.
“This teacher, as all of our teachers, truly care about these young boys and girls,” said Manchin. Viewers of the video footage, however, disagree.
The mom and son posted a new video with a Thanksgiving message, from Caleb. He finally got to say his line, “Gobble, Gobble.”
Riddle captioned the video intended for all of their supporters saying, “With the biggest thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
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