A teacher who gave a 13-year-old student an ‘ADD award’ at school sparked outrage from the boy’s mother.

Tera Cooper was in shock over the award that a teacher presented to her son Derek, who is diagnosed with ADHD, in front of his seventh grade class.

The certificate titled #ADDAward has the words: ‘Most likely to be distracted by… look something shiny!’ accompanied by a zombie being held up by a balloon and a little gold ribbon that says ‘good work’.


‘He had tears in his eyes. He’s embarrassed because he had to accept it in front of his entire class,’ Ms Cooper said in an interview with NBC Connecticut.

Ms Cooper said Derek had told her that a couple of other students were given the same #ADDAward on Friday.

Derek was also given two other awards from the teacher, one for being the most improved in social studies and another titled ‘#BermudaTriangle’ that says: ‘Most likely to borrow stuff and it never coming back!’

‘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,’ she said.

Ms Cooper said by drawing attention to the incident it will ‘hopefully make change. Make the administration more involved in what teachers are doing and protect the students from having to deal with something like this in the future.’

Principal Scott Gagnon issued a statement on Monday saying he had been made aware of the incident and had met with Derek’s parents

This story made me remember that in grade six my then 12 year old got an award for “most selective hearing” at the end of year celebrations.

 Share your comments below

  • So very inappropriate and to your child too, Tracy Hardy. How do these teachers think that their students will want to go to school if they are singled out in this way. Makes it very hard for the parents.


  • Kids want to fit in, not stand out. I can’t believe this poor child was made to feel humilated in front of his class. Not funny at all.


  • Not very funny, and quite inappropriate.


  • That is just cruel and insensitive. Kids have enough trouble with bullying these days as it is – this IS a form of bullying! What kind of example is the teacher setting for the other students?


  • If that was part of a heap of funny class awards that the kids and teachers came up with to have so fun then I would think it was funny. But as a normal reward that they had no idea about, yeah no!


  • The teacher should be sacked, that is shocking.

    • As a grand parent of a child that has autism I am horrified that a teacher thought this was ok. It’s not ok for any child


  • The certificate and the wording and the image are equally unpleasant. Not a nice way to address issue of distraction in class – seems passive aggressive and hurtful. A better way would be to have a sit down discussion about being distracted with parents, teacher and child and keep rewards for good work, trying hard and achievements.

    • If this was an attempt at humour it is clearly inappropriate for the age group! Children at this age are quite sensitive.


  • A bit similar to my son but luckily he isn’t too bothered by it for now.
    My husband was told Thursday morning that our son was to receive an award the next day so I arranged for his pedia appointment to be rescheduled. But the dreaded phone call from school happened and I had to pick him up from school for apparently “scratching a student badly on the face” and pushing someone else. Then was told that even if it was going to be his last day that Friday, I was advised not to send him to school despite that certificate we were told. But to be honest, I asked a couple of parents and they both said that they didn’t notice a child that had “badly” scratched face..
    Come Friday but there was no mention of his name being awarded a certificate that my daughter could have taken after school. Then the admin became cold when I asked for more information regarding the visiting teacher they had to help them change their teaching strategies for my son.

    My son is a bright and cheerful 5yr old who once reads your name badge will remember you for life was diagnosed with ADHD. From the very beginning, all the school wanted was to have him medicated without considering any therapies in order to help him throughout. Because of his unpredictability, he was home almost everyday after few hours of being in school because he was “unsettled”. The last week of term would have been his 3rd week of not being sent home but sadly all they want is to have him out of their hands….(-_-)


  • Bullying is bullying, no matter how you look at it. I hope the school has a zero tolerance policy, regardless of who the perpetrator is.


  • How sad that in an Australian School a child could be treated like this and humiliated in front of their peers because of their condition ….by a teacher of all people. I’m a teacher and I am appalled by this certificate . I am also a mother of a special needs child .I thought Australian schools were meant to promote inclusion acceptance and teach children to be better people through their example. What happened to duty of care and just being a decent person …. shame shame on this teacher . This teacher needs some better classroom strategies if they are not coping and perhaps seek support from management .

    • I think it was in America as it states that the mother had an interview with NBC Connecticut


  • That is terrible! Utterly disgusting!


  • Definitely inappropriate. No kid should feel outcast, especially surrounded by peers. This can cause bullying


  • What a bad move from the teacher. A teacher should help the class atmosphere, the relationships between students… These awards seems like doing completely the opposite. :-(


  • It’s pretty inappropriate to give any kid an award like that! Let alone one that probably already had a issues fitting in with his peers.


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