LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – End of year ceremonies are happening throughout the country as kids leave campus for summer break.
As awards are passed out for academic achievements over the school year, one family is disheartened by the “award” one first grader received.
Most improved, best conduct, even awesome attitude are a few of the awards typically handed out during commencement ceremonies.
But Hayden Albert didn’t receive any of those.
And what he did get has his family demanding a public apology.
Albert is a first grader at Evangeline Elementary in Lafayette, and now on his way to second grade.
But during his class honors program, Hayden’s teacher, Jessica Bordlee, awarded him the Class Clown and Most Talkative awards, plus a red clown nose.
Hayden’s grandmother Shaneka Hayes, says the class clown award represent his personality. She says her grandson is a good kid with a big imagination, and he loves dinosaurs and transformers.
“But as far as being funny, making people laugh, jokey-jokey, she said that’s why she gave him that award…no no he’s not like that,” said Hayes.
Family members believe Bordlee used poor judgment in naming the awards.
In a Facebook post shared hundreds of times, Hayden’s aunt says class clown should have been Most Funny, and most talkative changed to Future Motivational speaker, perhaps.
Joe Craig with the Lafayette Parish School System is in agreement.
“In a different time clown probably had a different connotation. The meaning of words evolve over time and I just don’t think the connotation with the word clown is appropriate to these days
Craig says honoring the child for being funny is one thing, but the way the class clown award was presented was the main concern to the district.
Craig says, “because we want to celebrate a child’s success and we want them to grow up and be emotionally stable and mature and the way to do that is with positive reinforcement.”
School district officials tell us the teacher made poor judgments and because of the humiliation the child experienced, the district has already received a recommendation for disciplinary action from the principal.
Superintendent Dr. Donald Aguillard will consider the recommendation and “there will absolutely be some level of discipline for the teacher’s conduct.”