The principal of Bailly Preparatory School in Gary is facing removal due to a “verbal conflict” with the mother of an autistic boy who received the school’s “most annoying” award last month.

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

In recent weeks, a national uproar has erupted over the awarding of the “most annoying boy” trophy to a nonverbal autistic child.

Following the May 23 incident, Gary Community School Corp. announced that three teachers would be fired: special education teacher Alexis Anderson-Harper, as well as fifth-grade teachers Bianca Jones and Crystal Beeks. It was later revealed that Royal would also be fired.

Prior interviews with the parents revealed that Anderson-Harper was the child’s teacher, and Jones and Beeks may have assisted in the creation of the award list.

Royal, Anderson-Harper, and Beeks could not be reached for comment. Jones declined to comment via text.

Rick Castejon, the child’s father, confirmed in an interview that his wife Estella confronted Royal the next day at the school’s office.

According to him, his wife was told to make an appointment. He told her that “we don’t have time for this right now.”

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

“Carlita wasn’t going to let her,” he explained.

Rick Castejon stated that she was told that if she went toward the classroom, she would be met by a cop. Estella Castejon angrily placed the trophy on the front desk counter in the school’s office as she left.

“Maybe you’re annoying, but my son isn’t,” she said, according to Rick Castejon.

When Rick went to pick up his son’s report card on Monday, the trophy was still there, he said. He grabbed it and took it home with him.

“I can’t believe these people,” Castejon said to himself. “They don’t give a damn.”

Royal’s contract as an administrator and teacher with Gary Community Schools was terminated, in part, because Royal, as witnessed by other staff, was “inappropriate and unprofessional” toward the boy’s mother, according to documents signed by Deputy Superintendent Nakia Douglas.

They also concluded that she failed to provide a complete account of her interactions with the Castejon family during their investigation, omitting the incident.

“Despite being asked to relay all communications that had occurred between you and the student’s family during the investigation,” the documents state, “you did not disclose this in-person verbal conflict with the mother.” “It is your responsibility as an administrator to cooperate with personnel investigations and to respond truthfully and completely to all questions posed to you.”

“In addition, you have a duty to always maintain professional communications and interactions with parents of your students,” the documents added. “You failed to perform this duty by failing to handle the student’s mother professionally when she came to your office.”

Royal initially told them she did not prescreen the awards, believing it was a practice that predated her at Bailly Prep, according to the documents. According to the documents, if she had seen the list, she would not have approved it.

She later admitted that two teachers had added the “most annoying award” this year.

On June 7, Royal, 35, was placed on paid leave. Her contract was canceled on June 11, pending an appeals process, according to a letter she received on June 11.

According to documents, Anderson-Harper, 42, gave the trophy to the boy and a “female general education student.” The next day, on May 24, she was reprimanded in a memo.

On June 6, she received a letter from the district, signed by Royal, recommending her dismissal.

The Post-Tribune has also requested documents from the district regarding teacher Crystal Beeks, which the district has yet to provide.

Jones, 42, was accused of collaborating with another teacher to create the “most annoying” award as part of a larger student poll.

Jones exhibited “poor professional judgment” and failed in her duty as a teacher to treat children with dignity and respect, according to the June 7 letter signed by Royal.

GlenEva Dunham, president of the Gary Teachers Union, said earlier via text that the union’s lawyer was working to ensure that everyone received due process. In a public meeting, Emergency Manager Pete Morikis also stated that it would be provided.

Both Anderson-Harper and Jones are accused of failing to fulfill their responsibilities as teachers, which they deny. They have five days from the date of each letter to make an appointment with Deputy Superintendent Nakia Douglas for an appeals hearing. They’d have another five days after that meeting to schedule another meeting with Morikis.

According to records, if no one appeals, the decision to fire them stands.

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