Mother: My daughter with ADHD won “Most Likely To Not Pay Attention” award

Is this an appropriate award for any student? (WAGA TV)

I was just telling my husband American schools would have a lot easier task if they focused on academics and ceased the proms, the sports and the other assorted extracurriculars grafted onto their original mission to teach reading and math. Because those extras sap time and energy and are often the source of parent complaints and student disappointments.

Here’s another one to add to the list of extras that can bring headaches: Award ceremonies, especially those built around so-called fun awards.

I went to an award ceremony this week where a student was recognized for effort, including “raising her hand even when she doesn’t know the answer.” I am not sure when that became admirable.

In the same vein, Fox 5 Atlanta reports that a teen with ADHD received an award at a school program in Rockdale this week for “Most likely to not pay attention.”

I wouldn’t be surprised if this dubious category didn’t originate with students, which is all the more reason to exercise caution. (I am not a fan of student-driven awards as they are a minefield for schools. I have a running list of bad student-created awards I’ve heard about, including “most likely to have four children by the time she is 25.”)

The WAGA-TV story illustrates what can go wrong. (This is a brief excerpt. Go to WAGA to see the full piece and the district’s response.)

A Rockdale County mother is demanding answers after she said her teenager, who is diagnosed with ADHD received a school award for “Most Likely to Not Pay Attention.”

Nicole Edwards said her 14-year-old daughter received the award at a school assembly at Memorial Middle School Tuesday. “I feel like it was very derogatory, I feel like it was humiliating and this was held as an assembly with the school,” said Nicole Edwards. Edwards said when her 8th grader came home with the award, she learned that her daughter was initially voted as “most likely to ask a question that has already been answered” something that she thought was very inappropriate. After seeing “Most likely to not pay attention” written towards the bottom of her daughter’s trophy, she became even angrier.

Reader Comments 0

14 comments
Kathy
Kathy

How were those awards helpful? Teachers need to return to school for more education on how to reach children who are struggling. Insulting kids is not good role modeling of social skills.

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

Well, the memo said "Everybody must receive a trophy."  It didn't specify what the trophy was for.  


This is a "news" story?!?!?!?   My God, how I miss Walter Cronkite.


Years ago, if something happened at school that a parent disagreed with, the parent would meet with the teacher or principal.  Now, the first stop is to Channel 5, and if the school doesn't grovel at their feet, it is onto the lawyers.


ADD/ADHD is the most abused [mis]diagnosis in America.  "My baby can't concentrate!"  Well, give him two of these in the morning and before bedtime - that'll be $500.


I am of the OPINION that the vast majority of ADD/ADHD kids could be "cured" simply by changing their diet and adding exercise to their daily routine.  Case in point, I've been in restaurants and observed parents pouring soft drinks into the kids "sippy cups".  Really?  And you wonder why they are Holy Terrors?


Okay.  Back to the mom in this story.  Sit down.  Shut up. Take the afternoon cola and cheetos afternoon snack away.  And recognize that no one gives a d**n if you are "offended".

bu22
bu22

@Lee_CPA2 Like a lot of teachers and administrators, you are ignorant of ADD/ADHD and other special needs.  Opinions are easy if you know very little about a topic.

Amy Sims Austin
Amy Sims Austin

Here is my take. I'm a therapist. A professional. I may 'think' a lot of things that never leave my head. I'm expected to conduct myself a particular way. Teachers are also professionals. It is not acceptable to provide an 'award' of this nature to someone with a disability, because ADHD is just that. A disability. Would we find it as palatable to provide a profoundly autistic individual with a 'Most Likely to Flap Your Hands" award? I didn't think so........

Beth Grella
Beth Grella

I agree the awards are a ridiculous event and a total time suck. A student's grades should be a private matter and parading (and categorizing) kids in a public fashion, like a school assembly, is at best a poor use of time and at worst, a violation of privacy for both the honored students and those who don't get mentioned and walk away (visibly) empty handed.

AlreadySheared
AlreadySheared

Gotta go with mom on this one.  Certainly with respect to awards given by the school in an assembly, "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all".

Iceman78
Iceman78

If she is like most teenagers i bet she doesn't have any problem paying attention to her cell phone during class.

Harlequin
Harlequin

As someone who still lives with ADD, I was not amused in the least when I read about this. A person with ADD/ADHD has enough problems navigating the school environment without being publicly ridiculed at a school assembly. I would like to think the school administrators were "asleep at the wheel" and didn't actually sanction this. Rockdale County Schools needs to get to the bottom of this and hopefully this "glare of publicity" will provide further motivation. We are talking about basic human decency.

bu22
bu22

@Harlequin I thought it was funny because it was probably true.  But it does demonstrate the ignorance towards special needs that permeates the schools.  One parent whose child was mistreated got the school to schedule a seminar for teachers and their eyes were opened.  It seems clear colleges need to do a better job making new teachers aware of these issues and school districts need to do a better job making existing teachers and administrators aware.

Katrina Bishop
Katrina Bishop

Then we'll have to end school climate ratings and stop using those ratings as part of the "school grade" because those are a big part of assessing how "good" our schools are doing....

Sarah Draper
Sarah Draper

I received the "messy desk" award in fifth grade (in 1989). I have ADHD. And I'm okay. \U0001f602

Sara Beth
Sara Beth

I have a son that would get that award! No big deal! I got "worst driver" as a senior. A girl with a snort laugh got "best laugh" it's all fun.

Amber Nicole Mullis
Amber Nicole Mullis

I mean, these are silly, student voted awards, right. I agree that it is a little uncouth, but why are we freaking out about it.

chaunda
chaunda

If no one knows she has ADHD how could the kids have known it would be offensive?