Plainfield Teacher Who Gave Student ‘ADD Award' No Longer at School

A Plainfield teacher who gave a boy who is diagnosed with ADHD a so-called “award” for getting distracted often has left the school, according to school officials.

The boy’s mom, Tera Cooper, spoke with NBC Connecticut in June and said she was confused why the teacher at Plainfield Central School would think it’s funny to give something like this to her 13-year-old son, Derek.

The certificate was titled “#ADDAward” and reads “Most likely to be distracted by … look something shiny!” It has 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,” Cooper said at the time.

While she never met the teacher, Cooper said the school and the teacher knew about Derek’s ADHD.

“He is on a 504 plan at the school, so she is aware of it. 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,” Cooper said in June.

A 504 plan is an educational plan that could include changes in a child's educational program. The plans are for students who would not need special education but qualify under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities.

Derek did receive two other awards from the same teacher, Cooper added. One for being the most improved in social studies and one titled “#BermudaTriangle” that reads, “Most likely to borrow stuff and it never coming back!” The certificates have a picture of a skeleton and a zombie respectively and the same “good work” ribbon.

Cooper said Derek told her that a couple of other students received the ADD “award” too.

Plainfield Public Schools Superintendent Kenneth Di Pietro said in an email Friday that the teacher “decided to pursue employment elsewhere and no longer works for Plainfield Public Schools.”

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