Ok, I need to take a stand on something important here. There is a teacher in Nutter Fort, West Virginia who supposedly ‘snatched’ a microphone from an autistic boy in a heartless and horrible manner just as he was about to say, ‘Gobble, Gobble’. The boy begins to shout, “Oh no! Oh no!” and his mother begins to bawl on camera. She puts this on social media and says, ” all he wanted to say was ‘gobble gobble!” and ignites a firestorm of anger, disgust, name calling, death threats, petitions to fire Ms. Lindsey, and wishes for every horrible kind of sexual assault on her person I have ever seen. Unfortunately, Caleb’s mother lied (or, shall we say, she was extremely disingenuous?) and has now ruined the life of the poor teacher, Mrs. Lindsey. And now, it’s time to reach out to that poor teacher and try to make it a little better for her.
I have seen my own readers posting this video, along with similar kinds of vehemence and vigilante style statements on them. That’s how it came to my attention, in fact.
Well. I decided to look into this by reading the full article, reading the comments (wow) and watching the video. Something just seemed… off. Such hatred with so little information! I guess I just wanted to know why Mrs. Lindsey pulled that mic. But no one else seemed similarly interested! Just the rush to judgement! Andsuch judgement I had never seen before. I’ve not seen that kind of hatred since I wrote my Sandy Hook article. But then, it was being directed at me. So, I kinda know how this teacher is feeling right now. I just wanted to know if she deserved this incredible hatred. I somehow doubted anyone deserved it.
And, wha-lah, the facts do come out. It appears that Caleb’s mother insisted that her son be put into the show on the very day of the show. She never filled out a permission slip and had never taken Caleb to a single practice. (I’ve noted that some parents of disabled children are so defensive of their children that they actually feel entitled to special privileges. And yet, they also claim they don’t want their children to be treated any differently than other children.) Has this mother given the school grief over her son before? In any case, the teacher agreed to allow Caleb to participate so that he wouldn’t feel left out because she was nice, but apparently agreed on the condition that Caleb would have no speaking lines. Remember, this is because he was entered at the last minute and didn’t even know the play- not because he was autistic or because the teacher was mean. It was a way to allow the child to participate without much disruption to the play.
That means that Caleb didn’t have a line that said, ‘Gobble, gobble!’ which means that mom must have made it up and told him he could say it. If so, it would mean that mom had no respect for the play, the other kids , the teacher or the school, for that matter. She just thought that it would be cute for her kid to say, ‘Gobble, gobble’ at the end of the play. May I ask you, who does that? Who just makes up a part for their kid in a school play and doesn’t bother telling the director of the play what their kid plans on doing?? Especially after they just agreed that their kid wouldn’t speak?
During the show, it became clear that mom did nothing to ensure that Caleb understood this. If you watch the full video of the show, you can see that Caleb actually broke this rule and spoke several times when he wasn’t supposed to. And he aimlessly walks around on the stage because he doesn’t know what to do- of course! And I would say that it had nothing to do with having autism- it was due to never going to practice and having no clue what the play was even about. Whose fault is that? Mom’s.
At the times when Caleb makes these understandable mistakes, people in the audience and kids laugh at Caleb- some of it seems unkind. You can even hear Caleb’s mother bemoaning the laughter and some of Caleb’s actions. Well, the mother states that the teacher ‘snatched’ the microphone ‘before he could say ‘gobble, gobble’, but that is completely disingenuous, isn’t it? The teacher had no idea what he was doing or what he was going to say considering that he no speaking parts. She didn’t have a crystal ball to know that this was ‘all’ he wanted. Also, were other kids allowed to continue speaking into the mic after the play was over? Does autism mean that you can do whatever you like, no matter what? Does a teacher setting limits for an autistic child equal cruelty just because that child cries and the mother goes into hysterics? I don’t think so. The teacher could very well have been trying to prevent more laughter at Caleb’s expense. In fact, I believe she was doing her best to end the play in the least embarrassing way for Caleb and everyone else as possible.
Since all of this has gone down, other parents and teachers from Nutter Fort have come forward with the truth of the situation. Almost none of it is getting through the noise of the mob, though. So I wanted to print it here, for the sake of this poor teacher, Mrs. Lindsey. The best source for this information has been another blog article, ‘Dear Mrs. Lindsey’, from the WordPress blog, Open Letters. This blog has attracted the comments of parents and teachers who actually attended that play and who know the teacher, mother and Caleb. According to people who know the situation, Caleb’s parents are now welcoming Christmas gifts for Caleb , have set up social media groups who seem bent on attacking Mrs. Lindsey, and have not once asked the public to calm down or stop its outrageous and over the top hatred toward Mrs. Lindsey or the school. In fact, they seem to relish it. Further, Caleb’s mother even allowed one reader to post Mrs. Lindsey’s home telephone number on her Facebook account. This, of course, allows the worst social media sorts to harass her at home- and apparently they have. Mrs. Lindsey has a young daughter who is probably terrified by all this.
According to one teacher who works at the school, Mrs. Lindsey and Caleb have a very special relationship at school- she is one of Caleb’s favorite teachers! She spends extra time with him compared to other teachers- he hugs her and runs to her. She is a favorite for many parents and students. Other parents have said that this mother has acted in this entitled, hysterical manner more than once. The story always has two sides and the other side is all but drowned out by the mass hysteria of hatred. All being fostered and, if not exactly encouraged, certainly not discouraged by Caleb’s parents. All this is wrong and wrong headed and shows an entitlement mentality, a need for attention and a sort of cruelty that I don’t understand.
Once you know the facts, you will be more likely to stop this crazy judging and hate mongering. Please stop it on your facebook pages if you have posted this there. And please start posting the truth. This poor teacher is suffering. So is the school. They are on full lockdown right now due to the death threats this teacher is receiving. Over a thousand children must play indoors due to the death threats from the unreasoned mob on social media.
Christians, of all people, shouldn’t be a part in this mob hatred. Help this teacher and hopefully, she can get her life back. She is a real, living human being and no one deserves this insane treatment. Here is a petition you can sign and leave her a cheerful, supportive comment. You aren’t giving any money or asking for a single thing to be done on her behalf. All you are doing is giving her emotional support. Put yourself in her position for just one moment. Ask yourself if you have ever spoken unkindly or with a lack of patience with your child before. Just imagine a camera in your house! And have that video of you go viral around the world and everyone calling you fat, ugly and wishing for your death, wishing you to be beat up, raped, have your job to be taken from you and thinking you are the most evil person on earth! And worse, they failed to take into consideration the fact that you were protecting your child from something bad! And you had no venue in which to defend yourself. Think of that and please, sign this petition and say something kind to this poor woman. We can’t stop others from ranting but we can do our part by telling Mrs. Lindsey that the entire world has not lost its mind. There are kind people in the world that want to reach out to her. We care enough to send comfort to a stranger. This is what Jesus would want of us. Of that, I am quite sure.
****FINAL COMMENT BY AUTHOR:
Ok, I’m closing comments now. For those who want to say more negative and critical things about Mrs. Lindsey and what she did, all I can say is that it won’t be original or new. Someone has already said it. In fact, many people have already said it. So.. it doesn’t need to be said again. She has been punished- much more than she or anyone needs to be punished for such a minor ‘crime’. For those who continue to wish Ms. Lindsey good things, thank you. I am just too tired to go through the hundreds of messages that are still left. I stayed up until 5 am this morning going through over 900 comments for Mrs. Lindsey’s benefit. I wanted her to wake up this morning to cheerful and comforting comments from rational, sane and loving people. There were far more apologies and beautiful messages than ugly ones and for this, I thank God.
Mrs. Lindsey, if you are reading this, this is my Thanksgiving and Christmas gift to you. Teachers everywhere, this is my gift to you too. I know I write a lot against teacher’s unions. But I want you to know that I respect and love teachers who work hard to teach my children. You are human beings deserving of love and kindness- just plain politeness at the very minimum. I also want you to know that I could never have done this without the help of God, whom I serve. I did not know it would go viral as it has. Only He could have made that happen. I didn’t know that so many people would respond so kindly. Only He could have done that. I also couldn’t have thought to write it without His loving inspiration. So, I can’t say that it is truly my gift when really, it is His gift. Ms. Lindsey, I’ve never met you. The reason I did this was because I saw the ugliest thing- a mob coming after a lone woman. The punishment was so overwhelming for the ‘crime’. I think I am a natural defender of the defenseless. No one can defend themselves against a social media mob. So, I tried- and thank God, literally, people responded.
Here’s what I am praying for: that you forgive this mother and father. That you continue to do your work at the school. That you continue loving this darling boy. That you heal fully in your heart. That you know people understand what has happened now and regret, with all their hearts, that you were so victimized. This is why I stayed up all night, until 5am to get as many positive comments through so that you could wake up to them this Thanksgiving morning. All so that you could heal and therefore, forgive. Forgiveness is the only way to true healing. Only in this way can things go well for everyone. As to the ones who continue posting or continue sending messages, believe me, the word will eventually go out. And it will stop. The Mob will find someone else tomorrow and you will be completely forgotten. Some people are just fixing on you to blame. They are actually frustrated with ‘the system’ and are using you as their punching bag for all the things that have hurt them in the past. Forgive them too. Just turn off social media for a couple weeks and you will feel so much better. If you can discipline yourself and do that, I truly think you will be ok. Believe me, I’ve been exactly where you are right now and understand the psychological trauma of what you are going through. That’s why I know, deep down, that what you really need is this positive affirmation by complete strangers that you are a good person and they see it. We don’t live to please others but once the Mob attacks us so vilely, we need public support to balance it out.
God bless and keep you, Mrs. Lindsey. May he keep his face to shine upon you. Turn to Jesus in your time of need, because surely, I tell you, this is proof that he has not forgotten you! He has been there in your time of need, sweet Lady!
Sincerely, Susan Shannon
aka Short Little Rebel