Mom Posts Photos Of Her Son's Cruel Punishment For Being Tardy, The Town's Response Goes Viral
LifeAspire Staff 1/12/2017
Oregon Mom Nicole Garloff was having car trouble one morning and knew that it was going to make her 6-year-old son late to school. However, she never expected that he would be humiliated in front of his classmates as a result of it.
The family's Dodge Durango wouldn't start that morning. Nicole's son Hunter Cmelo had been tardy a few times before because of vehicle troubles. Nicole is a stay-at-home mom and cares for Hunter's sister Savannah and their cousins in their home. They didn't have the money to make the necessary repairs to the Durango and their backup vehicle wasn't working, either.
Screenshot via ABC News
Nicole told ABC News that because they arrived late to school, Hunter already knew he would have to serve detention during lunch for being tardy to class and was crying. Lincoln Elementary School in Grants Pass, Oregon, however, did more than just serve up food and a detention. They shamed the little boy in front of the entire school.
"[The school has] a policy where every three tardies, you get a detention. Every tardy after that, you get a detention."
Nicole felt bad about the situation, so she decided to pop in during Hunter's lunch break to check on him. But when she walked into the lunch room, she discovered something horrifying. Her son was sobbing because of it.
Hunter had been seated at a lunch table all alone. In front of him was a cardboard partition that blocked him from seeing his fellow classmates and other students. He also had a cup with the letter "D" on it sitting by him, which stood for detention.
Nicole was upset and furious. She took a photo of Hunter crying his eyes out over his treatment as proof of what school officials thought was an acceptable punishment for being tardy. Hunter's grandmother also posted Nicole's photo online and Hunter's mistreatment went viral. Nicole told ABC News that she was astounded at the way her son was being treated.
"My heart just broke becuase he was just sitting there, peeking around the side. I just felt terrible for him."
The entire town of Grants Pass where the family lives was outraged, too. So they took efforts to ensure that Hunter would not be late to school again. Local businesses in Grants Pass, as well as nearby Medford, plus local radio show host Bill Meyer with KMED, pitched in and purchased the family a minivan. Bill told ABC News that after he heard Hunter's story and shared it on air, the situation snowballed.
"Things went nuts. One shop called another shop and another shop and people just started volunteering from the heart."
The local mechanic's shop gave the family free oil changes for a year and others in town who had caught wind of their plight showered the family with things like a gas card and gift cards to local restaurants.
Screenshot via ABC News
Here's a video of the ordeal Hunter endured at such a tender age and the happy ending.
The school took a lot of flack for what it did to Hunter. School officials have since changed their detention policy. Hopefully, no other students will endure the embarrassment that Hunter did, simply for being tardy when his family vehicle broke down.
Source: ABC News, Facebook/LauraHoover