Kids Motherhood

Mom Reminds Internet That Her Son With Autism Will “Not Lose His Sunshine” After Teacher Pulls Mic During Thanksgiving Play

Mom Reminds Internet That Her Son With Autism Will "Not Lose His Sunshine" After Teacher Pulls Mic During Thanksgiving Play
Written by Megan McLemore

Editor’s Note:  Update – since running this opinion piece, other views have surfaced.  Please click here to read another opinion on this topic.


As a mom of boys with autism spectrum disorder, watching the video of little Caleb at his Thanksgiving program on Tuesday, November 15th, being refused the opportunity to participate with his classmates makes my skin crawl.

His parents posted the video on social media and almost immediately, it went viral. His mom, Amanda Riddle, has started a facebook group devoted to Caleb, called #TeamGobbleGobble, which has now been changed to #TeamCaleb.


In this particular video that was posted, you can see a woman grabbing the microphone before Caleb seen dressed as a little turkey has the chance to say his lines that he had practiced. For those of you with autistic children, you know how cruel this was, as Caleb had likely practiced these lines over the course of a few weeks and was not only excited to be included in something so important to the school, but he was probably also very nervous.

Harrison County Schools Superintendent Dr. Mark Manchin has told 5 News: “It’s a mistake that was made. There was no malice. This teacher, as all of our teachers, truly care about these young boys and girls. The program was over, at least as I understand, and the teacher had taken the microphone.”

If you watch the video as a parent I see the teacher purposefully not giving him a turn, regardless of the school’s program or not, Caleb should’ve been able to say “gobble gobble” – how much time could it have possibly taken for him to say those two words that he had been practicing for so long?

I had a chance to talk to Amanda Riddle, Caleb’s mom and she said as his mother she was heartbroken and horrified. She did however say, “nothing will take his sunshine away.”

I think the biggest reason that this upset me so deeply because this is an ever present issue that we have in the school system. We have teachers working with our sweet kiddos who just don’t know how to interact with them correctly. At the very least, some of our teachers are not being trained in how important equal opportunity is for our special needs kids and why it is so important that they are treated the same as much as they possibly can. Simply doing so helps to ensure that our children with special needs feel accepted and a part of the community that they strive so hard to be a part of. By taking the microphone away, the teacher also ripped away that child’s chance to feel as if he had a purpose – one of the biggest reasons we send our children to school in the first place.

(Image via Facebook – Kent Squires)

About the author

Megan McLemore

Megan McLemore is a wife and mother to three amazing children, two of which are on the Autism spectrum. When she’s not busy managing the controlled chaos that surrounds family life, she is either at the gym, relaxing with her sweet husband, or writing about her life experiences. Her family resides in Florida and she is active with the Sidewalk Advocates for Life.


  • Ugh that is heart breaking. You can tell he was so excited to say his lines. Clearly the program wasn’t over. That is so cruel. No matter the intention is crushed his little spirit to not have a chance.

  • When I first saw this video, I couldn’t believe A TEACHER would do something like this! I love your take on the matter and I’m sorry, this was no mistake. I pray Caleb knows he’s supported!

  • This story wasn’t fact checked as usual per media these days.
    This teacher has been harassed and threatened non-stop since the media has taken it upon themselves to witch hunt her. Please at least fact check it before we demand to ruin the life of a professional. And no matter what your opinion, threats are unacceptable.

    Also, let’s remember that moments in time do not tell a whole story. It is all about perspective:

    Lastly, the mother stated she just wanted an apology and extra training and the School Superintendent gave her just that so why are we still doing this?

    • I understand there are some people that have taken this too far, I can’t apologize for those people. I personally have never threatened this teacher nor have I asked that her job be ruined. I talked to the mother, so yes, it has been “fact checked”.

      • Did you also talk to the teacher because if you didn’t, you did absolutely no kind of “fact check.” What you merely did was an “opinion check.” Did you also talk to the parents that were present at the play? Let’s not start calling opinion facts. Dare I remind you what happens when you only so call “fact” check from one source? Sabrina Erdely sound familiar?

        So no, you did NOT fact check. You simply jumped on the bandwagon of hatred unleashed against a kind human being who was being supportive by allowing Caleb to participate and instead the parents took the opportunity to villify a hardworking and innocent teacher. If you have any kind of shame or even an ounce of kindness left in your heart, you would take this article down and publish and apology acknowledging your part in spreading the hatred against a teacher with no other knowledge of the actual incidence. Or you could delete this comment altogether and pretend you didn’t play a part in shaming an innocent human being when IN FACT YOU DID! Just horrible. Horrible unkind people in this world shaming the few good ones left. Truly sad and disgusting.

      • I can see that you feel incredibly passionate about this topic however this is not a place to bully people – as you are doing. Megan’s article is from the point of view of a mother who has a child on the spectrum. My brothers are on the spectrum too and I can say regardless of the background of why this happened it is still heartbreaking.

        Megan sharing her opinion in no way gives you permission to bully her and yell in caps as you have done. This is not the kindness you refer to. How can you expect others to act in kindness if you don’t do so yourself?

        As I said, this clearly has hit a chord for you, so why not submit your own article to this site? One that shows another side? Rather than tear others down, show another side.

      • Are you even being serious right now? Like you wrote that paragraph in all sincerity? I’m not sure why I am even replying to this since you clearly think me using 5 words in caps (out of a 200 or so word paragraph) for emphasis is yelling at someone. THIS IS ME YELLING AT YOU TO GET SOME COMPREHENSION SKILLS. This is me using caps for EMPHASIS since there is no bolds, italics, or even underline to highlight a certain portion of my text to draw more attention to it.

        And while I’m at it, let me also try to explain what bullying is. This is my favorite part. Example of bullying: propagating misinformation (for you in layman’s terms– feeding the fire) by knowingly or unknowingly spreading a vicious lie about a teacher so that more people continue to harass is what bullying is. Calling someone out and pointing out that what she is doing is hurting someone, is well more in line with vigilante behavior (minus the punishment). How ironic.

        What I did was merely call her out on her wrong words and playing a part in making life of another innocent person unbearable. She thinks fact checking is merely checking with one side of the story for their opinions.

        As for it being heartbreaking, you’re right. It is. For the teacher. Who was vilified for allowing an autustic child to be a part of the show for which he never attended a single rehearsal, had no lines in (and yet spoke multiple times out of turn), and the equally idiotic over-entitled parents who thought their special snowflake deserved to have the rules bent for him. Teacher clearly complied and still got nailed for it. And yet somehow, you still sit here somehow thinking it is ok because the background of the story doesn’t matter, only 10 seconds of a video from a parents perspective does. If you’re any kind of a “kind” person yourself, how could you be ok with this?

        Go ahead and berate me all you want, but at the very least have some compassion and at the very least apologize and acknowledge that you were wrong is your first opinion of this teacher. All I’m asking this author to do is find the kindness in her heart to retract this “fact-checked lie” of an article so others like me who are searching for the truth aren’t misled. And that’s how I came across this. And I’m passionate about calling people out when it can destroy a life. Yes, you got that right. Why would I need to write my own post when everything regarding this story and it’s truth has already been published? What kind of logic is that?

        I’m sorry that my calling this author hurt your feelings or maybe this author’s feeling. If my comment hurts your feelings, I think you are in the most appropriate of places to understand how this teacher is feeling right now with a million comments which are actually attacking her personally!

      • Let me dumb it down for you.
        You: You’re a bully. I have reasoning of a 2 year old so that’s the best I can come up with.
        Me: I am actually pointing out how OP is being a bully.
        You: Nananannanananan. Can’t hear you. Your words don’t mean anything. Solidifying the fact that I’m a 2 year old.

      • Also you may want to take some basic writing lessons. You write “I can’t apologize for those people” meaning you are condoning the people that have taken this incidence too far by calling for death and rape threats against the teacher. Since you’re not apologize on their behalf, it means you feel that what they are doing is right. Or perhaps you meant to say “I apologize for these people” which would indicate that you don’t support that kind of behavior and make an apology on behalf of those who think it is ok to do so.

      • You talked to 1 side of a two sided story. That is NOT fact checking. There are countless FACTS you left out because the mother didn’t want them to be known.
        The community, the school, and the school board are supporting the teacher. That alone should tell you there is more to the story.