Imagine finding out that your child’s school decided to shame them in front of all their classmates because you were sick and your car broke down. That’s exactly what happened to Nicole Garloff and her 6-year-old son, Hunter Cmelo, from the southern Oregon community of Grants Pass
Taking the bus wasn’t an alternative, so Nicloe did the best she could to get her son down the street to Lincoln Elementary School, but he arrived a few minutes late.
Hunter rushed into the school crying, the poor boy knew he would face detention. Nicole felt really bad about all this, but she decided she would go to the school at lunchtime to check on him and lift his spirits if she could.
His mom Nicole decided to visit his school during lunch. What she saw stunned her. Her son was separated from the rest of the students as a punishment being put through what many would agree was a public humiliation.
“Sometimes Hunter isn’t ready, but most often the tardiness is not his fault. Nicole suffers from osteoporosis, which makes it painful and difficult for her to function, especially in the morning.”
Hunter was sitting alone when his mom arrived at the school. She was stunned to find her son separated off from the other children in the school.
The 6-year-old sat with a white partition in front of him, blocking him from seeing or communicating with other kids. There was also a cup with “D” on it in front of him (for detention), whilst Hunter himself sat in tears.
Hunter was publicly humiliated and naturally his mom Nicole was outraged with the school’s treatment of her son. The punishment seemed far too severe.
Her son was rarely ever late to school, and hadn’t been late enough that day to make up any assignments. The mother could hardly believe her eyes, but she wasn’t about to let what happened to her son go unnoticed.
Nicole decided to take a picture of Hunter as he sat in his cubicle of shame. Later she uploaded it to Facebook, where it quickly sparked a fire within the local community.
Hunter’s grandmother shared the pictures on Facebook and the post generated over 75 000 shares:
”This is my grandson, Hunter. He’s a little first grader. His momma’s car sometimes doesn’t like to start right up. Sometimes he’s a couple minutes late to school. Yesterday, he was 1 minute late and this is what his momma discovered they do to punish him! They have done this to him 6 times for something that is out of this baby’s control! They make a mockery of him in front of the other students! The principal is responsible for this. His mom found him there, crying, and took him home for the day. Anyone want to help me flood this lady principal with calls telling her how inappropriate this is?”
It appeared that the school’s policy had bullied Hunter. The school district was flooded with furious calls and the school’s Facebook page was bombarded with bad reviews.
Once the pictures went viral, others in Grants Pass wanted to help. They made it their mission to ensure Hunter was never late to school again – strangers had come together to help them with their car problems.
When Hunter’s mom and dad showed up to pick up their car from the repair shop, they got the surprise of their lives. Nicole and her family turned up at Kelly’s Automotive Service a few days later expecting to be told that their car was beyond fixing. Hunter’s father, Mark Cmelo, expected to receive more bad news about the car.
However it was quite the opposite. The car dealer had joined forces with people in the community to buy them another vehicle and make sure it would be dependable.
Several businesses in Medford, Oregon, and Grants Pass, as well as a local radio host, Bill Meyer, joined forces to chip in. Nicole and her family was then handed the keys to a Chrysler van.
“You see that minivan sitting right there?” asked Lisa McClease-Kelly of Kelly’s Automotive Service.
“That’s yours,” she said, as she handed Marc the keys to a Chrysler minivan.
The family was both shocked and moved. “I’m just blown away to see the community come together like this and see that there’s still good people out there,” said the happy father, Marc.
Hunter’s story changed the way the school handled their detention policies.They designated a supervised classroom so kids wouldn’t be shamed in front of all their schoolmates.
Take a look at the video below for more details on the story:
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