What would you do if you learned that your child’s school decided to shame him in front of all the students because you were sick and your car broke down? This is exactly what Nicole Garloff and her 6-year-old son Hunter Cmelo experienced.
Nicole did her best to get her son down the street to Lincoln Elementary School, she made it to the end but a few minutes late. Hunter ran to school scared and crying because he knew he would face detention. Nicole was sad about it all, so she decided to come back at lunchtime to check on her son and cheer him up if she could.
When Nicole came to her son’s lunch break, she couldn’t believe what she had seen in the school cafeteria. Her son was isolated from the rest of the students as punishment, which many would agree was a public humiliation. “Sometimes Hunter is not ready, but more often than not the delay is not his fault. Nicole suffers from osteoporosis, which makes her functioning painful and difficult, especially in the morning.
Hunter was sitting alone when his mother arrived at school. She was stunned to find her son separated from the other children in the school. The 6-year-old was seated with a white partition in front of him, preventing him from seeing or communicating with other children.
There was also a mug with “D” on it in front of him (for detention), while Hunter himself sat in tears. Hunter was publicly humiliated and, understandably, his mother Nicole was outraged at the school’s treatment of her son. The punishment seemed far too harsh. Her son was rarely late for school and hadn’t been late enough that day to catch up on his homework.
The mother could hardly believe her eyes, but she wasn’t going to let what had happened to her son go unnoticed. Nicole decided to take a photo of Hunter as he sat in his cabin of shame. She later uploaded it to Facebook, where it quickly sparked a fire in the local community.
Hunter’s grandmother shared the photos on Facebook and the post garnered over 75,000 shares: “This is my grandson, Hunter. He’s a first year student. Sometimes her mom’s car doesn’t like to start right away. Sometimes he is a few minutes late for school. Yesterday he was 1 minute late and that’s what his mom found out they were doing to punish him! They’ve done this to him 6 times for something beyond this baby’s control! They make fun of him in front of the other students! The principal is responsible for this. His mother found him there, crying, and took him home for the day. Does anyone want to help me flood this principal with calls and tell how inappropriate this is?”
The school district was inundated with angry calls and the school’s Facebook page was bombarded with bad reviews.
After the footage went viral, other people at Grants Pass wanted to help. They made it their mission to make sure Hunter was never late for school again—strangers had gathered to help them with their car troubles.
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 showed up at Kelly’s auto service a few days later, expecting to be told their car was beyond repair.
Hunter’s father, Mark Cmelo, expected more bad news about the car. Yet it was quite the opposite. The car dealership had teamed up with people in the community to buy them another vehicle and make sure it would be reliable. Several businesses in Medford, Oregon and Grants Pass, as well as a local radio host, Bill Meyer, joined forces to participate.
Nicole and her family then received the keys to a Chrysler van. “See that minivan sitting right there?” asked Lisa McClase-Kelly of Kelly’s auto department. “It’s yours,” she said, handing Marc the keys to a Chrysler van. The family was both shocked and moved. “I’m just blown away to see the community come together like this and to see that there are still good people out there,” said proud dad Marc.
Hunter’s story changed the way the school handled its detention policies. They designated a supervised classroom so that the children would not be shamed in front of all their classmates. Watch the video below for more details on the story:
The outcome of this story just warms my heart and I hope the little guy has a much more positive experience with his teachers in the future. God bless him! ❤ If you think more people should be made aware of this nice gesture and that the school has done something wrong, please share this article on Facebook!