Cassandra Garcia, an 8-year-old student from Tucson, Ariz., became upset after her teacher gave her the "Catastrophe Award" for the "most excuses for not having homework." Garcia was given the "award" despite having a folder full of completed assignments, KGUN-TV reports.
Garcia's mother, Christina Valdez, was outraged by the incident, claiming the teacher humiliated her daughter in public for no reason.
“She said the teachers announced the award in front of the whole class and all the children were laughing at her,” Valdez told the station.
When an angry Valdez reported the incident, she says the school's principal blew her off, saying it was just a joke, according to Fox 4 Kansas City.
But at least one expert told KGUN-TV that this was no joking matter.
"That isn't an award. It doesn't fit the criteria," University of Arizona College of Education psychologist Sheri Bauman told the station, saying a negative award like that is inappropriate -- especially at such a young age. "They feel less than, they feel fearful of authority of what might happen if they make a mistake."
Regardless of whether or not Garcia's homework portfolio was up to par, a recent Australian study actually suggests that spending less time on homework should be celebrated instead of punished. Researchers found that in countries where more time is spent on homework, standardized test scores are actually lower.
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