A video of a Nutter Ford, West Virginia, schoolteacher snatching a microphone from an autistic boy at the end of a school play has gone viral.
Amanda Riddle, mother of six-year-old Caleb — who, Inside Edition reports, has mild autism — recorded an encounter with her child’s teacher and her son. The video has garnered hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube, as well as particularly harsh comments condemning the teacher’s behavior.
Now, the story is being questioned because of new information that paints a different picture of what really happened.
In the clip, which was posted to Facebook by Caleb’s father Kent, the boy can be seen standing in line with other students as they say their final lines into a microphone.
When Caleb, the last in line, steps up, the teacher — who’s been identified as “Mrs. Lindsey” in various reports — can be seen taking the microphone and walking away. Caleb then breaks down in tears on stage.
Social media outrage quickly followed:
While there are certainly many outraged by what they’ve seen, now others are saying that there’s more to this situation than meets the eye:
In a Facebook post from Saturday, local resident Krystal Riley shared photos of what she says is the actual program from the Thanksgiving play, writing:
“This is from the Thanksgiving program in question, I see no Turkey, nor a Caleb.
Proof there was no malice in this. Proof the parents are lying. #supportthefort #teamgobblegobble”
Riley hasn’t been the only one to suggest that the teacher was not maliciously preventing young Caleb from speaking:
In an interview with local WDTV, school superintendent Dr. Mark Manchin also explainedwhy there was “no malice” in the teacher’s actions:
“The bottom line is that the program had ended, the teacher was taking the microphone away….
The teacher just took the microphone without really giving much thought to how it would be portrayed or how it would be seen.
And I guess that kind of just reflects on today’s society: everything that we do is under scrutiny.”
Manchin added that, if the school had the opportunity to do it over again, “we all agree we would have done it a little differently.”
In light of this new information, a petition has emerged in support of Mrs. Lindsey, arguing that “an innocent woman has been a victim of harassment, bullying, misrepresentation and defamation of character.”
As of Thursday, that petition had garnered more than 12,000 supporters.
While so many have been quick to judge the situation — and as heartbreaking as it is to see the young boy’s reaction — it seems that the teacher at the center of it all may not be as “nasty” as many believe.