The family of the Oregon first grader, who was forced to eat his lunch by himself and behind a screen for being dropped off one minute late by his parents, have been given a brand new minivan.
Six-year-old Hunter Cmelo’s parents, Nicole Garloff and Mark Cmelo, were presented with the $30,000 gift — a Chrysler minivan — after local businesses learned that the boy was late because their car was old and unreliable.
The picture of the boy being punished by the school, which was taken by his mother and shared on Facebook by his grandmother, attracted widespread attention and succeeded in shaming the school into changing its policy on publicly punishing students in such a way. (Scroll down for the video.)
1. The family of the six-year-old Oregon boy forced to eat his lunch by himself and behind a screen because his parents dropped him off one minute late to school have been gifted a brand new car (pictured). Hunter Cmelo’s parents, Nicole Garloff and Mark Cmelo, were presented with the $30,000 Chrysler minivan.
Though the family’s battered old Dodge Durango had been repaired by a friendly local mechanic, a reposession firm in Medford, Oregon — Rapid Repo and Collections — nevertheless donated the minivan to the Cmelos to make sure the boy would always get to school on time.
McClease Kelly, who organized the generous donation, said:
When I handed dad Mark the key to the minivan, he was speechless and extremely grateful.
A month ago, Hunter’s picture of being “detained” behind a screen spread around the internet like a wildfire, as his parents shared their anger at their son’s treatment.
2. Six-year-old Hunter Cmelo was forced to eat alone behind this cardboard divider after his parents dropped him off late to his elementary school. He was left feeling humiliated, his family said.
Since then, Lincoln Elementary School in Grants Pass, Oregon, has been forced to change its tardiness policy, after the photo of the punishment sparked hundreds of complaints and even death threats.
The image shows the boy, Hunter Cmelo, a first grader at the school, sitting alone and behind a cardboard screen at a cafeteria table. To his right is a plastic cup with a large letter “D” for “detention” written prominently on it.
The boy’s grandmother, Laura Hoover, posted the image on Facebook on Wednesday. In the caption she wrote:
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?
(541) 474-5770 Ms Fitzsimmons
3. The school district said that the system is supposed to give children the chance to catch up on work they have missed by being late — but staff have now agreed to stop using the screen.
The boy’s parents said that they were devastated when they learned what their son was being put through. The boy’s father, Mark Cmelo, told KOIN6:
They are shaming him for something that’s not in his control. It is our fault that he is late.
Hunter’s mother, Nicole Garloff, said that her son’s punishment has left him anxious about going to school and added that a few days ago, he started “flipping out” because they were running late.
Mrs. Garloff said that she has had car troubles and suffers from osteoporosis, which can set her back in the mornings. She explained:
It causes a lot of pain and in the mornings it’s especially hard for me to get going.
4. Hunter is pictured with his mother, Nicole Garloff, who admitted he is often late to school due to car troubles and because she suffers from osteoporosis, which makes it hard for her to get going in the morning.
Hunter is unable to ride the school bus because the family live within a mile of the school. However, they cannot walk, either, because the road is too busy.
School superintendent John Higgins and principal Missy Fitzsimmons began receiving threatening calls after the picture was shared on Facebook, KDRV reports.
Higgins told KDRV that he believes the system has given students a chance to catch up on missed work. The district released a statement which read:
Lincoln’s current attendance support protocol was communicated to parents via newsletter and is intended to provide the students with an above average level of tardiness, supervised additional learning time in a non-distracting setting. It was never intended to isolate or stigmatize students.
5. The principal of Lincoln Elementary School in Grants Pass, Oregon, has now met with the boy’s parents and reached ‘an appropriate resolution’, the district said.
The principal reached out to Hunter’s parents after receiving complaints. They met on Thursday and agreed to stop using the practice of separation as a punishment. The district said:
We are pleased to report the meeting was productive. The parents’ concerns were politely discussed and, ultimately, the issues were resolved to the satisfaction of both parents and the school.
All parties involved believe that an appropriate resolution has been reached.
6. A school policy is under fire after a first-grader is tardy — a KOIN6 report.
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