The excuse is that he did not have the "highest GPA" in the class, that several students had "higher GPAs." In other words, several students had higher raw scores on homework and classwork. I can only assume a few things in this:
1. The award is based solely on raw scores, not on the level of work being completed. Joey was often doing higher level assignments or extra work, often on the 5th grade level, for a greater part of the week of each lesson.
2. There is a limited number of awards permitted per class. Hence, the reliance on #1.
In other words, by ensuring he was challenged in class, we put him at disadvantage to be recognized for those efforts. It is a common enough discrimination displayed towards students with gifts, and one that results in the spiral down to mediocrity and the lowest denominator.
My plan is to simply skip the ceremony and keep Joey with me, when we will be vociferously celebrating his accomplishments in math in a way that makes it clear how proud we are of his strengths and perseverance. The school has failed to address his safety in crowds, or when he is frustrated or disappointed to an overwhelming degree. We simply cannot take the chance of having him realize that he is again to be ignored, and have him run out the door. I also think Joey deserves to be recognized by his school as intelligent, an asset in the classroom. If the school itself refuses to do this, then I will be sure he understands it himself: that he has value, that he has strength, and that he is much loved.
I believe this is a far better lesson than the alternative.