PELHAM, NH (CBS) – Max Bedard has a form of autism that makes wearing some kinds of clothes unbearable against his skin. His mother Michelle told WBZ-TV he wears sweatpants and sweatshirts every day.

So when the junior high student went to a semi-formal dance at his Pelham, NH school last Friday night, he was decked out in brand new sweats. But he never made it in the door.

“Things that may feel soft or comfortable on our skin, for children like that can sometimes be physically painful to him,” said Michelle Bedard, Max’s mother.

Max Bedard (WBZ-TV)

Max Bedard (WBZ-TV)

According to Max’s family, the principal said he would not be allowed in with the clothes he had. Max’s mom says the teen was “devastated” and asked to come home.

“I felt really embarrassed. It really hurt my feelings,” Max said.

The school department says they offered Max and other students who violated the dress code the chance to return with collared shirts.

But Michelle Bedard says her son was never offered that option until he was already home and by that time he was too humiliated and upset to think about returning.

“If he had said ‘Mom can you bring me a button down shirt?’ I would have brought him a shirt,” said Michelle Bedard. “I wouldn’t have let him suffer that humiliation.”

Pelham, NH student wears shirt that says #MaxItMonday (WBZ-TV)

Pelham, NH student wears shirt that says #MaxItMonday (WBZ-TV)

Word of Max’s plight spread quickly on social media and on Monday many students, in a sign of solidarity with Max, wore blue sweatshirts that read #MaxItMonday

The superintendent insists Max was never sent home and says “miscommunication” led to the “unfortunate situation.”

Superintendent of Schools Amanda Lecaroz issued a statement on the incident.

The young man was never sent home by Ms. Meghakian from the dance on Friday night, but rather sent to her office by other staff members to make a phone call along with several other students to better meet the dress code of the event.

The support from his classmates has helped Max feel better about the situation.

“I think it’s absolutely great that people are supporting me because of this,” Max said.

Comments (2)
  1. The mother neglected to do her due diligence in not contacting the school prior to the dance. Instead opting to just drop him off and drive away. Instead of addressing the issue with the principal at school or with the School Superintendent she chose to air her story on Facebook, because we all know that will help Max. The header on her Facebook Page is an extended family portrait in which everyone was dressed up. Max in a button down shirt, blazer and fedora. Next time, before airing this story, INVESTIGATE. That is what reporters do right?

    1. I am a parent of two children at PHS and have been working with the special ed department for the past 13 years. They have been nothing but supportive and helpful and are more often than not giving me tips and suggestions on helping my son who was diagnosed with Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome. He has autism tendencies and also has as his primary clothing sweatpants and T-shirts. They are comfortable and functional. However, I would never assume that the people outside of his IEP (individual education plan) or have a need to know would know this about him.. IEPs are private and protected information. If there is a need for my son to go to an activity outside of the daily school classes, I would make sure that the people involved knew about it and that, if needed, would be added to his IEP. The IEP, for those that do not know, though the Boston Globe should have, is a contract with the school that must be honored. I even have his bus requirements in his IEP and his toiletry. I am not saying that Max’s family did not have this in his IEP, but before we pass judgement, both sides of the story must be considered, and because an IEP is confidential the school has no authority to tell its side. SHAME on anyone who jumps to conclusions who don’t know both sides of the story.

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