Cassandra Garcia, an eight-year-old student in Arizona, was humiliated when her teacher gave her an award in front of the whole class. But why would a third grader become so upset over an award?

According to Garcia's mother, Christina Valdez, the award her daughter received was the Catastrophe Award for having the most homework excuses.

Valdez told ABC News affiliate KGUN9 that her daughter received the award from her teacher, Mrs. Plowman, at Desert Springs Academy in Tucson, Ariz. on May 18, 2012. Valdez said the award was given because her daughter had the most excuses for not doing her homework.

You're Tops! Catastrophe Award. Awarded to Cassandra Garcia. For Most Excuses for Not Having Homework, the award read along with a signed signature from Mrs. Plowman and a smiley face sticker.

Garcia was reportedly upset when the award was presented in front of the entire third grade class, who in turn laughed at Garcia.

I think it's cruel and no child should be given an award like this. It's disturbing, Valdez told KGUN. Valdez said she was unaware that her daughter frequently gave excuses for not completing her homework, and she added that Garcia was enrolled in a homework assistance program that takes place after school hours.

According to KGUN, when Valdez demanded an explanation from the school principal, she was told it was merely a joke.

[The principal] blew me off, Valdez said. [The principal] said it was a joke that was played on her daughter, and that the teachers joke around with the children, Valdez told KGUN.

The principal of Desert Springs Academy did not give a comment to KGUN.