We have teachers sleeping with students, teachers bringing guns to school, teachers allowing students to cheat, and teachers humiliating their students. This is a case that went way too far.
It sounds like somebody has been watching too many reality shows. Namely, Wendy Portillo, a teacher at Morningside Elementary in Port St. Lucie, Florida. She turned her kindergarten classroom into a cruel version of Survivor by allowing her students to vote a fellow student out of the class.
The banished child is 5-year-old Alex Barton, who is in the process of being diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a high-functioning type of autism. Not uncommon to his condition, Alex has had some behavioral issues and as a result, spends a lot of time in the principal’s office.
After returning to Ms. Portillo’s classroom after a recent visit with the principal, his teacher decided to punish him with humiliation. She had Alex stand at the front of the class while his fellow students listed off what they didn’t like about him. After informing him that they found him “disgusting” and “annoying”, the class was instructed to vote on whether or not Alex should be allowed to stay in the class. By a 14 to 2 margin, they voted him out.
Alex hasn’t been back to school since then, but his mother, Melissa Barton, says he is still reliving the incident. The night after it happened, she says she overheard him saying “I’m not special” over and over.
Incredibly, an investigation by the state attorney’s office concluded that Alex’s treatment did not meet the criteria for emotional child abuse and no charges have been filed. I don’t know what the criteria for emotional abuse is, but if this doesn’t meet it, what does? My heart breaks for all the children involved in this incident.
This teacher needs to lose their job right now. There is no excuse for this type of behavior. To do this to any kid let alone one that suffers from autism is the exact definition of the word inhuman (lacking pity, kindness, or mercy).
The state attorney’s office is obviously inhuman as well if they can’t see that this is abusive behavior.
On a brighter thought, I would love to know who the two kids who voted for Alex to stay are. They obvioulsy have more heart and are more human than an adult that is over them and teaching them. Those two kids probably have great parents and I hope they are blessed for doing the right thing.