A Florida Kindergarten teacher has been placed in a non-teaching role, after she ordered students in the class room to vote out of class a 5 year old special needs student because of “disciplinary problems”.
Alex Barton, 5 who suffers from Aspergers Syndrome was called to stand before the class and his teacher Wendy Portilio instructed the kids infront of Alex to tell him what they didn’t like about him. Following that disgusting and appalling excercise she then had the students. She then had the students take a vote on whether or not to vote the student out of class (according to Alex’s mother Melissa, Portilio may have even pressured a few of the students to vote Alex out). The students voted 14-2, Survivor style, to expell Alex from the class. Portilio then had the temarity to ask him how he felt and then where he would go.
According to Melissa Barton, Alex remarked that he felt sad and then she asked him where he was gonna go. He answered that he would go to the principal’s office and Portilio said that they didn’t want him there either. He then left class and went down to the nurse’s office.
The teacher and the school have not commented on the situation and have placed the teacher in a non-teaching role at the school temporarily.
Send a card to Alex to cheer the kid up and remind him that he is just as special as everyone else.
MY TAKE: Clearly this woman should not be teaching children. Kindergaten is a time where children learn the social norms of society, and amongst other things need to be taught that axiom “treat people the way you want to be treated” and she through her actions not only showed that she doesn’t abide by that, but that she encourages children to alienate one another and segregate each other based on thier differences.
Punishment and pointing out someone’s disruptive behavior is understandable, but humiliation only brings about depression or resentment in the child punished, as well as encouragement to other children that humiliation, rudeness and selfishness is something that is okay and is the way that you deal with differences in society.
Also Aspergers syndrome is a disorder in which a person’s socially judgement and understanding is imparied, what many seem and understand as normal social practices and common sense they don’t understand. They need to be told what they are doing wrong but not ostricicized and ridiculed, but pulled aside and told what they have done wrong and also be given the occasional reminder.
Not to mention that according to some statistics 1 in 500 children have Aspergers Syndrome. If this type of behavior by a teacher is not condemned and carried out by the school district, other teachers might use her disgusting and unprofessional style to deal with other children who have this (which according to statistics she will most likely have another in a class at some point).
This story is very personal to me. No, not just because my name is Alex. But because I too have Aspergers Syndrome, as many of you know already. I had always felt different and socially inferior to most of my peers. I remember sometimes feeling like the whole world held in its collective mind a secret that I didn’t know. I remember sometimes being laughed at and ridiculed for my social awkwardness and habits. But never did I ever have that done to me or encourged by a teacher. Never at any point was a teacher so heartless and immature as to do something like that to me. If they had I would not have been who I am today. Sometimes I felt that my teachers were the only ones in tyhe classroom who were sympathetic to me. Here Ms Portillio was none of those things. In fact she proved herself to be little more then an intolerant class bully towering over five and six year olds as if they were her peers and she was one of them, moking a boy for a disorder he has and other differences.
That is why, in my view this woman she either resign (that is if she has a concions or clear understanding of people’s feelings as well as the pain this has likely inflicted upon this poor boy, which is not clear that this “teacher” does), or be fired by the school district. In fact I am actually going to write a tough but ;professional sounding letter to the school advocating that.
One other thing, I know they are unlikekly to read this, but kudos to the two kids who went against the tide and voted to keep Alex in class. Courage is often doing the right and moral thing, even when others around you aren’t. These two kids should be congragilated.
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