Blogroll Me! How This Old Brit Sees It ...: Florida Kindergarten Teacher Has Students Vote To Remove Classmate

25 May 2008

Florida Kindergarten Teacher Has Students Vote To Remove Classmate

Alex Barton

This is unbelievably sad:

Melissa Barton said she is considering legal action after her son's kindergarten teacher led his classmates to vote him out of class. After each classmate was allowed to say what they didn't like about Barton's 5-year-old son, Alex, his Morningside Elementary teacher said they were going to take a vote, Barton said. By a 14 to 2 margin, the class voted him out of the class.

Barton said her son is in the process of being diagnosed with Aspberger's, a type of high-functioning autism. Alex began the testing process in February for an official diagnosis under the suggestion of Morningside Principal Marsha Cully. Alex has had disciplinary issues because of his disabilities, Barton said. The school and district has met with Barton and her son to create an individual education plan, she said. His teacher, Wendy Portillo, has attended these meetings.

Barton said after the vote, Alex's teacher asked him how he felt. "He said, 'I feel sad.'"

Alex left the classroom and spent the rest of the day in the nurse's office. Barton said when she came to pick up her son at the school on Wednesday, he was leaving the nurse's office. "He was shaken up," she said. Alex hasn't been back to school since then, and Barton said he won't be returning. He starts screaming when she brings him with her to drop off his sibling at school.

Thursday night, his mother heard him saying "I'm not special."

Barton said Alex is reliving the incident. They said he was "disgusting" and "annoying," Barton said. "He was incredibly upset. The only friend he has ever made in his life was forced to do this."

(cross posted at Liberal Avenger and appletree)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess the obvious question to arise from this is why the teacher still has a job?

4:32 pm  
Blogger Doctorboogaloo said...

That teacher is a cretin. She should be removed from both her position and the profession. Her utter lack of regard for this boy's feelings, his ability to cope in school, and his future achievement is appalling.

And what the hell kind of lesson did this fiasco settle upon the boy's classmates? Nice going, lady. You are just what the profession does not need.

Bloody shameful.

1:03 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RJ and Doctor Boogaloo--

I had assumed that just about everyone would feel the same way. But I was surprised by the number of people who either thought that the teacher did the right thing, or thought that special needs children shouldn't be allowed to take classes with 'normal' children.

Check out this post, and the comment thread over at Liberal Avenger.

1:13 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's time we all learned the difference between a naughty child, and one suffering from a mental illness. Society today does not clarify the differences sufficiently well and the medical profession must bear some of the blame for that. Those who tended to back the teacher in this instance are mainly of the opinion the child was simply naughty. Unless the diagnosis is incorrect, this is emphatically not the case.
A description of how Asperger's syndrome effects the sufferer is available at THIS website. Could any kid not react negatively to the unbearable frustration of such a lack of inter-cranial communication? Not only is the teacher at fault, but the authority that placed the boy in this school, rather than one for kids with special needs.

1:26 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can see where the naughty/mental illness dichotomy would be important when it comes to developing strategies to help the child, but in this case I think it's irrelevant. What if we were talking about a kid who was just acting out? Would that make what his teacher did OK?

No 5-year-old child, no matter how naughty, should have been subjected to this sort of abuse. If the teacher needed to have the child removed, she should have gone through the standard procedures.

7:20 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bullying children is not in the job description of any school teacher, yet it happens frequently. The This teacher is a sorry example of what is teaching in America's public school systems today. The community should be outraged about this sort of abusive and disparaging type of conduct.

This child's teacher needs an intervention of the nth degree and needs to be ousted. There are many teachers in public schools today that are abusive but it seems that only the sexual predators are the only ones that are newseffects of bullying are left on the child long after the kid leaves the classroom. Sometimes when the parents attempt to stop this sort of conduct, they themselves are labeled as interlopers and troublemakers. I myself received a threatening letter just this year from a school attorney trying to ban me from the schools after trying repeatedly to cease bullying types of conduct from two teachers, yet I have threatened no one. (I have three children in public school in eastern TN). Give me a break! One had better do better than send a letter from a had better get a court order, as parents have the obligation and the right to protect their children from abuse. I am no fool, I sought legal counsel myself. There is a website about the abuses in the school system in this county..check it out!

This type of conduct is shameful and the kindergarten teacher (she dares to call herself a teacher!) ought to be out and out terminated. The parent should indeed seek criminal and civil redress. Her child is truly the victim! Many others are too and all to often many remain quiet and suffer in silence! Tout this at the top of your lungs! Abuse in schools is out!

4:24 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking as a mother of a 4 yr old:

If I were Alex's mother, I would be looking for all possible charges that could be brought against this teacher. I would also hold the school system that refused to fire an abusive teacher liable.

If I were the mother of one of the other children, I would still be livid. I would never allow my child to return to a classroom where the responsible party acted this way.

Because - I have worked very hard to make sure my son is raised to be tolerant, accepting, empathetic, kind, loving, etc. Any person that forced my child to participate in discrimination would not be allowed around my child - period. It is my job to see that my son becomes a happy, productive, responsible citizen. This is outrageous. This woman does not deserve the title of teacher.

9:56 pm  

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