Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Teacher Allowed Class To Vote Out Autistic Child?!?

I got this article link today from a private board I visit. It's a blow to Autism Advocacey, if I ever saw one, but hopefully it will bring to light more incidents and help educate people about disgusting treatment of Autistics


I'm absolutely shocked. There's a knot in my stomach, and I'm so nauseated I can't even speak. I'm horrified that such a thing could occur, where a 5 year old child, who happens to be autistic, is actually VOTED out of the classroom and the teacher allowed it. Encouraged it. My heart is absolutely broken for that little boy, and I'm discouraged that the school board hasn't done anything about revoking this horrible "teacher's" license and certification. That is not someone who should be in a classroom teaching children at such a tender age.

Why am I so enraged? I have three daughters of my own. I have a five year old of my own, who is also autistic, and has been diagnosed with Asperger's Disorder with Pervasive Development Disorder. She has been getting special services through our school system while also attending preschool, and her teachers have been phenomenal. Her classmates adore her, despite her pecularities, and they are very protective of her. I can't imagine that they would ever take turns telling the whole class what they don't like about her, and then vote as to whether or not she can stay in the classroom. I can't imagine how hurt and broken that would leave my daughter if it did happen. She is a loving, kind, gentle, sensitive, strong-emotioned child, as most Asperger's kiddos are. I can tell you that if I ever, ever found out that some teacher did such a despicable thing to my child, she wouldn't have a job by the end of the week.

I hope that this story has a happier ending for this poor little boy, and that the board of education takes appropriate action and fires this "teacher." Above all else, I am saddened by this injustice, and hope that a real solution is made public soon.

Mom says teacher let classmates vote autistic son out of class
By Colleen Wixon | Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers
2:31 PM EDT, May 25, 2008
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Digg Del.icio.us Facebook Fark Google Newsvine Reddit Yahoo Print Reprints Post comment Text size: PORT ST. LUCIE - 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 Wendy Portillo said they were going to take a vote, Barton said.

By a 14 to 2 margin, the students voted Alex -- who is in the process of being diagnosed with autism -- out of the class.

Melissa Barton filed a complaint with Morningside's school resource officer, who investigated the matter, Port St. Lucie Department spokeswoman Michelle Steele said. But the state attorney's office concluded the matter did not meet the criteria for emotional child abuse, so no criminal charges will be filed, Steele said.

Port St. Lucie Police no longer are investigating, but police officials are documenting the complaint, she said.

Steele said the teacher confirmed the incident took place.

Portillo could not be reached for comment Friday.

Steele said the boy had been sent to the principal's office because of disciplinary issues. When he returned, Portillo made him go to the front of the room as a form of punishment, she said.

Barton said her son is in the process of being diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, a type of high-functioning autism. Alex began the testing process in February at the suggestion of Morningside Principal Marcia Cully.

Children diagnosed with Asperger's often exhibit social isolation and eccentric behavior..

Alex has had disciplinary issues because of his disability, Barton said. After the family moved into the area and Alex and his sibling arrived at the school in January, Alex spent much of the time in the principal's office, she said.

He also had problems at his last school, but he did not have issues during his two years of preschool, Barton said.

School and district officials have met with Barton and her son to create an individual education plan to address his difficulties, she said. Portillo attended these meetings, Barton said.

Barton said after the vote, Portillo asked Alex how he felt.

"He said, 'I feel sad,' " Barton said.

Alex left the classroom and spent the rest of the day in the nurse's office, she said.

Barton said when she came to pick up her son at the school Wednesday, he was leaving the nurse's office.

"He was shaken up," she said.

Barton said the nurse told her to talk with Portillo, who told her what happened.

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" over and over.

Barton said Alex is reliving the incident.

The other students said he was "disgusting" and "annoying," Barton said.

"He was incredibly upset," Barton said. "The only friend he has ever made in his life was forced to do this."

St. Lucie School's spokeswoman Janice Karst said the district is investigating the incident, but could not make any further comment.

Vern Melvin, Department of Children and Families circuit administrator, confirmed the agency is investigating an allegation of abuse at Morningside but said he could not elaborate.

Also, some e-mails going around:
This has been going through lots of message boards and some how some one on diaperswappers found these emails if anyone would have the desire to make contact.

cullym@stlucie.k12.fl.us (principal)
gasgoignep@stlucie.k12.fl.us (assistant principal)
hitsmand@stlucie.k12.fl.us (guidance counselor)
oliver1c@stlucie.k12.fl.us (student support)
baxterc@stlucie.k12.fl.us (media specialist)
portillow@stlucie.k12.fl.us (teacher who did this)

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