School is not an episode of “Survivor”

There are a number of disability blogs discussing this outrageous report of a kindergarten teacher in Florida named Wendy Portillo, who let her class humiliate a five-year-old boy with Asperger’s syndrome. Here’s the brief version:

“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.”

The mother has filed a complaint with the school resource officer and the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Bullying of disabled children by classmates is well known — bullying by teachers is outrageous and unacceptable. If you find this as disturbing as I do, take action and contact the administration at Morningside Kindergarten.

As per Historiann’s request, here is the teacher’s side of the story.   Doesn’t really make her look any better, in my opinion.

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3 Comments

  1. KC, I’ve just read the 3-paragraph summary of the story available on most news sites and in most newspapers. But, if you know more–what’s your sense of what happened? Is it the case that the teacher is unexperienced? Is she merely untrained? Although she displayed obviously poor judgment, was she adequately supported by her school in terms of dealing with an autistic child? What was going on in that classroom that led up to this child being “voted off the island?” The schoolteachers I know are incredibly sensitive and willing to meet the children where they are in order to foster their learning. What’s up with this teacher, and this school?

  2. It’s not really clear what the teacher or the school’s point of view are, because they aren’t talking with the press. All I know is that the child was in the process of getting a diagnosis. I have a friend who went through the tests for autism with her son (it turned out he wasn’t autistic) and it took months just to get an appointment then months to do all the tests and observations.

    So, in my opinion the teacher should have given the child a break, or at least let the trip to the principal’s office be sufficient punishment. She certainly shouldn’t have used this as an opportunity to ostracize the child even further.

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