Monday, May 26, 2008

Our World

Seriously, what is going on in our world today??? I just do not and cannot understand so much of the attitudes and actions of members of our society. Especially teachers. Your job is to care and teach and encourage, not create isolation and humiliation in our children. This boy is FIVE years old. FIVE. What are we expecting of five year olds, especially ones who are in process of being diagnosed with a disability, to send them so often to the principal's office? And then to humiliate them and create an atmosphere of hostility and social pressure to the rest of these five year olds to VOTE OUT a child from his own class??? Are you kidding me??? I hope that this teacher is severely punished, but with tenure as it is, can she really be??? I hope so.

Here is the "complete" story...
Quote: 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, 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.

The following was sent through yahoo groups and has been posted on many blog posts. Please read on...

Autistic Student Voted Out of Class
Last week, a Morningside Elementary Kindergarten teacher had students "vote out" of the class a 5-year old (possible) autistic student named Alex Barton. According to the news article, the teacher had each of Alex's classmates, including his sole friend in the class, state publicly what they disliked about him and then announced that they would take a vote to remove him from the class. Alex has not been back to school since and has suffered significant emotional trauma as a result of this incident.

Regardless of who you are or what your connection to the autistic and autism communities might be, I think we can all agree that this is unacceptable.We need to band together to prevent future such abuses from occurring, to ensure that this teacher is properly disciplined and to encourage this school to adopt both a strong bullying prevention policy and training on respect for all forms of diversity aimed at both teachers and students.

As such, we've provided contact information below for you to write to communicate your outrage. Please be polite yet firm in your comments, pointing out the unacceptability of such actions when aimed at any student, as well as the need for this school to adopt policies to prevent this from happening in the future. This is an opportunity to drive home the message that we will not stand by while one of our own is abused.

We ask that you please cc: info@autisticadvocacy.org in your e-mails to the school district so we can keep track of the strength and sources of this response.

Remember: abusive messages hurt our cause - please be respectful in your comments.

Contact info: Elementary Principal: Mrs. Marcia Cully (mailto:cullym@stlucie.k12.fl.us) (772) 337-6730

St. Lucie County Schools Superintendent: Michael J. Lannon Phone: 772/429-3925 FAX: 772/429-3916 e-mail: lannonm@stlucie.k12.fl.us

St. Lucie County School Board Chair: Carol Hilson 772-519-0397 HilsonC@stlucie.k12.fl.us)

Vice Chair: Judith Miller 772-528-4545 MillerJ@stlucie.k12.fl.us

Regards, Ari Ne'eman President, The Autistic Self Advocacy Network(http://www.autisticadvocacy.org/) 732.763.5530

6 comments:

Maddy said...

It's hard to believe that this kind of thing goes on in our public schools.
Best wishes

Angela said...

My heart just broke for this family... even if you take out the fact that he has ASD you still have a 5 year old that was subjected to this... unreal that they are not protected by those they are supposed to be able to trust.

Rebecca said...

OH MY GOODNESS!!! The teacher should not be allowed to teach anymore--or be near children! I hope that she does get a lot of greaf about all of this!!

Emmy said...

MAN! thos people! this is an edeucational learning center, not an episode of Survivor or the Island! gosh!! i cant belive thye did that to the poor kid! ='(

Sara said...

This made me absolutely sick to my stomach. Horrendous.

Sara

Torina said...

Disgusting. I will be writing...

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