Autistic Child Voted out of Class
The family of a child voted out of his kindergarten class is filing a civil lawsuit, which comes as no surprise. Wait, since when could you vote kids out of class?
(I'm glad nobody in my class knew about this)
At least two of the other kids stood up for him, though, which is the silver lining here. Talk about knowing who your friends are... that the teacher was so casual about it is what I find most upsetting.
When I was a camp counselor (many moons ago, in the long-hair days), one of my kids had some form of autism- he had lots of trouble relating to the others, exacerbated by how much they picked on him.
The lil' guy couldn't *not* be autistic, obviously, and he grew more and more bitter about it as the summer went on, despite the best efforts of me and the other staff. He was there to have a good time, but lots of other kids seemed determined not to let that happen. I thought about that kid as I read the story below, and I wonder what he's up to- he'd be twenty or twenty-one by now.
Alex's Morningside Elementary teacher, Wendy Portillo, allowed his classmates to tell him what they thought of his behavior, while he stood in front of the class, according to police reports of the incident. Portillo told investigators Alex had been misbehaving and had two disciplinary referrals that day.
The class then voted whether Alex should be allowed to stay in the class. Alex lost, 14 to 2.
Alex was officially diagnosed less than a week later with an autism-spectrum disorder, Barton said. He began the process of being tested for the disorder in February, at the suggestion of Morningside Principal Marcia Cully. Barton has said the teacher knew about the testing at the time of the vote.
Morningside Elementary kindergarten teacher Wendy Portillo told police she wanted 5-year-old Alex Barton to hear how his behavior was affecting his classmates, according to a report released Thursday by the Port St. Lucie Police Department.
After students shared their view, she had them vote, but she said the vote was only to keep him out of class for the day, not for good.
“Portillo said she did this as she felt that if (Alex) heard from his classmates how his behavior affected them that it would make a bigger difference to him, rather than just hearing it from adults,” according to the report.