Have you heard about this? A 5 year-old kindergartener known to suffer from ADD and Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism, was kicked out of his classroom… after his teacher — his “TEACHER!“— asked his 16 classmates to tell him what they don’t like about him, then vote whether or not to let him rejoin the class.
By a vote of 14-2 they voted him out.
It actually gets worse.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the teacher, Wendy Portillo, defends her actions by explaining that she hoped that if Alex heard how his (uncontrollable) actions affected his classmates, he’d straighten out.
The first obvious problem, of course, is how she treated this small child. When we talk about Alex Barton, we’re not talking about a responsible adult here, one who has deliberately put themselves in a situation where they know they will or might be humiliated, such as the participants of the Survivor show Portillo emulated in her classroom.
Secondly, to make all this worse, this is a child who has learning-related issues the teacher was perfectly aware of. I want to know where she was when there were parent-teacher meetings, IEP meetings, meetings between Alex’s mother and the support team the school district puts together to help everyone cope with a troubled child. Did she miss the “this child isn’t acting up for attention, his brain is just different” memo? Did she forget to enroll in the “Classroom Management” class in college, when she was earning her teacher’s credentials? Perhaps she skipped the class on “kids with learning disabilities”.
Clearly, she can come up with creative solutions to a problem, but if this is the best she’s got, then she needs a different job.
Oh by the way, although she was sent to do more “administrative” duties while the school investigated, Portillo is back in the classroom. Alex, meantime, hasn’t come back yet. If I were her mom, I’d start either looking for another school, or go the homeschool route, at least for the next year.
Alex, I’m sure you’ll never see this or even hear of me, but I’ll say this anyway: I’m sorry your teacher’s actions and words made you feel bad. I know it’s not your fault, and so does most of the rest of the world. There is absolutely no excuse for what your teacher did.