Read this story!
If this had been my kid I would have made it my mission to see that Wendy Portillo of Morningside Elementary School in St. Lucie Florida was fired.
Kindergarten is the place where a child begins making the transition from home to formal education. Children learn basic skills through social interaction, they learn reading, writing, and a little arithmetic. They draw, color, paint, and play. These children learn to assimilate into a community which is the classroom and in which they will spend the next 11 years or more if they go to college. Oh sure the learning process begins at home but it really takes shape formally in kindergarten. These children are only five years old, they are very young and very impressionable and what happens there can affect them for years to come.
Which is why it is so important to have the right teachers guiding these young children. And that is apparently NOT the case at Morningside Elementary School in Port St. Lucie Florida where a teacher named Wendy Portillo decided to have the class vote on whether or not five-year-old Alex Barton could stay in their class. First she had each student tell the class what they didn't like about Alex, then they got to vote on whether he should stay or go. By a margin of 14 to 2 they voted him out, that is after he had to sit through his classmates talking about the things they disliked about him.
Now I'll add in that Alex Barton is in the midst of tests to determine if he has Asperger's syndrome which is a form of Autism. Autistic children can be a little more difficult to deal with but his condition was NO secret to his teacher. She knew about it and yet she pointed him out, made fun of him, and turned what was supposed to be a safe learning environment into something cruel, embarassing and shameful.
I started Kindergarten in August 1974 and I remember my teacher vividly. One of the great things I remember aboutMrs. Ethel Napier was that she was a fine lady, very sweet and kind and we all loved her. She was a really warm and wonderful lady, the kind of teacher you want your child to have their first year in school.
Sure I'm a realist, I know the world can be cruel at times but I'm 38 years old and the world is very different to me than it is to little Alex Barton. I understand the world can be tough, I have reasons to be cynical at times, and I understand relationships and how people can be. I've experienced a lot in this world whereas little Alex Barton has not. Every child has their quirks and no surprise mine was that I talked a lot in school. I think about how I might have if Mrs. Napier had done to me what had been done to Alex Barton. I would have been so sad and embarassed. And I never would have wanted to go back to South Miami Heights Elementary School--EVER! That's because when I was that age I wanted to badly to fit in, just as the other kids did, and at that age being a part of the group meant an awful lot to me, just as it did for Alex Barton.
Teachers whether they be elementary, junior high or high school have a tremendous impact and influence on their students. To ostracize a child in front of their peers is shameful and disgusting and so is forcing the child's peers to be a part of it.
I had a junior high school teacher who pointed me out and embarassed me in front of my classmates. After that, math was never the same, I hated it, and I hated him for making me feel like such a loser--and I was only 14. Imagine feeling like that at five years old?
We do not need people like Wendy Portillo in the classroom teaching our children.