This just speaks for itself:
On May 21, Alex Barton, age 5, was escorted out of his kindergarten classroom at Morningside Elementary in Port St. Lucie, Fla., by the local police department’s “school resource officer.” Alex, who is autistic, was taken to the assistant principal, to whom he promised he would “not kick students, throw crayons, eat crayons, crawl under the table, kick the table of other students … [or] disrupt the class,” according to a police report. The assistant principal tucked in Alex’s shirt, put his “shoes on the right feet and tied them,” and sent Alex back to class. During Alex’s absence, his teacher, Wendy Portillo, “gathered the students to talk with them” about the youngster’s misbehavior.
When Alex returned, Portillo, who has been teaching in Port Lucie for 12 years, directed the youngster to the front of the room and “asked him to listen to what the children didn’t like” about him. According to Alex, the children complained that he “eats paper, picks boogers … and bites his shoelaces,” and Portillo herself said, “I hate you right now. I don’t like you today.”. Portillo next “polled the class” about whether to let Alex back in. Alex lost the class vote, 14-2, and spent the rest of the school day in the nurse’s office.
This story is disturbing on a lot of levels, but as the parent of an autistic child, I’m disturbed that a teacher would knowingly and intentionally subject a child with special needs – in this case Asperger’s – to that kind of treatment. What’s more, the fact that a teacher of children that young would tell a child she hates him absolutely boggles my mind. This is my worst fear as a parent – that my child is going to end up in a classroom where he’s made to feel different and ashamed of who he is simply because of his disorder. No child should ever be singled out and made to feel the way this child was made to feel.
So today, Wendy Portillo wins my Most Despicable Person of the Day Award.