Five-year-old Alex Barton was told to stand in front in his Kindergarten class while, one by one, his classmates said what they didn’t like about him – responding with such words as “annoying” and “frustrating”. Then, in a vote of 14 to 2, Alex was voted out of Kindergarten.
When his teacher Wendy Portillo, who implemented this punishment, asked Alex how he felt about what had occurred, he responded, “I’m sad.”
His crime: his “unusual behaviour” most likely caused by Asperger’s Syndrome, for which he is in the process of being diagnosed currently. Asperger’s Syndrome is often considered to be a type of “high functioning” autism, characterized by impaired social interaction and understanding, and restricted and repetitive activities and interests; learning and cognition are not usually delayed.
I was outraged when reading this story on Disaboom. How can an adult put a child through such hurtful humiliation?
The Florida State Attorney’s office concluded the matter did not meet criteria for emotional child abuse. No charges will be filed against the teacher.
Not emotional abuse?
Forcing a child to endure a verbal lynching is abusive, is emotionally and psychologically damaging!
A Thinking in Metaphors blog post details the teacher’s violations. Yet no charges have been laid?
Had Alex been an ethnic minority, there would have been protesting and rioting in the streets! But, because Alex has a disability, such conduct is okay? I think not! This is 2008, for pete’s sake! Society cannot turn away from such barbaric and cruel conduct, particularly from authority figures, any longer. This teacher needs to be held accountable for her actions and for the psychological pain and damaged she has caused.
Imagine how Alex feels about himself after being publicly humiliated by his peers. And, what about the other youngsters? How do they feel about tearing down a classmate? What has this taught them about accepting differences and bullying? Do they know the incident was wrong?
The children (and unenlightened adults) need appropriate education and guidance on accepting, valuing and embracing differences.
How can this adorable boy be anything but loved and cherished?If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.