By Colleen Wixon
Originally published 10:12 a.m., May 27, 2008
Updated 06:30 p.m., May 27, 2008
PORT ST. LUCIE — Morningside Elementary kindergarten teacher Wendy Portillo has been reassigned until further action may be determined, according to St. Lucie County School District spokeswoman Janice Karst.
Last week, Portillo held a vote in her classroom in which kindergarten students "voted out" 5-year-old Alex Barton, who was in the process of being tested for Asperger's Disorder, a type of high-functioning autism. Alex's mother, Melissa Barton, said the vote was taken after classmates were allowed to tell Alex what they didn't like about him.
The class voted Alex out of the room, by a 14 to 2 margin.
Portillo was reassigned out of the classroom at the district offices on Friday, as soon as Schools Superintendent Michael Lannon heard about the incident, Karst said. She said it could be up to two weeks before the district's investigation on the matter is concluded.
Portillo has been a St. Lucie County teacher for 12 years, and at Morningside Elementary for nine, Karst said.
Barton said Tuesday morning that Alex had officially been diagnosed with an autism-spectrum disorder and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. He is not in school, but misses the one friend he made in the classroom, she said.
"He's a little better today," she said. "He's just being Alex."
Barton said she thinks Portillo should be fired.
"She has no business being near children at all," she said.
As to the news of Portillo being reassigned, Barton responded, "That's just a slap in the face."
© 2008 Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers
I am beyond disgusted by the ignorance of this school district and teachers. I hope this case can be used as an example of how we need to EDUCATE THE EDUCATORS. Autism Vox has one of the more popular blogs about this issue.