Look, disruptive kids can be tough. Kids with special needs can be challenging, and the fact that you empathize with and want to address their special needs doesn't make it any less difficult when they act out in class.
However, if you utterly lack the ability to deal with kids, misbehavior, or special needs — and if you've been put on this planet without the empathy or common sense God gave a handful of gravel — maybe you ought not be teaching.
Dateline: Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Of course). Wendy Portillo is a teacher at Morningside Elementary School. Alex Barton — who may or may not have Asperger's Syndrome — is a student in her kindergarten class. She did not care for his behavior.
So how did she handle it?
She held a two-minute hate and then had the kids vote Alex off the island.
Last week, Portillo held a vote in her classroom in which the students "voted out" 5-year-old Alex Barton, who is in the process of being tested for Asperger's Disorder, a type of high-functioning autism, said his mother, Melissa Barton.
After each classmate was allowed to say what they didn't like about Alex the teacher said they were going to take a vote, Barton said. They said he was "disgusting" and "annoying," Barton said.
"He was incredibly upset," she said. "The only friend he has ever made in his life was forced to do this."
By a 14 to 2 margin, the students voted him out of the class.
It's difficult to fathom how Wendy Portillo could have thought that was an appropriate thing to do to a five-year-old. She's been reassigned, and if there's any justice will not be inflicted upon kindergarteners (or any other kids) again. Her behavior betrays a breathtaking lack of human decency or good sense. (Of course, the teacher's union will fight for her tooth and nail, however clearly unsuited she is to be exposed to children.)
I'm appalled, though not surprised, by teacher cruelty. I've encountered wantonly cruel teachers in my time. I think that teachers, like any other group, have their share of sociopaths walking among them. Such people simply have more of an impact in some careers. A cruel, thuggish mailman or typist or convenience store clerk has limited opportunities to screw with large numbers of people. But an evil cop or teacher can cause a world of hurt.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
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