My jaw dropped this morning when I read about the following news item. The event happened last Wednesday, and you may have heard about it already. The news has been flying around the internet, and CBS’ The Early Show had an interview this morning.
PORT ST. LUCIE, FL — A Port St. Lucie mother says her five-year-old son with special needs was voted out of his classroom by his peers at the behest of the teacher, who has since been reassigned.
“(She) took him and stood him in front of his classmates this week, asked every single child to tell Alex why we don’t like him… in his words, tell Alex why we hate him,” she explains.
After having each child ridicule the boy, she says the teacher continued belittling him.
“Then they had a vote on if he deserved to stay in the class or not,” says Barton.
Like a twisted reality show, Barton says in a 14-2 vote, his classmates voted the five-year-old out of the classroom.
The boy, Alex, has recently been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. His classmates objected to Alex’s spinning, his eating crayons, and hiding under desks. And so the teacher’s solution to a handicapped child disrupting her classroom was to hold a public pillorying, then a vote. There’s plenty more to read online, including how the boy’s one and only friend in class was pressured by the teacher and the rest of the kids to change his initial vote and turn against Alex.
Words fail me. If this “teacher” has indeed been reassigned, I hope it’s to guard the supply closet, or any other job that keeps her away from children PERMANENTLY. I can’t fathom what could have gone on in her head, that she would think this would be a good idea. It’s beyond understanding. In the wake of her insanity, one little boy is crushed and is afraid of going back to school, his peers get some sick lesson in groupthink and revenge instead of tolerance, the boy’s friend is probably feeling awful (and to avoid that feeling, might not try to be friends with Alex again). What this teacher did was abhorrent, she ought to be beaten with a plank and neutered….
I could write 5,000 words right now and not scratch the surface of my anger and loathing at this action. I take this very personally. Our son has Asperger’s, and if I remember, in Kindergarten, he hid under the desk a lot because the chaos and energy of a social environment like a classroom confused and scared him. I’m thankful he had a teacher and principal who looked at the whole child and helped him along. What would a decent person’s reaction be to a scared, confused 5-year-old?
Since that year, he’s never had a classroom aide (he probably didn’t even need one that year), is now in 7th grade pulling straight A’s, and is a happy, confident teenager, worried about girls and obsessed with music. The other kids in class may find him annoying at times, but other times his strengths come through. He’s accepted for who he is. Which is every person’s right. (Even as I type those words, they seem to clink like Canadian nickels, failing to express the importance of the notion. They seem cliche in the face of what happened in that classroom. I get angry over the fact that I have to type them at all.)
You can read more about Alex’s situation at this site, which also contains a link to his principal and the school board. Please write them and lend support to Alex, who has the right laid out by federal law to have a proper education. Of course, a law can’t mandate that a teacher would act like a HUMAN BEING and see the consequences of her actions, but it shouldn’t have to. It’s up to the school board to see this woman is shitcanned so far that she won’t be able to get a job as a prison guard.
I have to stop typing now, before I hurt my fingers or damage the keyboard from pounding.