Survivor: Kindergarten

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


  1. Patrick says

    Hopefully the school board will vote Ms. Portillo off the island next. Despicable.

  2. Jag says

    Read about this and then saw it on the local news. While appalled at the teacher, my wife also questioned the mother's motives as she paraded her traumatized child in front of the cameras.

  3. Jesse says

    Ya know, sometimes you read stuff and you spend time pondering what the appropriate response is. After spending a couple of minutes thinking about this, all I can come up with is "Ass Kicking." That bitch needs to have her ass kicked. It's clearly the only thing that could possibly penetrate her patina of soulessness.

  4. mae says

    Some people should never have a job around children at all. This teacher has most likely cause a great deal of trouble and sorrow to this child and who knows for how long. If this school district allows this teacher to go back into a class room then they are as guilty as she is. People, you never know what but that someone like her is teaching in a school near you. Please lets stand up and call upon this school dostrict to do what is right and call this teacher into subjection to common sence rules. If you and I don't stand up against what has happened here who knows but that one of our children may be treated this way.We cannot stand by and allow an adult to mentally abuse a child no more than we can allow phys. abuse. You can have a say in this so please let them know how you feel about what has happened in this classroom with this child.

  5. says

    This type of behavior on the pat of Ms. Wendy Portilo is NOT acceptable. I know only too about Asperber's Syndrome and this is devasting. I live on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada and I read this news on a chat site. Imagine how important this is to others. I hope Mrs. Barton and many others do not stop and accept this. There is no doubt this is emotional abuse and to someone with Asperber's Sydrome it is frightening to me to think what effects this is going to have on Alex Barton. Unbeleivable that this seems to be getting swept under the rug.