Voting Out Alex

A Port St. Lucie, Florida kindergarten teacher Wendy Portillo left us dumbfounded this week, leaving us to ask “why?” If it wasn’t for consistency’s sake This Week’s Top Scrooge would be crowned This Year’s Bonehead.

This Week’s Top Scrooge – May 30, 2008


Prompted by Portillo, Alex Barton’s Morningside Elementary School classmates were allowed to say what they didn’t like about him and take a vote about whether they wanted him in class or not. By a 14 to 2 margin, 5-year-old Alex lost.

Alex is being evaluated for Asperger’s syndrome — an autism spectrum disorder. Guess how Portillo thought it best to deal with an apparently very trying day with Alex…not just send him out of the classroom to school aides, but to have his classmates rag on him when he came back.

Why? The Chicago Sun-Times reports:

“Portillo said she did this as she felt that if (Alex) heard from his classmates how his behavior affected them that it would make a bigger difference to him, rather than just hearing it from adults,” according to a report released Thursday morning by the Port St. Lucie Police Department.

For a video interview with Alex’s mom, Melissa Barton with Alex, go to the story at

More from the Sun-Times:

Alex told the officer Portillo called his classmates’ names out and they said “disgusting” things about him.

“I asked (Alex) what the students said, and he said the students said he eats paper, picks boogers and eats them on top of the table and bites his shoelaces,” the report said. “He told me Mrs. Portillo said, ‘I hate you right now. I don’t like you today’.”

The officer asked Alex how the incident made him feel.

“He said it made him feel sad,” Alex said according to the report.

Today’s children face challenges of unprecedented nature. Biblically speaking, a fallen world seems to be falling faster. A kindergarten teacher need not introduce and fascilitate additional negative forces into children’s lives.

I pray for the speedy recovery of all those involved…the classmates, their families, the teacher, Alex’s family, and of course, little Alex.

Not Special: Support Alex Barton includes a full list of contact and support information. Go there!



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