Thursday, December 2, 2010

$350,000.00 - Not a Bad Paycheck for a Third Grader

I am not a big fan of the litigious society that we have become. More often than not, when I hear of a court-awarded financial windfall for someone I mentally thank Stella Liebeck for opening the litigation floodgates. Having written that, I must admit that I was quite pleased to read of the $350,000 settlement for Alex Barton. I almost wrote about Alex when I first read his story. In May of 2008, his kindergarten teacher allowed her students to vote on whether or not the young man would remain a member of the class. Apparently, young Alex had been a bit of a disruption. The teacher decided to hold a reality-show style vote with the rest of the kindergarteners determining Alex’s fate. Alex lost. This must be an example of the socialization that homeschooling critics argue for when they state that students will never learn how to interact with society if they do not sit with their peers for six hours each day in a public school classroom.


Well, it turns out that young Alex had a very good reason for his inability to control his behavior in the classroom. Alex Barton is autistic. Specifically, he has Asperger's syndrome. Young master Barton completed his kindergarten year in a homeschool. And what happened to kindergarten teacher Wendy Portillo, one of those college educated, licensed, professionals whose credentials are so critical to educational success that they are held up as an example to homeschooling parents as reasons why we shouldn’t attempt to teach at home? She was suspended for a year, but has since returned to the classroom with her tenure reinstated.

You can read Brian Hamacher’s complete report here.

9 comments:

Kathleen said...

Wow. Had not read that story. He deserves every penny of it.

Bagel's Life @ Home & School said...

Another story that just reaffirms to keep my autistic son at home.

L. said...

Go, Arby, go! You're on the button again.

Michelle said...

Good Lord! That's socialization at its best! That teacher should be fired! Or a public hanging would do nicely!

Some Guy said...

Alex should have won the immunity challenge. Then this would never have happened.

And the teacher should have kept going - last student left is the valedictorian. Or something like that.

No, of course I'm not serious.

I had to read Lord of the Flies in high school, and it should be required reading for anyone who wants to be a teacher. It underscores the need for civilization and adult leadership for groups of children.

Opus #6 said...

As a parent of a special needs child, I relate to this story. I know how frustrated the teacher must have been. Children with Aspergers Syndrome and other behavior-oriented issues can be trying. But what they did to the boy was unconscionable. Whether he had documentable special needs or not, no child should be tortured and publicly humiliated like that. No grownup either, for that matter.

Oklahoma Granny said...

I hadn't heard this particular story. How absolutely apalling! There was a time when the Golden Rule was taught in public schools.

The_Kid said...

It's not only my opinion, but the opinion of my boss and his teacher wife that the majority of teachers are certifiable and unqualified.

She had a friend recently who asked her to review the thesis paper that she intended to turn in and get her Masters. He said it was so bad of a grammatical disaster, they just made a couple small corrections to make it look like they reviewed it and gave it back. They didn't want to embarrass her by giving an honest review. She turned it in and got her Masters.

Khourt said...

Wow. That is insane.