Alex Barton – I Haven’t Forgotten You

And nor are you the only one. Unfortunately.

Here’s an interesting thread on an education-focused board. Same sorts of responses . . . just sometimes better thought out.

The following are some links to some letters (and a few editorials) to the editor about the Alex Barton. Just for simplicity’s sake, I’m sticking to the original site that aired the first story for these letters (TCPalm).

Autistic Student: No Excuses

Editorial: Learn From Autism Situation – I like this one because it actually takes the time to offer solutions and evidence to its thought process.

Letters: Autistic Student: Questions – This person raises some of the more pertinent questions in this situation.

Kate Riley (a guest columnist from the Seattle Times): Teacher’s Behavior ‘Primer for Bullies in Training’ – Excellent.

Letter: Autistic Student: Remove Teacher – oh look, sanity from NC.

Letter: Autistic Student: Inexcusable Action – This could have been written by me, except for the age difference.

Anthony Westbury: It was stressful day at PSL’s Morningside Elementary – This is a call for compassion for the parties involved.

Letter: Teacher ought to be voted off

Letter: Accountability lacking at school

Letter: Autistic student: reassignment

Michael Goforth: In St. Lucie schools, hits keep coming – Very thought provoking.

Letter: Autistic student: missed opportunity – here’s experience looking you in the face.

Letter: Autistic student: immaturity

Letter: State Attorney’s Office should do more

Letter: Young people deserve respect – I commented on this one actually. I’ve reposted the response below. For it to really make sense though, I would suggest going and reading the previous comments. I don’t know if anyone will listen, but it was worth a shot. BTW, I drew heavily from one of my previous posts for this response, just in regards to some of the stats. So if it looks familiar, that’s why.

Are you people listening to yourselves??? “No one deserves respect”?

How can anyone earn respect when they’re not shown how!?

With that attitude, is it any wonder that school shootings in the US have skyrocketed in the past 3 years?

In 2008 alone, there have already been TWENTY school shootings thus far. In the past 2 and a half years (2008 included), there have been 54 shootings. Let me put that into perspective, in the 9 years before that, there were only 42.

That’s not just all bad parenting. Admittedly, there are a lot of folks out there who shouldn’t be allowed to parent a pet rock.

But that’s not the issue at hand. The issue at hand is you folks think it’s the natural order of things to treat other people like sh!t. So is it any wonder when they start to treat you back the same way???

Respect goes both ways. You teach a kid to respect other people by teaching him to respect himself. Not the other way around.

You all don’t have any sense about you of how to nurture a society. Telling kids that you don’t give a crap about them from the beginning is a surefire way of creating mutiny later on down the line.

And you say, it’s just one kid. Yeah, well, here’s another tidbit: 3.2 million kids are victims of bullying. Want some more perspective? That’s nearly the same size of LA. That’s more than the population of Chicago.

99% of kids on the Autism spectrum are victims of bullying. Did you know that the majority of kids with Asperger’s Syndrome (the high-functioning form of autism that Alex has been diagnosed with) have normal or above average intelligence?

So think about that. You’re alienating some of the brightest, most original thinking kids from this society from the beginning.

And you’re surprised that America is the laughingstock of the entire world?

Letter: Students taught how to bully

Anthony Westbury: Teacher flap is surprise – Same guy that I linked to earlier in this post (only this is an earlier write-up, obviously missing some of the facts). I do find it admirable that he was withholding judgment this early in the game, even though he knows Portillo. Most people, as you no doubt have noticed have picked either one of two positions: Fer her or against her.

I’m of two minds on the issue, to tell you the truth. As you no doubt might have realized from my earlier posts, I think what Ms. Portillo has done is an reprehensible act against a child much too young to be experiencing such behaviors from the adults around him. While I believe what I say, I also know that this sort of thing happens far too often as a general rule.

I remember my own first grade teacher. Mrs. Letta. Woodrow Wilson Elementary School, in Norman, OK. Suffice it to say, we didn’t speak the same language. I continuously carried home “U’s” for Unsatisfactory behavior marks on my report card the entire year. I wasn’t purposely trying to annoy her. For me, I just didn’t understand the concept of first grade. Spelling test? You want me to do what?

Then again, you take my oldest brother. He couldn’t make it through the day when he was 6 without a nap still.

So we were immature. So what? We were 6. Wendy Portillo is most assuredly not.  In addition, according to one of the official documents regarding this incident, Ms. Portillo was reported to have said the following words:

“I hate you right now. I don’t like you today.”

I don’t give a damn whether or not you’re at the end of your rope or not, you do not say those words to a child–much less a student!

I speak with some authority on this subject; partially from being that student and partially from my experience with student teaching.  In fact, it was through my experience student teaching that I decided to go the music therapy route.  I found myself more interested in the kids that weren’t doing as well in class–the ones who needed extra help and more creative solutions to keep them focused–as opposed to the ones that were getting along fine.

My very own cooperating teacher said these words to me about some of the kids in the 6th grade band who weren’t up to “par,” so to speak.  She told me that they wouldn’t make it in band the next year; so to save them and herself the trouble, she just would deny them entry into the 7th grade band.

WTF?  It’s my personal opinion that kids like that need music more than the ones doing the best.  I could understand if they had lousy sounds and whatnot, but several of the kids she was talking about could play.  This one kid, he had multiple diagnoses (with a score of other problems), and was most likely undiagnosed as to being on the spectrum . . . on the other hand, he could play near-perfect renditions of Zelda theme songs on his trumpet, and had one of the finest fluttertongues I’ve ever been witness to.

I’ve been playing for about 12 years now (going on 13), and I can’t fluttertongue (an advanced technique done with wind instruments where the player plays while making that sound you get when you roll your r’s in your mouth) like that.

But I digress.

At the same time, there were some really really annoying kids in band (6th-8th); some that left me swearing under my breath in response to (but I always swore in German).  And in the general ed classes, it’s worse.  Special education is still somewhat a new concept, and while most–if not all–schools have some version of the program in their system, the standards are not set in stone across the board.  Underfunding has a large part to do with this, no doubt.

But if I were a teacher who had a kid who was driving me bug nuts and I found out that he or she might possibly have some kind of disorder, I’d find a library and start researching what I could do to help them.

Generally speaking, I got on well with the kids who were more difficult to work with behavior-wise and emotionally speaking.  It seems that they responded well to my attitude towards them.  I think that they could tell that when I looked at them, I didn’t see just a label or a diagnosis.

Simply put, I treated them like humans.

Apparently, some people don’t understand that humanity doesn’t just start at 18.

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~ by lastcrazyhorn on June 11, 2008.

6 Responses to “Alex Barton – I Haven’t Forgotten You”

  1. […] Read the rest of this great post here […]

  2. Indeed! Quite a few milestones occur at 18 or 21 but few will be appreciated unless we’ve learned a few basics during the intervening years.
    Best wishes

  3. […] lifeintheusa wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptAnd nor are you the only one. Unfortunately. Here’s an interesting thread on an education-focused board. Same sorts of responses . . . just sometimes better thought out. The following are some links to some letters (and a few editorials) to the editor about the Alex Barton. Just for simplicity’s sake, I’m sticking to the original site that aired the first story for these letters (TCPalm). Autistic Student: No Excuses Editorial: Learn From Autism Situation – I like this one because it actually takes the time to offer solutions and evidence to its thought process. Letters: Autistic Student: Questions – This person raises some of the more pertinent questions in this situation. Kate Riley (a guest columnist from the Seattle Times): Teacher’s Behavior ‘Primer for Bullies in Training’ – Excellent. Letter: Autistic Student: Remove Teacher – oh look, sanity from NC. Letter: Autistic Student: Inexcusable Action […] […]

  4. It just blows me away how cold and callus these “educators” can be. Why the heck are these people in the teaching feild at all? That teacher needs a good kick in the head. Im glad she was suspended. I dont care how bad your day is you NEVER say those things to anyone, let alone a kid!

    wtf is wrong with people?

    I feel sad going into the education feild as a daycare teacher knowing that there are such atrocious teachers out there.

    Chey

  5. Hello everyone,

    It has been over 1 month since Wendy Portillo abused my son. She is still a teacher and is still on the payroll.

    I urge everyone to once again take a stand against discrimination.

    Please one more time write and call the Port St Lucie School Board here is a great link to get you started.

    http://autisticnation.typepad.com/thinking_in_metaphors/2008/05/wendy-portillos.html

    http://www.stlucie.k12.fl.us/

    If we let this slide, the next time it will be worse.

    I am building a website dedicated to parents, children and adults who suffer from abuse through discrimination by disability. The site will be up within the next few weeks, http://www.justiceforalexbarton.com

    Please come by and say hello.

    Sincerely,

    Melissa Barton

  6. Great blog, reading it through RSS feed as well

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