Friday, June 26, 2009

WTF?!?! You Don't Vote a Child With Autism Off The Island (And Then Get AWAY With It!)

I am helping to spread this story around as much as I can, after I read it on one of my favorite blogs Send Chocolate Now. The blog's author, T., (Writer and founder of Autism Sucks ) wrote a piece for the Examiner regarding a very public case of discrimination against a child with Autism in a Florida public school. This was the story about the teacher that asked her students to "vote on" whether they wanted fellow classmate Alex Barton (who is diagnosed with Autism) to remain in their classroom or not. They did this in front of him, just to add humiliation and emotional damage to the grossly inappropriate "election."

Alex was voted off the proverbial island by his peers. Um, he's in KINDERGARTEN. Kindergarten people.

Disgusting you say? Yeah, I'd say disgusting. Poor judgement. Bad ethical and moral conduct. Blatantly discriminatory. Sending wrong messages on so many levels. Taking a positive 'teaching moment' and turning it into pure crap that perpetuates MORE crap and results in the overriding societal views we have about the differently abled in our community. I'm not saying he didn't have behavioral issues. But is THIS how we deal with it? Especially when the issues are a direct result of a very misunderstood diagnosis called Autism Spectrum Disorder? Are we going back to the days where we're blaming it on the child and the "refrigerator mother?" Is THIS how we want our typical children to feel about someone who is differently-abled? Vote 'em off the ISLAND???? Vote 'em out of SOCIETY????

Shall I go on? Nah, you GET it.

So the School Board of course makes a public example of of this creature *ahem* I mean teacher - she's removed from her position, prohibited from receiving tenure... yadda yadda. Sounds good, right? I mean, not that she can't be FORGIVEN... I'm not saying that. I'm just saying that one can forgive and show a little grace, but that is a separate issue from condoning the behavior and issuing punitive action in proportion to the egregious 'error.'

Well, all that was good. However, T. wrote a piece following up on the aftermath of this issue. How the School Board on the down-low just recently and very quietly gave this (poor excuse for a human being let alone) teacher her job back AND now she's allowed tenure.

Yeah, that makes TOTAL sense.

Read her blog post which links you up to her article. Read it and seethe... at the Examiner and on her awesome blog, Send Chocolate Now.


Elizabeth said...

This calls for some cliche: wonders never cease.

Beth L. Gainer said...

I'm seething already. I can't believe how a teacher can do this in front of impressionable kids. You are right: She blew a bonafide teaching moment. She could've taught about embracing diversity and differences, but instead she turned it into a voting off the island, a cruel exercise that brings out the worst in humanity.

Part of the problem is that our society CLAIMS it embraces differences, but we as a society want everyone to be the same cookie-cutter impressions of the "perfect" human. It's so disgusting.

I'm not surprised she's back and with tenure.

The world is so unfair.

tiffrutherf said...

I cant even write...Ugh..I have been threw this type of situation with my son..this stuff happens more often then people think!

Laughing Stars said...

I remember this case ... WTF indeed. When I look at the way people on the autism spectrum are treated, I want to ask why "NT" people are considered to have superior social skills. :-/

Alicia (aka Dr. Mom) said...

@ beth - Well said!!! you are right on!

@laughing stars - LOL! its true - how did neurotypical people get 'credited' as having good social skills???? i know few and far in between :) i'd rather hang out with a bunch of ASD's ANY day :)

Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

I read about the reversal a week or so ago and it just ripped the wound open again. It's completely disgusting.

Anonymous said...

What bothers me the most is that they re-hired her quietly. Sure, they didn't want the backlash, but it just reeks of guilt.

Jeannie said...

Every time I read about this situation, I'm sick. I'd like to vote her off the planet. If any teacher ever did something like that to MY Alex, there would be hell to pay.

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