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Is $350,000 Enough to Compensate for Humiliation??


Photo provided by family to TCPalm


Remember the kindergartner who was voted out of his class in Florida in 2008?  At the time of this travesty, Alex Barton was being evaluated and was later diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, which is an autism spectrum disorder.  According to federal court documents, Alex Barton and his mother, Melissa, have recently agreed to a settlement of $350,000 (part of which will be disbursed after he turns 18 years old).  The teacher, Wendy Portillo, had been suspended for one year without pay.  She is not only teaching again, but had her tenure reinstated.  In a September, 2010, investigation by the U.S. Department of Education, Portillo and two other teachers were found to have discriminated against a student with a hearing impairment, denying the child a free appropriate public education (FAPE).  Clearly, the St. Lucie County school district needs to provide some free appropriate instruction to their teachers on how to teach children with disabilities! 

I would imagine that this settlement could be very helpful to Alex and his mother…including therapy to overcome such an experience.  Alex’s kindergarten teacher displayed amazingly poor judgement, lack of understanding of differences (since he didn’t have a diagnosis at that time), and insensitivity.  What we should all be working toward is “…a community where people within the autism spectrum and their families receive respect, services, and support based on individual differences, needs, and preferences” (from the mission statement of the Autism Society of NC).  Join us and help us!

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  1. dailypicnc says:

    I have followed this story since the day it took place. I can\’t believe how egregiously this teacher acted and still continues to teach. I lived in FL for several years and I can tell you that this is just a sampling of what goes on the FL school systems. While this one garnered national recognition, there are many teachers in FL that are doing even worse to our children AND still are working. Children with Autism are being arrested at an alarming rate because of behavior due to their disorder. The teachers in FL get away with this because FL lacks the support from their state DOE and the legislators. The community?!?! Forget it! If they don\’t have a child with special needs, they just don\’t care………While I don\’t believe there is ANY one place in this nation that is ideal for EVERYONE, FL just doesn\’t get it and they don\’t have to, because not enough people call them on what they are doing. Its truly very sad. I fought their school systems until I couldn\’t fight anymore………

  2. asncparentadvocate says:

    All I can say is: I can\’t BELIEVE that this teacher is STILL in a classroom! Clearly, with this latest transgression, she is not competent to be teaching children. I hope that parents of special needs children will inundate the St. Lucie school board with complaints…

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