Today’s winner is Wendy Portillo. She gets the award for the following–
The St. Lucie County School Board voted unanimously Tuesday night to suspend without pay Morningside Elementary School teacher Wendy Portillo for one year after she allowed her kindergarteners to vote on whether 5-year-old Alex Barton could remain in class.
Board members acted on a recommendation by Superintendent of Schools Michael Lannon, who also recommended that Portillo be put on an annual contract — Portillo had been tenured — and plans to ask the state Board of Education to revoke her teaching certificate for one year.
Lannon wrote Portillo a letter stating that her actions “caused community and, in fact, worldwide outrage and condemnation.”
According to Port St. Lucie police reports, Portillo brought Alex to the front of the classroom that day and asked other students to tell him how his behavior affected them. Alex, who was in the process of being diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at the time, had left the class twice that day for discipline referrals to the principal’s office.
After classmates talked, Portillo then asked the class to vote on whether Alex should stay in the class. Alex lost the vote, 14 to 2.
“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 the report.
School isn’t some episode of Survivor. If children voted out classmates, kids who fit in for no better reason than their speech impediment or having a big head because of the way doctors botched their delivery into the world, would be ousted every day. Those last two describe me, and I was picked on unmercifully as a child.
Wendy Portillo deserves to lose her job, not just be named today’s Knucklehead of the Day.