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First Published Wednesday, 28th May, 2008.

Fla. kid ‘voted out’ of class has autism

Published: May 28, 2008 at 12:40 PM

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla., May 28 (UPI) — A Florida family says their 5-year-old son, who was drummed out of his elementary school class, has been diagnosed with autism.

The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post said Wednesday that Alex Barton was found to be autistic by a psychiatrist on Tuesday, about a week after he was allegedly stood up in front of the room at Morningside Elementary School in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and forced to listen to his classmates tick off a list of things they didn’t like about him.

The class then reportedly voted 14-2 to send Alex packing.

“That anyone would do that to a child, it’s just sickening,” Alex’s mother, Melissa Barton, told the newspaper.

The Bartons were angry enough that they filed a police report. The teacher in question has been reassigned outside the classroom, the newspaper said.

The head of the district’s special education department told the Post that teachers generally aren’t given training on dealing with autistic students until one of their students had been officially diagnosed.

Source:  http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/Top_News/2008/05/28/fla_kid_voted_out_of_class_has_autism/2940/

Further Report:

Mom Outraged After Son, 5, Voted From Class

Mother Wants Teacher Fired

POSTED: 11:12 am EDT May 28, 2008
UPDATED: 11:49 am EDT May 28, 2008

A South Florida mother wants her son’s teacher fired after his classmates voted him out of their kindergarten class.Alex Barton, 5, was instructed by his teacher last week to stand in front of the class at Morningside Elementary in Port St. Lucie and listen as his classmates described what they disliked about him, according to a police report.The boy’s teacher, Wendy Portillo, then had the class vote on whether Alex should be kicked out of the class, authorities said.

Alex’s mother, Melissa Barton, said she was shocked to hear what had happened when her son came home last Wednesday, WPBF-TV in Palm Beach Gardens reported.”He came to me and said, ‘Mommy, 14 kids voted me out of my class,'” Barton said.Barton, who said her son has been diagnosed with autism, said she then went to her son’s teacher for answers.”She basically told me that she put him in front of his entire class and asked each child to say what they don’t like about Alex, and they voted him out of his class,” Barton said.Barton said her son’s teacher and the principal at the school knew Alex had been tested for autism. WPBF was unable to reach them for comment.St. Lucie County School District Superintendent Michael Lannon said he has received nearly 300 e-mails from all over the world about the case.Lannon said Tuesday that the school district is investigating and is expected to release their findings sometime in the next two or three weeks.”We will not push things under the rug, and we will not stick our heads under the sand. We will deal with it,” Lannon said.Alex’s mother said she wants Portillo fired, but Lannon said that there is a certain process the district must follow in cases like this.

Source:  http://www.nbc4.com/education/16413083/detail.html

1. Denise left…

Thursday, 29 May 2008 1:47 am :: http://www.myspace.com/moto110

Yesterday was a huge day for my Son Michael. He finally graduated. This was not a normal thing like most children in this world. Alot of people just dont understand what this child or I guess I should say Man has been through.

First of all he has the highest level of ADHD that you can have. Growing up for Michael was not a easy task by no means either. I was 17 when he was born and it was not a easy road for a long time. He dealt with me and his father getting a divorce. He dealt with watching his father battle a drug problem. He lost a Step-Dad that truly cared for him… He has always looked for that solid Father figure that was going to be there for him when Michael needed them not when they needed Michael. His Poppy is the only sure man that Michael has had since birth.

School life for Michael was always tough. Fighting ADHD on a daily basis was always his toughest task. The schools even had special meetings that if he couldnt be still that he had permission to go outside and run around the school to get rid of the energy busting out of him. He had very little control over ADHD. He would say out loud “Self please chill out”. He hated taking medicine cause of the zombie side effects. So we just dealt with it. The teachers were always at wits end with Michael. They just didnt get it. I would go talk to them and their exact words is “I want to hug him and at the same time I want to pinch his head off”. Michael loves everyone, and everyone loves Michael…… His grades wernt the greatest and I was just happy that he even had a grade.

His Junior year started and here was our first meeting of how we are going to deal with Michaels ADHD this year. They made him a stand up desk so he could wiggle around freely in the back of the room. And before the meeting was over Mrs. Gilpatrick stood up and looked Michael straight in the face and said “Why dont you just quit? Your almost 18 now.. Go get your G.E.D.” It took everything that I had in my power not to just get up and go off. I bursted out in tears and did throw a little bit of a fit. His head just dropped and he had that look of failure all over his face. He told her that he wasnt proud of the ADHD but he wanted to stay in school. I politely told her in a stern voice that she needed to keep her opinion to her self. All the way to work that day I cried my eyes out for fear that he would quit school. I told him over and over we made it this far lets keep going.

After that teacher spoke those words to Michael he always felt as if he wasnt wanted at school looking for the perfect reason to give up. He is constantly looking for the place where he fits in. He is constantly on the go. If yu want to punish Michael to the worst level just make him sit in a chair for a hour. He cant do it, the energy is bursting out of him.

Junior year was finally over and he was finally going to be a Senior. I was so excited that he was finally going to make it. He turned 18. We went and bought him a new jeep. He was so high on life. He now had a new ride that the top come off and he could just go and go. 23 days later he was hit head on by a man that was drunk, had no drivers licence, no insurance, no tags and it wasnt even his car. It hurt Michael so badly that he had to be flown to Earlanger in Chattanooga. His jeep was totalled. His face was so bad that his nose was within a 1/4 inch of being ripped off and nearly lost his eye. His chin was cut so bad that his tongue was coming out of it. He was so determined to make me calm down that he made me kiss him and he tried to assure me that he was ok. I could have lost him on that day so easily.

Senior year was finally here and he was only going to school two hours a day and then he was on the Co-Op program where you got a credit for working. So he was out of the teachers hair and they were basically rid of him. They seemed pleased. So I get a phone call from Michael in December that they are going to MAKE him graduate early. I would have never had time to get there for that. It was going to happen within the hour. NO NOTICE NO NOTHING! I called and demanded that he get to walk the line in May cause it was them that wanted the early graduation not me or Michael for that matter.

May finally came and last night I got to see My SON walk that line. All day long I teared up so many times. I honestly thought that he would give up before this day ever came. What people think of Michael means so much to him. He is definatly the light of the party. He is so much fun to be around. To see him shake that mans hand and take that diploma with his other all I could do is yell “You finally did it Michael” I was never so proud in all my entire life. I was so high in the clouds that I had to look down to see everyone. I cried so hard that I couldnt even stop. now is the kicker……..

Michael was next to the last in the line. I didnt care where he was as long as he was in that line. The last boy to graduate was wheelchair bound and he has severe cerebal palsy when he got that diploma he was so happy that he started shaking uncontrollably and everyone stood up and clapped and watching the tear roll down that boys face cause he was so happy cause he finally made it too. No matter whats wrong with you, if your in a wheelchair or if you are fighting ADHD everyone deserves the opportunity to be treated equal. I am so proud of Michael and the boy in the wheelchair, they both beat the odds. They both found the final result. They may not have had the highest GPA but they left that building that night with their heads held higher than anyone there cause they struggled more than anyone for that piece of paper.

Ok sorry I bored you all to death with this but I just wanted to get this off my chest. I have thought about it all day and I am a proud mother of a graduate of Livingston Academy 2008 class.

2. Julie left…

Thursday, 29 May 2008 1:49 pm

Denise, thank you so much for sharing this. It’s made my week! Firstly, my most sincere “Congratulations!” to Michael upon his graduation. What a moment for you both! You have both been through so much and your story, your words, are truly inspiring.

I wish you and Michael a future with far fewer struggles, and far greater happiness than you’ve previously known. I’ll be including your blog site among my favourites here. It’s an absolute pleasure to know of you both.

Again, “Congratulations!”


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