Florida, you are the weakest link

by twit

Florida has been a distinct thorn in this country’s side since the year 2000, so the twit is beginning to think that maybe it is time to just let the state go once and for all. Perhaps we could vote on it…

From the Sun-Sentinel on May 25, 2008:

[Port St. Lucie Department spokeswoman Michelle] Steele said the boy had been sent to the principal’s office because of disciplinary issues. When he returned, [the teacher] made him go to the front of the room as a form of punishment, she said.

… After each classmate was allowed to say what they didn’t like about Barton’s 5-year-old son, Alex, his Morningside Elementary teacher Wendy Portillo said they were going to take a vote, Barton said.

By a 14 to 2 margin, the students voted Alex — who is in the process of being diagnosed with autism — out of the class.

Isn’t that sweet? A five-year-old child in the process of being diagnosed with a chronic emotional disability was targeted for public humiliation by the person responsible for his education.

In some states, this might be considered a criminal activity, because “vulnerable” people are entitled to enhanced protection under the law. But Florida appears to have a different perspective:

the state attorney’s office concluded the matter did not meet the criteria for emotional child abuse, so no criminal charges will be filed

Even though the child is reported to be experiencing significant and ongoing distress:

Alex hasn’t been back to school since then, and Barton said he won’t be returning. He starts screaming when she brings him with her to drop off his sibling at school.

Thursday night, his mother heard him saying “I’m not special” over and over. Barton said Alex is reliving the incident. The other students said he was “disgusting” and “annoying,” Barton said.

“He was incredibly upset,” Barton said. “The only friend he has ever made in his life was forced to do this.”

And the teacher had prior knowledge of the child’s apparent disability:

School and district officials have met with Barton and her son to create an individual education plan to address his difficulties, she said. Portillo attended these meetings, Barton said.

One can only hope that the civil courts in Florida do a far better job addressing this situation in the massive lawsuit this could likely become. But the twit’s not holding her breath.

A state that has already allowed this much injustice to occur doesn’t exactly instill a great amount of hope that it has much inclination or capability to protect its most vulnerable citizens.

update: A video of a May 28, 2008 CBS Early Show report can be seen here.

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4 Responses to Florida, you are the weakest link

  1. Pingback: The Golden Rule « Odd One Out

  2. sensico says:

    Florida is weak, the state is full of old people from other states they are like the left overs of other states

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  3. awalkabout says:

    And all this time, we’ve considered California to be the place of fruits and nuts!

  4. Pingback: Whitterer on Autism » Blog Archive » Alex Barton

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