Wednesday, May 28, 2008

This Is NOT Okay

So a couple days ago, one of the parents on a message board I frequent posted a link to this article:

Here's a photo of this little guy, lest we run the risk of thinking of him as a hypothetical.

Of course we all-- meaning all the moms on the message board who read the story-- went straight up in arms about it.
Here is some of what I said:

Post One:
I am sitting here sobbing at the thought.
Literally, I could see this happening to my son. I am TERRIFIED of putting him in school.

What does the teacher think this is, an f'ing Survivor episode?!!

Seriously, that was so emotionally damaging for this boy AND all the students in this class. And really, those two little ones who voted against the have got to be impressed because at that age, how hard would that be?! Incredible.

Post Two
(After someone wondered whether the teacher was engaging in a misguided attempt to teach him natural consequences-- as in, if you behave in a particular manner, you will upset other people and they won't want to be around you):
If it was a natural consequence of his behavior, then I am sure he was already experiencing it.

Where did the IEP come into all of this? That's what I want to know. Because if the kid had an IEP as a result of aspergers, then there likely had to have been some kind of plan to address these types of issues with this kid.

Post Three
(When someone reminded me that there wasn't yet an IEP in place): Right. I got so wound up about this that I started forgetting some of the details. Still...

Then someone reminded us of this, from the original article:
"Barton said her son is in the process of being diagnosed with Aspberger's, a type of high-functioning autism. Alex began the testing process in February for an official diagnosis under the suggestion of Morningside Principal Marsha Cully. Alex has had disciplinary issues because of his disabilities, Barton said. The school and district has met with Barton and her son to create an individual education plan, she said. His teacher, Wendy Portillo, has attended these meetings, she said."

Of course what this teacher did would have been awful no matter what student was the victim: a student of any age, with any disability or none at all. But this teacher attended the IEP meetings. She knew what was up. This is disabilism. This is horrific!!
And now, listen to the tape (go to the following link, scroll down to the video box, and click on "watch this story"):

How on earth can the school district say this doesn't meet the standards for emotional abuse? This is absolutely NOT okay, and as for me, I am taking this very personally. Because this is a blow to all human beings who have any sense of decency at all, not to mention all of us who have children and especially those of us with "disabled" children.

But the worst of it is the fact that the damage has been done, to this child and to all the other children in that classroom. Serious damage. It will take a lot of hard work to help these children heal these wounds. The only silver lining I see is that this child is learning in a major way (albeit under unfortunate circumstances) that his parents will protect and stand up for him. May all children come to be so blessed.

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