Hundreds of parents of autistic children are signing an online petition to get Florida teacher Wendy Portillo fired for her alleged tactics toward a 5-year-old boy that mirror the reality show “Survivor.”
Morningside Elementary School in Port St. Lucie, Fla., alerted Melissa Barton this year that her son, Alex, suffers from a high-functioning form of autism called Asperger's Syndrome, FOX 29 reported.
Barton claims that Alex was punished for symptoms of his disability, such as humming and eating his homework. She says Portillo went too far last week when she kicked Alex out of class, and then allowed the other students to vote on whether he should be allowed back in.
Each student was also allowed to say what he or she did not like about Alex. By a 14-to-2 margin, the students voted Alex out of class, according to The South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
“She said this was her way of correcting his behavior,” Barton said. “I asked him how that made him feel and he said, ‘I feel sad.’”
Barton has filed a complaint with Morningside's school resource officer, who investigated the matter, Port St. Lucie Police Department spokeswoman Michelle Steele told the Sun-Sentinel.
But the state attorney's office decided the matter did not meet criteria for emotional child abuse, so no criminal charges will be filed, Steele said.
The teacher has been disciplined, however.
“Ms. Portillo has been reassigned outside of the classroom at the district offices until any further action may be determined," St. Lucie County School District said in a statement.
Alex has not returned to school since the incident, and Barton says he won’t be going back.
"He was incredibly upset," Barton told the Sun-Sentinel. "The only friend he has ever made in his life was forced to do this."