A St. Lucie County teacher who let her kindergarteners decide whether an autistic child could remain in class has been suspended.
The county school board voted unanimously Tuesday night to suspend Morningside Elementary School teacher Wendy Portillo without pay for one year.
The incident arose one day in May, when a 5-year-old student in the process of being diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome was referred twice to the principal for discipline problems.
Portillo then allegedly asked the class to vote whether the boy, Alex, should stay in the class. He lost the vote 14-to-2.
The teacher's attorney said she will contest the suspension. The boy's mother, Melissa Barton, said she should be fired.
Hundreds of parents of autistic children signed an online petition to get Portillo fired for her alleged tactics that mirrored the reality show “Survivor.”
Barton claimed Alex was punished for symptoms of his disability, such as humming and eating his homework. He didn't return to school after the incident and told his mother he felt sad about it.