Where a dad of two great kids (one on the autism spectrum) muses about life.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Education, Survivor, and Hamburgers
I think Amanda was the first to point out the recent abuse of a Kindergarten student in Port St. Lucie, Florida. And many others have since weighed in (scroll down the linked blog for a list of other posts).
I would imagine the vast majority of those who read this blog have already heard about this, where a Kindergarten teacher thought it thoroughly appropriate to have a 5 year old student stand in front of the class while his classmates were instructed to tell him what they didn't like about him. The teacher then thought it would be a good idea to have his classmates vote on whether he should be allowed to stay in the class or not.
They voted him out, by a vote of 14-2, in a move reminiscent of the American TV show, Survivor.
The vast majority of blogging on this that I have seen quite rightly call for the "teacher", Wendy Portillo, to be fired immediately.
Bev has kindly posted some contact info for key people that we can register our (polite) displeasure with.
I especially enjoyed Shawn's post at Along The Spectrum as he detailed how although Portillo's actions were especially egregious, that there was blame enough to go around to the whole system that allowed this to happen.
It has been recognized that teachers are sometimes bullies. Some teachers bully because they are sadistic, and some because they were once bullied themselves.
Bullying isn't only something that happens in schools. Increasingly aggressive managers in the workplace sometimes bully their employees, in a style of management referred to as "Hamburger Management". In this form of management, competition is stressed amongst workers, with workers constantly encouraged to be better than their co-workers, and be "winners".
While bullying in the workplace is also wrong, at least the ones being bullied are presumably adults and have the possibility of leaving to find work elsewhere. Often when pupils in schools report bullying, they are not believed, the bullying continues and often gets worse, and they can suffer long term mental health consequences.
Once again, I encourage everyone to go to Bev's blog for a list of the people you can (politely) contact to let them know that such situations are unacceptable.
Me- Joe, husband of a great wife, and dad to two great kids, who were both adopted at birth.
Liz- My ever understanding wife, who manages to wear many hats (mom, advocate, therapist, teacher) for our kids.
Buddy Boy- Born in 2000. Funny, intelligent, inventive, and autistic. Loves machines.
Sweet Pea- Born in 2002. Typical little sister. Competitive, outgoing, and smart. Loves anything pink.