Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Question As To Her Judgement

photo credit-navets
creative commons license

Remember Wendy Portillo, the teacher in Port St. Lucie Florida who back in May this year allegedly had her students publicly humiliate and belittle a 5 year old student, Alex, then vote him out of the class? Well, the Port St. Lucie school district finally made a decision on Wendy. According to the TC Palm:

While school district internal investigators said there's no evidence Morningside Elementary teacher Wendy Portillo meant to cause harm or embarrassment to Alex Barton, they said in a report released Thursday there is a question as to her judgment.

Additionally, the article noted:

The St. Lucie County School Board voted unanimously Tuesday night to suspend Portillo without pay for one year. Her attorney notified the School Board in a letter that Portillo intends to contest Lannon's recommendation with the state's Division of Administrative Hearings.

So after 6 months of investigating, this is what they came up with. It's certainly less than I would want for someone who psychologically traumatized a 5 year old child, but if she moves on and gets a job somewhere else it will be worth it.

The report by the school also said:

The incident could cause Portillo to lose the respect and confidence of her colleagues, students, parents and the public, the report said, citing the extensive national and local coverage of the incident.

I don't think Portillo could lose much more respect in the public eye, though in checking the comments on that story 2 out of 6 still support her.

There are a lot of great teachers out there. Buddy Boy has two of them this year in his class. But when anyone abuses 5 year olds, (especially when they are in a position of authority and trust) then that person needs to be called out.

Here's hoping other potential offenders take notice of what happened to Wendy.


Niksmom said...

I am pleased that the board recommended her unpaid suspension. There is some mention (I forget where I read it) of having her license revoked as well.

What I find most disturbing is the fact that it took so long for this to be resolved and that it still seems so, I don't know, equivocal. Seems to me that in not making a clear statement about the inappropriateness of the intent of her actions (I do not for one minute doubt she intended the distress she caused), the board left a very large loophole for other teachers to walk through.

Niksmom said...

Meant to add this: How many other cases will we see where the defense is "But I didn't *mean* for it to cause harm"?

Mrs. C said...

You know, the problem with this woman is that she admitted what she did. How many children's words are believed by authorities against a teacher's? And how often does stuff like this happen? I'm heartened she got some consequence, but thinking this sort of thing happens a LOT more than we'd like to think... and worse still other things happen, too.

Club 166 said...

The whole thing leaves me feeling like the board is trying to get away with the least it can to show it has responded, and also that Portillo thinks she can ride this out and keep her job.

And yeah, I feel like this kind of stuff happens a lot more than we're aware of.


Norah said...

Teachers do that to little 5-year-old children every day. Most of it doesn't get punished or even discovered. My little brother's kindergarten teachers (they had 2 in one class) did things like this too, to him, and even more to a little friend of his with more obvious developmental issues.

This is the thing that got her caught. It's highly unlikely that this was the first or even worst thing she did. Months of less obvious stuff can hurt you more than one event.

Daisy said...

We teachers had a talk the other day that led to a simple but profound statement: Trust is a fragile thing. I feel terrible that one of my profession traumatized a young person so badly.

David N. Andrews MEd (Distinction) said...

Portillo is lucky she's female.

A male teacher doing that to my child would be in a hospital still.

And, yes, I'm a teacher myself as well as an educational psychologist. And NO, what that woman did to her pupil is something I never would have done to mine.

She is an idiot. Period. Because there is nothign in her actioins that demonstrates that she learned anything during her teacher training. And yet she STILL protests that she was right, even though it has clearly been pinted out to her that she as fucking WRONG!

What a waste of a teacher-training place!

VAB said...

You don't have to have good judgment to get a job as a teacher. Getting rid of this one teacher will not address the problem. What is needed is a clear policy on the part of the schools as to how to address disruptive or non-compliant behavior in students, whether or not they have a diagnosis.

Anonymous said...

Parents need to be aware that this sort of thing happens more than they realize. Getting involved in the schools and observing is the best way to find out how school is going.

I agree with a lot of the comments above.

storkdok said...

I feel like the board did the least they could do. She should have been terminated permanently. She also should lose her license to teach, she breached the ethical and moral responsibilities that every teacher owes to each child.

A is just so lucky to have the wonderful and loving teachers he has.

OT, how are the ethics courses going?

judson said...

That's not good enough.
That evil skank needs to have her teacher's license revoked.
She has no more business teaching children than a child molester does.
She destroyed a little boy's self-confidence and his trust in his peers and his teacher. That would be awful for any NT child but the kid already has autism. This isn't going to make him want to reach out to people.