May 26, 2008

Wendy Portillo: Scum of the Earth (updated 5/27 5:30pm)

Getting along in school can be difficult; kids can be very cruel. Children divide themselves into cliques, and those who don't fit in are the target of verbal and even physical abuse. It's even harder when a child is markedly 'different' in some identifiable manner.

5 year old Alex Bartonis being evaluated for Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism.

Common symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome include social problems, vulnerability to sensory overload, awkward posture, and a tendency to take many figures of speech literally.

Alex is - or rather was - in Wendy Portillo's kindergarten class at Morningside Elementary School. Like many AS sufferers, he has problems getting along in classroom environments, and often has disciplinary issues. He spends a lot of time in the principal's office. His parents have had many meetings with the principal, and with Ms. Portillo. They were working to create an educational plan to address his difficulties.

That's why what happened to Alex is so shocking. According to the Palm Beach Post:
A 5-year-old kindergartner was "voted out of" his classroom at Morningside Elementary on Wednesday when his teacher asked his classmates to take a vote on whether they wanted him in class, police say.

"The teacher decided to bring him in front of the class and let the other kids tell him what they didn't like about him, kind of ridiculed him," said officer Michelle Steele, spokeswoman for the Port St. Lucie police.

After all his classmates stood and told him why they didn't like him, or why he was a bad person, he was sent to spend the rest of the day in the school nurse's office. That's where he was when his mother came to pick him up after school, and that's when she first heard about Portillo's actions.

Portillo has confirmed these events, but won't comment on them.

Alex has something to say, and he keeps repeating it over and over: "I'm not special, I'm not special, I'm not special..."

His mother says he hasn't been back to school; he starts screaming when they approach the school.

As abhorrent as this clear-cut case of abuse is, it's apparently not actually against the law. Police won't be pursuing charges. And that is criminal.

It's not just that she has scarred a five year old boy for life: it's the lesson that she has taught her other students. She was taught them to be intolerant. She has taught 16 children that the way to deal with people who are different than you is to gang up on them, say terrible things about them, and then drive them out of your society.

5 year old Alex isn't a bad person; he suffers a debilitating disease. Portillo, on the other hand, really is a bad person.

Portillo should be forced to stand up in front of all of us, so we can show her what it feels like to have the vitriol dumped on her. We can tell her how we feel about her, and tell her why she's a bad person.

And then she should be voted out of the Education field. We can't vote her out of the country, of course; we have laws that protect individuals from the "tyranny of the majority."

Just as she was supposed to protect Alex Barton.

Wendy, you truly are scum.


No word on weather Wendy still has a job, but there are some other links:

WPTV channel 5's story

TCPalm's original article that broke the story.

An excellent blog that outlines the Florida laws and regulations Portillo has likely violated. (Thanks to Alex at Miami & Beyond for the link)

Another blog, this one with all the contact info for the school.

An excellent analysis at the Daily Kos, from someone who's been there.
Wendy Portillo's crime was not that she had a student with whom she could not cope. That is no crime. It was not punishing him for his behavior. That is no crime. It was foregoing the clearly enumerated process in order to take matters into her own hands and incite her students to subject a young boy to the schoolyard equivalent of a jeering mob.

Wendy "Lady of the Flies" Portillo has been removed from her classroom, but hasn't yet been fired.

The St. Lucie School Board released the following statement, according to WPTV News:
"The St. Lucie County School District received a complaint about a kindergarten teacher, and is investigating the incident to determine if there is any violation of policies, procedures or ethics. The teacher has been reassigned outside of the classroom at the district offices until further action is determined."
The Board had better be very transparent and open about its investigation; the world is watching, and we shouldn't have to wonder if our children are safe from their teachers.


  1. Isn't that just fucking charming. Too bad tar and feathering is also illegal.

  2. I think we should consider molasses and feathers; it's humiliating without the threat of third degree burns.

  3. I just cast my vote by sending her an email at and telling her she should be fired.

  4. I should mention that clicking on her picture should open a mail link to her. Also, the school administration's contact info is available at the link for the school.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Joko, I've removed your post because you gave the home address of a completely different Wendy Portillo. Had you checked a map, you'd have seen that the address you gave is 150 miles from Port St. Lucie. No one is commuting 3 hours each way for a kindergarten teacher's salary.

    Bad enough that you'd post the correct person's home address, but I won't let you drag an innocent into it. Yes, the woman is slime, but there are limits, and we must be better than she is.

    I've already linked her work email, and given plenty of links where you can express your displeasure.

  7. Completely disgusting! I have an autistic child, and if it were us, I would have had to be restrained! That is so sad!

  8. I hope that Ms. Portillo will soon feel as ostracized as she made that child feel. What an evil bitch!!

  9. I've heard of alot of cases of abuse in the public schools over the last year. I think it's akin to the Catholic Church molestation scandal, and it will explode throughout the media.

    Unfortunately, I don't recall ever hearing of a teacher being fired in a case like this. There's no accountability in our schools.

  10. Lets hope she gets hit by a car. Everyone email this bitch. Let her know the scum that she is.
    Isn't it lovely that the Union will support her. You have to kill a kid to be fired in public school.

  11. Florida needs to step up. Children are treated as second rate in Florida. Does anyone also remember the child accosted by police? Her home address was posted by the police chief on their police home page. How is that legal. Florida ought to shape up. We're thinking about you Alex.

  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  13. Here's the thing, "anonymous." I'm fine with dissenting views. Really. I'm all for it; it's how we find commone ground. But you simply lied.

    If you want to make accusations, you have to supply facts to support them. No facts, I delete your post.

    As far as I'm concerned, you're nothing but a rotten spineless coward who doesn't even have the guts to make up a name to stand behind your lies.

    Now, if you have some FACTS to report, put 'em up. Show me that you're telling the truth.

    And put a name to it; it doesn't have to be your real name, make something up. It's called a "pen-name."

    Frankly, I doubt you have the guts; it's about the outright lie you used as the centerpiece of your so-called argument. If you have to lie in order to make your point, your point isn't worth making.

    And I certainly won't let it stand.

  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  15. Pete, since you haven't backed up a single point of your argument with a supporting fact, I've taken down your post. If you have FACTS, present the FACT, and a reference that we can all check to verify the fact.

  16. I realize that you will also delete this comment, and it is your blog, but I must dismiss all information that I thought I had learned from this post since you are not willing to allow an open discussion. Many of the comments that you left up are also not factually based. Please consider your roll as a public blogger and face dissenting opinion.

  17. Synchrohobbit, f you wish to dispute any comment up here, please do so. But that must be more than "no it isn't." You'll have to link to facts that back up your claims.

    The posts that were deleted were removed because they consisted of name calling, slander, or simple lies.

    I'm all for open discourse. But discourse is discussion, not name calling or mud-slinging. And dissenting opinion means offering an opinion, not calling someone names.

    And frankly, I have to dismiss your dismissal, because leaving lies and slander on the board doesn't encourage honest discussion. If you read this blog, you'll find lots of dissenting comments.