Kindergartner voted out of class by peers - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Kindergartner voted out of class by peers

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Reporter Allison Bybee

It's a story that's getting attention around the nation. A teacher is accused of voting a child out of her classroom. Tuesday, the outraged mother spoke to Fox 29.

Alex Barton: The 5 year-old autistic boy's day in kindergarten put to a vote. His mother, Melissa Barton, says, "He came to me and said, "Mommy, 14 kids voted me out of my class".

His mother says teachers at Morningside Elementary told her this year her son had Aspberger's Syndrome. This causes him to be disruptive and, at times, he hums for up to 20 minutes and eats paper.

It came to a head last Wednesday. Another outburst landed him in the Principal's office.

When he returned to class, his teacher, Wendy Portillo, admits she let the students decide if he could come back in. They took a vote. The count 2 for and 14 against, "I looked at Alex and asked, "How did it make you feel?" And he said, "Sad." And she looked at him and said, "No, it didn't!" 

Wendy Portillo has been a teacher in the district since 1995. We looked into her file with the St. Lucie School District. She got high marks year after year. One year her supervising administrator said, "She is a great asset to our school."

Some parents like, Max Scarogni, back up her teaching record. "I've never heard one bad thing about her. I've been in this school for 6 years with my daughter, and everybody just loved her."

Wendy Portillo is under investigation by the school district. She has been taken out of the classroom. Now, awaiting her fate in St. Lucie County.

The district says they have received More than 1,000 e-mails. Their investigation should wrap-up in about two weeks

In the meantime, Alex has not been back to class.

We went by Portillo's home several times. At one point, we were told she was "laying low".

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