Thursday, October 22, 2009

Alex Barton

Remember Alex Barton?  Alex is autistic.  In the spring of 2008, when Alex was 5 and going through the evaluation process, his mainstream kindergarten teacher grew tired of his autistic behaviors and had all of her students vote Alex out of the class.  They voted 14-2 to exile him, Survivor-style, and the teacher had each student stand before the class and tell Alex why they didn't like him before they sent him out of the room.


So today I read the follow-up to this horrible story.  Alex's mother home-schooled him for first grade, and now in second grade he's on the honor roll in his private school.  The evil teacher got a one-year unpaid suspension (which she unsuccessfully appealed), took away her tenure (which was later restored), and starting this November she will be back in the classroom under an annual contract.

Good for Alex, finally getting the education he deserves.  But this whole story has angered me in ways I'm having trouble expressing.  Stu summed it up best:  he said, "I would have gone in and punched that teacher in the head."

But what's most upsetting to me is the mean, ignorant, hateful comments people wrote after the follow-up story. Of the 36 comments after this article, fully 18 were like this:
Why wasn’t the mom more pro active like sitting in class to keep him calm or making sure he wasn’t disrupting the whole class with his inablility to sit still or behave when he was going to public school a system already overloaded with troubled kids it took a private school to help him booo for the post keep bringing him and his lazy mother to our attention.
Great the taxpayers are footing the bill for a kid that’s gonna end up on the dole eventually anyway. Might as well start ‘em young. Soon all the $$$ will be gone and we’ll be hunting each other like rats.
Wonder who submitted this to the Post?? The mother is a media whore who will never let this die. There are many kids with his condition that make an “honor roll” somewhere. Why is he so special. Give me break. This will be on the 10pm news for sure with the proud mommy. Geez
or my favorite:
Congratulations to the young man for getting good grades and all the hard work that went into it. However, you will certainly not hear me congratulating the mother. It took her long enough to do something about getting this child into the proper forum where he could learn. My son’s education has been disrupted time and again due to a special needs child in his public classroom. You know who has to come home from work and teach him what he missed in class that day because of the disruptions - yup - me! These parents that insist on mainstreaming their kids in the public school system are not helping them. It should be like it was a few years back - if you need special help or attention you go to a special class. This saves the child from embarrasment and ridicule and the other kids and teachers from costly distractions.

Fuck you, you fucking ignorant, illiterate assholes who are raising the children that my baby will have to deal with someday.


  1. Oh, Dith, there is so much heartbreak in parenting of any kind, and moreso when the world makes it infinitely harder.

    I think you are courageous, and if you and Stu showed up on *my* 10 o'clock news, I'd immediately write an editorial to support you the next day. And if my kid were in Ryan's class...We'd invite you all over to play. At a park with water. :)

    I can not know at all what it is like, sometimes, for you. But I can tell you that you are an excellent, caring, loving, determined and fiesty mother, no matter what kind of crap people throw out there.

  2. I worked in a regional special education school, which means all the students within a certain area were bused to my school and mainstreamed as much as possible. For most of the students, this meant they were in a mainstream classroom for the majority of the day and pulled out for an hour or two for extra reading help, physical therapy, etc. I am proud to say the majority of the parents were very happy with the mixed ability/needs classroom. It was terrific to see the students interacting together, helping each other, learning from each other, etc. Most parents ARE supportive of inclusion, and most teachers DO know how to teach in such a diverse setting and see the benefit to ALL the students. Unfortunately, the detractors are just louder and more obnoxious :)

  3. I read comments like that and am reminded of what a sorry life it must be to live with such a small-minded, prejudiced, and unenlightened brain.

    Ryan (and Alex now) are lucky to have the caring, understanding, supportive people who love and work for/with them and are happy to make sure that the above type of people don't drag them down to their low level of subsistence.

  4. wow. this pisses me off so much. To think that someone would be so insensitive as to do that to any child, let alone one with special needs. I agree with Stu, I would have punched her in the head...


Keep it civil, people.