Saturday, November 21, 2009

Florida teacher who allowed kindergarten class to "vote out" boy with Asperger's returns to classroom


PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- More than a year after she allowed her kindergarten students to vote an autistic boy out of class, a St. Lucie County teacher returned to work Nov. 19.

Wendy Portillo has been moved from Morningside Elementary School to Allapattah Flats K-8, where she now teaches sixth grade.

St. Lucie County school board members unanimously approved her reinstatement last week.

But not everyone is pleased with the decision.

"I had grave concerns about her being in the school," parent Pam Kastelnik told WPBF 25 News.

In May 2008, Portillo asked her Morningside Elementary School class to vote on whether Alex Barton (pictured) should be allowed to stay. He lost the vote, 14-2.

Alex has been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, a type of autism.

Portillo was suspended for a year without pay.