And of course, the "beat them, that's what we did back in the day" school of commenters is out in full force. Another perfect example of our alacrity in leaping to conclusions. There are some rational people posting comments, as well, but it's baffling to me how anyone could defend what this woman did to a five-year-old child, special needs or not. I've taught this age. I've taught classes with several special needs children in them. And I know, as a teacher, as a parent, as a human being, that no one should ever brutalize a five-year-old's emotions the way this woman did to that little boy.
Some of the comments echo the typical complaints about how Alex Barton was "so" disruptive, how those other kids in class were being deprived of their educations. What these posters seem to fail to understand is this: What that teacher did was almost as abusive to those children as it was to Alex Barton. There were thousands of other ways she could have handled that situation that would have been more appropriate.
Some commenters cling to this idea that she's just another overworked teacher who "snapped." I've been an overworked teacher. I've worked with overworked teachers. When we "snap"--which we might do--we don't do it over a period of hours, methodically and systematically torturing a child who's been on this planet for a brief five years. We don't do it by engaging all of the other children in the class as accomplices. What Wendy Portillo did was not "snapping." It was sadism.
If anyone were to have any lingering questions about the justice done here, or any questions about what I'm asserting, all they need to do is read the police report. I've known teachers who behaved in ways described in this report, in that sneaking, nasty, pinching, tenured-sure way that they have of exacting underhanded revenge on children for their "crimes." Not many like that (I hope), but they're out there. And the last thing they should be doing is "teaching." She's suspended for a year without pay and her tenure has been revoked so that she'd return on a year-to-year contract. My question is, Why in God's name would she want to return? And why would anyone with the interests of children--all children--in mind let her?