Thursday, May 29, 2008

"Reality" Education? Sad Stuff!

A news item today is about the five-year-old autistic kindergartener named Alex Barton. Alex has autism. By definition, autism is a neurological developmental disorder that presents in "inappropriate" and even socially unacceptable verbal and nonverbal communication and deficient social interaction. Autistic children are locked in their box of autism to varying degrees depending on the severity of their particular disability or "different way of being."

Alex's mother learned what was happening at school when Alex came home and told her that 14 people voted him out of the class. She went to the teacher to investigate. The teacher confirmed that she had Alex stand at the front of the class while his classmates described what they disliked about him. Then they voted 14-2 to kick Alex out of class.

There is no mention of whether Alex had a vote in this process. Probably not.

It is almost too much to wrap my brain around - a teacher deliberately subjecting a child to ridicule from his peers and then a vote to reject that child! One newscaster commented that she didn't know who to feel most sorry for in the story - Alex or his classmates who are being taught by such a despicable "social experiment." Incredible!

Then the story twists and turns down other bizzare paths:
  • The teacher, Wendy Portillo, has tenure.
  • The St. Lucie County School District Superintendent Michael Lannon said there is an on-going investigation. He stated that their findings will be released in the next 2 - 3 weeks. "We will not push things under the rug and we will not stick our heads under the sand. We will deal with it," Lannon said.
" with it..." ? Wonder what that means: fire the teacher, reeducate the other students, soothe the hurt in Alex's heart?! "Deal with it" might be impossible except to put a bandaid on the problem. Alex and Alex's mother will probably not soon forget. The other students have been done a grave disservice as well.

The teacher stated that her intention was to correct Alex's behavior. (For the record, both the teacher and the school principal knew Alex is autistic.) Such shenanigans on the part of ANY authority figure are hardly going to correct behavior - ridicule and shame aren't the path to correction and restoration ever!

So, what comes next in this world gone mad we live in? Is this a new social order slithering out from under a rock? Do people now get shamed and ridiculed and then voted out of the church or the family as well? This isn't "reality"! This is madness!!!

What needs to come next is change and repentance! This kind of thinking as exhibited by Alex's teacher is the sad consequence of a world with no moral or spiritual underpinnings tied to God's standards as we find them in the Bible. It is the consequence of selfishness grown gigantic.

We live in a world badly in need of restoration! The kind of restoration we need begins in the heart! Too bad one of the two children who voted "NO" didn't stand up and say, "This is just plain mean!"

This isn't "reality" - this is the stuff of nightmares!

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