woensdag 17 juni 2009

A Time Comes When Silence is Betrayal

On April 4, 1967 -- one year before his death -- Martin Luther King spoke at Riverside ChurchNew York City saying these same words: "A time comes when silence is betrayal".

Now is that time.

It is with sadness and dismay that I write to you this evening. Alex Barton my son, was ostracized by his kindergarten teacher last year for being autistic.

This evening, Mike Lannon and the school board members of Saint Lucie County Schools decided that the civil rights of people with autism, and those who do not fit their idea of perfect do not matter.


ST. LUCIE COUNTY — Former Morningside elementary teacher Wendy Portillo said she hopes to return to teaching in local schools this fall, following a unanimous vote Wednesday evening by the school board that lets her keep tenure and contract, a decision that comes more than one year after she lead her kindergarten students to vote classmate Alex Barton out of class.

“I’m overjoyed,” Portillo said after an emotional 90-minute hearing in which more than a dozen teachers and parents urged the school board to relent in the punishment. “I’m happy that I’ll be able to go back to doing what I love to do.”

The hearing was interrupted by applause after each and every speaker supported Portillo. Many who spoke blamed the incident on a lack of adequate policies by the school system to help teachers deal with disruptive students.

Alex was in the process of being diagnosed with a high-functioning form of autism when the incident took place May 21, 2008.

School Board Website:

Melissa Barton

Unfortunately, this is the reality for many children with autism and Asperger's Syndrome. They are systematically being removed from the formal education framework and left on the sidelines of education and society in general.

This reality is the majority when it comes to Greece as a country.

Recently, the Government voted a law that allows School Principles to decide whether or not an autistic/Asperger child will be allowed to receive main-stream education in their school (usually beginning with kindergarten).

This way, autistic children in Greece are forced to enter "special school" education which will never allow them to enter main-stream education ever again. Once in a special school always in a spacial school.
Special schools are just a form of "day care" that offer absolutely no form of education to the autistic child but meaningless activities that render its brain useless...

Wasn't it Socrates who warned against the tyranny of the majority?

Now I am beginning to know exactly what he meant.