Again Wendy Portillo has been accused of discrimination against a child with special needs in her classroom. The fact that Ms. Portillo continues in her abhorrent actions is not surprising to me. What is surprising is that she is still teaching, still in the classroom with children with special needs.

In May of 2008, I wrote about Alex Barton who was then 5 years old.He was voted out of his kindergarten class because his fellow students felt he was “disgusting” and “annoying”. The classroom teacher suggested the vote – the school prinicpal supported the teacher.

Portillo was teaching kindergarten at Morningside Elementary in Port St. Lucie, Florida. She sent Alex Barton to the principal’s office for disciplinary reasons. When he returned sooner than expected, Portillo brought him to the front of the classroom and allowed his classmates to tell him how his behavior affected him. Portillo then initiated a classroom vote to see whether Alex should be allowed to come back to class. Alex lost the vote 14-2.

Portillo was given one-year unpaid suspension. She returned to teaching in November 2009. She was assigned to teach sixth-grade science at Allapattah Flats K-8.

But Ms. Portillo has again been accused of discrimination against a student with a disability.

“OCR investigated and found compliance concerns,” the press office said. The situation is being monitored after the Office of Civil Rights and the district agreed Aug. 9 on a resolution plan, the press office said.

Portillo and two other teachers were named in the complaint, which said the teachers did not consistently wear a microphone during class, required so a hearing-impaired student could hear the lessons, according to WPEC Channel 12 in West Palm Beach.

School District officials said the teachers will get training.

“The St. Lucie County School District has agreed to retrain the teachers to consistently use the audio enhancement devices per the resolution agreement with the Office of Civil Rights. It continues to be the mission of St. Lucie County Schools to provide the most effective learning environment for all students,” district spokeswoman Janice Karst said in a statement.

Karst said Portillo is continuing to teach.

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