Holy crap. What does the Florida state attorney's office consider emotional child abuse???
Not only was Alex Barton emotionally abused, but so was his entire class.
There's alot of buzz about how this child may have autism, and that autism caused behavioral issues, and this incident stems from those issue and behaviors.
I don't give a flying flip if he was from Mars and spit on the grave of the teacher's grandmother. You don't use a classroom of children to publicly humiliate a child. If having every peer a child has stand in front of him and tell him that he is not liked for various specific reasons and then vote him out of the class isn't emotional child abuse, folks, what the hell is??? It isn't like he wasn't just in the principal's office, for pete's sake! Don't you think he was already appropriately reprimanded? Do you have rub his nose into the dirt, too?
We always know when there has been a problematic incident at school; Joey comes home very upset, often repeating phrases such as "You're going to Ms. T!" or "Do you need to see Ms. T?" or "Ms. T... room 44." Ms. T is our principal (whom he actually calls Ms. T- I'm not hiding her name for FERPA. That is Joey's name for her.) We had a pretty long stretch after Christmas when it was so bad, and he was so perseverative on this, that I called and asked if he had been sent to Ms. T for something. He hadn't.
But other students in the class had. Some of them go quite regularly, even when in self-contained situations. If the strategies for dealing with behavior run out, that is where a student must go, so everyone is safe and the situation can be addressed. However, it doesn't just impact the student in distress; it also distresses the classmates- including Joey.
All of those students were part of beating up on a classmate. How many of them now live in fear that they may be next?
So I don't even see this as one count of child abuse. This was an assault on an entire classroom of children, with Alex Barton as the focus. If our current information is correct, and the teacher confirmed that this incident occurred, I have no idea why she remains employed. Even if the police do not know abuse when they see it, surely the school administration can clearly see a case of intentional causing of emotional distress in a child? Surely immediate suspension for a investigation is warranted? And if our information is, in fact, correct, a speedy dismissal?
Why aren't all the parents- not just Alex Barton's- up at arms about this, calling for this teacher's immediate dismissal? If this was either of my kids, they would not be returned to that class for any reason. And if immediate action wasn't taken, I'd be thinking "lawsuit" too.
Since Google seems to have picked up on this post (thus channeling a good bit of new traffic to this post), allow me to direct folks to some other excellent posts on the subject. All of these blogs are worth reading. Sorry if the list is not inclusive of all the great blogs and posts which have addressed this, but you should make the rounds of most of them after checking these out and the posts and blogs the refer to:
Whitterer on Autism
Mom- Not Otherwise Specified
Big White Hat
A Room of Mama's Own