Some of my posts are for informational purposes. Others are meant to entertain while providing insight into the life of one person on the autism spectrum. Still others are intended to incite action. In the case of the terrible treatment of Alex Barton, I hoped that those of us who blog on Autism Hub, along with other fair minded bloggers might succeed in directing some media attention to a situation that looked as if it could end up buried on page 8, never being seen by the general public, those who don't follow autism related news as closely as some of us do. I also hoped that this would offer solace and encouragement to the Barton family.
When Autism Hub played a part, along with ASAN, in having the Ransom Notes Campaign pulled, I was proud to be involved in that. While I still believe that Wendy Portillo needs to be removed from the classroom, that a public apology needs to be made, I am not proud of what this campaign has become.
I am not trying to take credit for the attention the case has gotten. I played a very small part in organizing this; others have done more to ensure that the injustice was brought to light. But for my part, I do feel a responsibility to say that from where I sit, it is time to wait. Wait and see what happens in Florida. If further action is needed, we will be here.
I have begun to consider that Ms. Portillo is perhaps a person who found herself in a job she was not suited for, without the proper training, someone who never should have been in the teaching profession. The problems which led up to the events in Port St. Lucie are systemic, and will need to be addressed at that level.
Around the web, you can find comments stating that she did the right thing, that children must be made to behave through any means available. You will also find people saying she should be harmed emotionally and/or physically for her crime. I've heard that she is undeserving of life. This is not acceptable to me.
I have made terrible mistakes in my life. I have harmed people. I have done my best to make amends for those wrongs and not to repeat the hurtful actions. I know that if my worst moments were shown to the world, were discussed on numerous sites, some with nearly a thousand comments now, I would not want to continue living. Yet I believe in redemption (not in a passive sense, but through hard work toward change) and I hope that others, including Portillo, do too.
When people start coming to my blog and talking about revenge and sending people to hell, it is time to take a break.
Sometimes the lines between right and wrong can be fuzzy, and that is not the case here. What happened to Alex never should have happened, and should not be allowed to happen again. For the sake of the other Alexes, those whose names are not in the spotlight, it is time to turn our attention toward the larger societal problems, those which allow bullying to occur, not just in one school in Florida, but throughout this nation.
This is just one autistic person's opinion.