Pupil Idol

24 May

I’m a big fan of the original reality TV show Big Brother. Shameful to admit but true.

But I utterly hate Pop Idol (American Idol) and all those utterly vacuous shows where Simon Cowell is paid to crush people whilst the chavs of the UK and the rednecks of the US yuck it up.

And look what its spawned: Pupil Idol:

Melissa Barton said she is considering legal action after her son’s kindergarten teacher led his classmates to vote him out of class.

After each classmate was allowed to say what they didn’t like about Barton’s 5-year-old son, Alex, his Morningside Elementary teacher Wendy Portillo said they were going to take a vote, Barton said.

By a 14 to 2 margin, the students voted Alex — who is in the process of being diagnosed with autism — out of the class.

I’m going to rant and swear quite a lot now so if you’re not into that I apologise.

What the *fuck* is going on when a _teacher_ – an educator (allegedly) is allowed to humiliate, segregate and bully a five year old boy? Is this America? Or os this America?

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Which is it?

I really like America and Americans. I like the fact their speech truly is free. I like the fact that they are proud of their (admittedly short) heritage. I like the fact above all that Jews, Hindu’s, Christians, Asians (near and far east), Hispanics and good old WASP’s (as well as a multitude of others) all mix together and produce America. That rocks.

This doesn’t. This is the underside. This is a country that has allowed five year old children to _vote off_ a fellow five year old (who happens to be autistic) like he was a contestant in a frigging game show.

I would just like to say in the strongest possible terms that it is my considered opinion that the teacher, the school system and the community that allowed this to happen are scum with no redeeming features.

57 Responses to “Pupil Idol”

  1. Regan May 29, 2008 at 23:22 #

    “Do you get it now? All the autism activists in the world are not going to make a 6 year old invite a kid to their house to play if the inviter sees the invitee as odd.”
    And nothing like the classroom teacher to drive the point home for those children who might not have thought that. Children take their direction from role models, because they are role models.

    What was that song from South Pacific?

  2. BillK May 31, 2008 at 12:19 #


  3. Kev May 31, 2008 at 14:39 #

    Thanks for the updates Bill 🙂


  1. Update on Alex Barton: From the Police Report - May 29, 2008

    […] out” of Alex—-Discussing Autism asks if reality TV created the St. Lucie madness, and Left Brain/Right Brain suggests that “Pupil Idol” is nothing less than the spawn of American […]

  2. Square Pegs - May 30, 2008

    […] For the past two weeks, one post after another has been about the exclusion of autistic individuals: 13-year-old Adam Race from church—and by a restraining order. 5-year-old Alex Barton from his kindergarten class—and by a “voting out” process that has had more than a few echoes of the “Survivor” reality TV show. […]

  3. Autism Blog - Unstrange Minds - UK release | Left Brain/Right Brain - June 5, 2008

    […] I can easily imagine this happening in the West. One only has to look at the recent experiences of Alex Barton to see how quickly the West can regress to […]

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