Teacher Suspended for Putting Hot Sauce on Crayons to Stop Autistic Students From Eating Them

Categories: WTF Florida
hotsauce.jpg
A Florida teacher is in hot water after administrating some hot sauce-based discipline.

Lillian Gomez, a special needs teacher at Sunrise Elementary School in Kissimme, Florida, had a problem with some of her autistic students eating the crayons. So, she decided to dip the crayons in hot sauce. She's now been suspended.

Now, WFTV reports that some of the student's family members want the teacher fired.

"I was really upset. I couldn't believe it. Honestly, I was like, 'How can a teacher of so many years do something like that?'" Karina Holguin, the aunt of two of the young students, told the station. "They got to be traumatized, especially for a kid who can't express himself like any other children that can tell you this hurts or doesn't hurt."

They may just get their way. The Osceola school district superintendent has recommend that Gomez be fire for the Fall incident, and a termination hearing is scheduled for later this month.

Hot sauce-based child rearing is a bit of a blurry line. Putting hot sauce on a kid's thumb is an old trick for kids who suck their thumb a bit too much, but on the flip side you have the case of an Alaskan Mom who repeatedly forced her adoptive child to gargle hot sauce as a punishment.

Given that this teacher wasn't the children's parent and the developmental disabilities of the children involved, its no surprise that the superintendent decided that Gomez was on the wrong side of that line.

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27 comments
DIANABOL
DIANABOL

lucky it was something harmeless like hot sauce.

Cho_chiyo
Cho_chiyo

So, I suppose she was just supposed to let the kids eat crayons?  It isn't like she dumped a bottle of hot sauce down their throats.  Hot sauce is at least a food.  Unlike crayons.  Teachers cannot win in this world.  I would never advise anyone in this day and age to go into teaching.  They  expect the impossible, treat you like shit, throw you under the bus when it is to their benefit, cheat you year after year after year, then dispose of you like a used tissue to save a couple of bucks.

Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be teachers.

Sunshine91801
Sunshine91801

There are always two sides to every story and unless you were there you don't know everything. I don't know if this was an appropriate response to getting children to stop eating crayons, however working in an elementary school with autistic children I will say that you often need to be innovative and think outside of the box. Would it have been a better choice for this teacher to go to the parents, administration,etc first? Yes. Maybe she did, unfortunately not all parents are proactive in their children's education. Do I think she meant any harm? No. Behavior Modification therapies take time. Taking crayons away in an elementary school is like saying take away the books if someone eats paper, they are learning tools that are necessary. We should always advocate for those who cannot stand up for themselves, but that doesn't mean that we should overreact or criticize someone else's actions just because we don't like or understand their thought process. 

Kimmbailey53
Kimmbailey53

I think the teacher could have investigated the idea one step further and given the children crayons dipped in a food they do not like the taste of. that is not going to harm them,.

Nancy Peske
Nancy Peske

Children with autism almost always have sensory processing disorder, meaning their brains interpret sensory information atypically. Oral sensory seeking is often a problem, but you don't trick them in this way--this teacher may have set them back MONTHS in terms of progress toward appropriately meeting their oral needs. She needs to be fired.How are teachers being screened and trained that one of them would even think to do such a hostile, aggressive thing? Even if she knew nothing about SPD, which is inexcusable if she's working with children with autism, she should ASK people more informed than she what to do about oral sensory seeking. Ask the parent, the OT, the outside therapist. For goodness sakes, do an internet search on oral sensory seeking and you'll learn what to do to keep these kids from inappropriately meeting their needs!

http://www.sensorysmartparent....

Ell
Ell

one question with any children or autistic children. should they learn for themselves or should you as the adult interrupt how they learn? Autistic children learn in their own way  and to change that would cause a traumatic experience as some say but letting them eat the crayons and the amount of crayons at that  could cause blockages because they are made of wax. Which could lead to surgery and more doctors visits which as you say is a traumatic experience. So one more question,  Which one is worse letting them learn for themselves or babying them.     

Kels
Kels

I can honestly and truthfully, whole-heartedly say...I hope those of you who think this is a good idea, choke on your words.  For humanity's sake. People who don't have a clue how to raise children - shouldn't be teaching them either.

Starfirelite79
Starfirelite79

My nephew is autistic. If I found out someone did something like this to him, for my sister, I'd go postal on that person!!

Cathybarrows
Cathybarrows

 It was wrong and MEAN as hell. She could have just taken away the crayons until She found a better way to deal with it. 

Jo W.
Jo W.

Umm. Crayons are non-toxic for this very reason. There are ways of utilizing ABA therapy and OT to learn the behavior away. All she had to do was report the behavior as self-injurious on the IEP. It would have been addressed with the therapist the children already see. Did she notify the parents of the behavior? Ask if there was something they do at home that works at preventing it? Doesn't sound like it. I have a daughter with autism, a son with developmental delays, and have worked with special needs kids in an elementary school setting. She should be fired. If she smacked them every time they ate one, is it any different? She's abusing these kids, plain and simple

Tax2death
Tax2death

A good teacher would have come up with a way to teach the kids without resulting to hurting a child to stop them hurting themselves is rediculous. If they hit themselves would she punch them?

ZongPooo
ZongPooo

Sometimes you just have to really wonder.Total-Privacy dot US

zenghooo
zenghooo

lol, so what is the problem? Sounds legit idea to me!Total-Privacy dot US

Nicole
Nicole

But then again if she allowed them to eat the crayons she would have been in hot water too. You can't win. As someone with an autistic relative I think this idea is brilliant. It's hot sauce people not poison.

seep
seep

I once took a piss after chopping a Habanero pepper. Once.

Fred
Fred

No, the superintendent let the teacher take the fall. I wonder how he would have gotten a disabled child to stop eating the crayons? If the teacher had just allowed the child to eat the crayons, what would the parent say upon findings crayons in their poop?Anyone that has ever taught severely disabled kids know that we are often faced with these fine lines of how to stop our children from these self-harming behaviors. 

guest
guest

And I suppose you think that the autism and related behaviors can be disciplined out of them.

Gretchka
Gretchka

Was that a serious question?? They do not learn by themselves, they can be thaught. I have an autistic child, and you just have to find a way to teach them, because they all learn in their own way. I don't baby him, and I don't have to put hot sauce in the crayons either, if their heath is a concern, how about keeping crayons out of their reach unless they are closely supervised?? My kid used to eat the Play Doh, behavioral modification showed him it wasn't right, now he plays with it, and no hot sauce needed!!!

Guest
Guest

you're an idiot. 

Kerry
Kerry

Brilliant?  I certainly hope that relative never considers leaving their child in your care.  

Ann
Ann

I hope you aren't responsible for the care of that relative.  People like me deal with behaviors like this all the time, and I assure you, neither I nor the multiple therapists and educators I work with use hot sauce to get results with children (or adults).  It's not necessary, nor is it effective.  It's bad teaching, bad therapy, bad psychology.

Cho_chiyo
Cho_chiyo

Hot times in the old town that night, huh?  LOL

Witch099
Witch099

Honestly that is the most ignorant thing I have ever heard. This women has been abusing autistic children in this district for years. When the parents come forward the district just moves her to another school. So the superintendent is not so inocent here.

Cindyclink
Cindyclink

Most parents of children with special needs would have already been aware that their child had the habit of eating things like crayons so I doubt that "findings crayons in their poop" would have been much of a surprise. Not to mention that crayons are non-toxic and probably not nearly as harmful to a child(any child, not just one with special needs) as hot sauce. The thought that any person that would do this to a disabled child is disgusting, it's not about letting someone "take the fall" it is about what this person who was supposed to be trained to deal with these sorts of behaviors CHOSE to do. I have to agree with Kerry, that if the teacher was that concerned about the behaviors, why did she not contact the parents?

Kerry
Kerry

And anyone who has ever parented severely disabled, non-verbal kids would hope that the teachers would communicate their concern via a brief note, phone call or email to obtain a suggestion for preventing the child from eating the crayons.  Utilizing Hot Sauce as a deterrent is not crossing a fine line...it's simply wrong.

Ann
Ann

We've had lots of habits we had to stop my son from doing, and none of them involved hot sauce.  And yes, he is 'severely disabled'.

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