A Teacher Tries To Abuse A Kid With Special Needs, A Judge Lets Her Off
Back in February, I wrote about a special-needs teacher who doused crayons with hot sauce to prevent a kid with autism from putting them into his mouth. I considered it a form of abuse back then, and I still think it is. So did the Osceola County, Florida school district where Lilian Gomez worked: After her hot sauce method of discipline came out, she was fired from her job.
On Friday, a judge issued an order recommending that the district give her back her job, saying her behavior was “inappropriate” but that there was no proof she’d tried to punish the student. The final decision about her job will be up to the school board.
Gomez placed jumbo-sized crayons in a cup, poured hot sauce over them, and placed them in a bag with the student’s name. Her defense: “The intention was never to punish the child,” she said. She testified that she never put the crayons in the child’s mouth, and just wanted him to smell them.
I have zero objectivity here, as the parent of a child with special needs. But I do think that this is abusive. Even smelling a crayon with hot sauce can be very uncomfortable. If this child had sensory issues, as kids with autism often do, it could have been downright painful for him.
Can you imagine a teacher in a “typical” classroom ever trying this? It most likely would never happen, especially because a neurotypical kid would immediately rat out the teacher. Kids with autism and other special needs are more defenseless. Some don’t have the wherewithal to know that hot-sauce on crayons is a bad thing; some also lack the ability to speak.
I honestly don’t care what this teacher’s intentions were; I’m concerned about her idea of discipline. Yes, it can be very challenging to guide and protect children with special needs. But I say that deterring them with anything that makes them physically uncomfortable, or that could cause them pain, is abusive.
I do not think she should get her job back.
From my other blog:
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Tags: Hot sauce, Hot sauce on crayons, Lillian Gomez | Categories: Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Children With Special Needs, Disability, Down Syndrome, Must Read, SPD, Special Needs, Special Needs Parenting, To The Max