Earlier this year, an Osceola County teacher was fired for allegedly force feeding hot sauce soaked crayons to a five year old autistic child. The district has been fighting to keep the teacher out of the classroom. A judge has sided with the teacher and ordered the district to hire her back.
The teacher, Lillian Gomez, denies force feeding the hot sauce soaked crayons to an autistic child. She states that she soaked the crayons in hot sauce to deter the autistic child from eating the crayons. Parents are shocked with the ruling of the judge.
Obviously, the judge and the teacher do not understand autism. If what the teacher claims is true, that she didn’t force feed the hot sauce soaked crayons to the autistic child, she might have well have done so. She knew that the child liked to eat the crayons. This should have been addressed with a behavior plan. Instead, she took it upon herself to soak his crayons with hot sauce. Did she really think that was acceptable? Did she not think about what would happen to the child when he ate the crayons?
Gomez’s former aide claims that the teacher found the hottest hot sauce she could find, soaked the crayons, and hid them from the staff until they were really spicy. Gomez denies this, saying she never meant to punish the child, she didn’t force feed the hot sauce soaked crayons to the autistic child, and she only meant for the child to smell them.
The judge found that Gomez’s behavior was inappropriate, but not grounds for dismissal. I strongly disagree. She took actions that resulted in harming a child. Even if I give her the benefit of the doubt, and believe she did not intend to harm the child, her actions did. She has no business being back in a classroom. The judge made the wrong decision.