Lillian Gomez, a Kissimmee, Fla., special needs teacher, is accused of putting hot sauce on crayons as a form of disciplining her students with autism, according to WPTV.
Gomez, who teaches children with autism at Sunrise Elementary School, claims that she peppered up the crayons so that her male students would not put them in their mouths.
Unfortunately, Gomez’s solution to the problem was one that may have traumatized the children, a population that typically has problems with expression. Parents are saying that many of the children are now afraid to even touch crayons.
When teaching a child with autism who demonstrates undesirable behaviors, the professional consensus is that discipline requires a patient, thought-out approach. Instead, Gomez resorted to what many think is a cruel quick-fix.
“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,’” said Karina Holguin to WPTV, who is aunt to two 5-year-olds in Gomez’s class. When Holguin learned of the hot sauce incident, she said she was outraged. “I was just shocked and confused,” she said.
Now, not only do the family members of the abused children want Gomez fired, but the superintendent of the elementary school is also demanding that she leave. So far, Gomez has been removed from her classroom and suspended.
A termination hearing for Gomez is set for later this month.