Teacher’s hot sauce discipline of student with autism is downright cruel

Parents and administrators can pat themselves on the back that spanking has been banned in the majority of schools, but what about other forms of punishment? One North Carolina teacher crossed the line in her discipline strategy when she used hot sauce to punish a young boy with autism.

This teacher’s reasoning for using hot sauce to punish a student with special needs is both asinine and heartbreaking. A Weddington Hills Elementary School teacher in Concord, North Carolina, took it upon herself to put hot sauce on 11-year-old DJ’s fingers to keep him from picking his nose. Since the young student with autism is nonverbal, it would appear that this teacher thought the hot sauce punishment was the best way to get his attention.

DJ’s mother Cindy Joseph says of the incident, “She was reported of putting hot sauce on DJ’s fingers because he kept digging in his nose. She took advantage of him, and she needs to be held accountable.”

School officials have revealed that the offending teacher was suspended for one day after the hot sauce punishment and later transferred to another school. Joseph believes that Weddington Hills Elementary was too lax in their treatment of the teacher. Joseph is pushing for the teacher’s termination as she believes that the woman does not have any place teaching kids in a classroom, with or without special needs.

I completely agree. If you don’t think this hot sauce punishment is cruel, let me break it down for you. In many parts of the country, people use the “hot sauce trick” to punish dogs that won’t stop digging. I remember my dad using hot sauce on our Labrador’s paws when I was a kid to keep it from digging out of the yard. Even back then, I thought that it was cruel and unnecessary.

This teacher treated a student with special needs in the same way you would treat a dog, and that is unacceptable. She used a cruel form of punishment without the school or the parent’s permission. Joseph is right in saying that this teacher should be held accountable for her actions, and the school is not doing enough.

DJ is a young boy who can’t speak for himself. His hot sauce punishment was only confirmed when the principal found a bottle of hot sauce in the teacher’s classroom. There’s no telling how many kids this teacher has assaulted in the name of classroom discipline.

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