Tabasco and other punishment

by Bill Andrews
(Las Vegas, Nevada)

I cringed when I saw the response that a teacher put tobasco sauce on a child's tongue. This is unacceptable and any Special Education teacher will tell you so. This is assault and a crime in Nevada as well as in other States. If a teacher is doing this to your child, report them immediately.

The same is true for any other type of punitive action taken by an educator, which is demeaning to a special needs child such as smearing the saliva on their face or clothing. The same holds true when such vile and disgusting techniques are used when toilet training.

Children with Special Needs, especially autism, should not be punished for something they themselves have no control over. We are not in the Dark Ages. Applied Behavior Analysis, positive interventions, the use of non-intrusive and non-punitive consequences are the tools used by responsible teachers and educators. Any teacher using tobasco sauce, physical assault or battery, pinching, the use of forced air, vile tasting fluids, or any other demeaning or degrading interventions, in any form or degree has no place in a classroom, should be dismissed immediately, and ultimately prosecuted for child abuse.

Parenting is a demanding responsibility. It is ten times more difficult and trying for the parents of children with special needs. It should be a criminal offense for those charged with caring for children with special needs to even imply such actions be taken against helpless children when the parents are only desperately seeking help in what at times seems to a hopeless and utterly frustrating situation. Love, kindness, and understanding tempered with proven non-injurious interventions are a far more reliable path than doing injury to a child who themselves do not understand their actions.

I am a recently retired Special Education Teacher with a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education as well as endorsements in Autism and in Early Childhood Special Education. Thank you.

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