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Teacher Abused Autistic Kid with Hot Sauce

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Do you think she deserves jail time ... or was she just trying to teach him a lesson?

Sylvia Tagle special needs teacher abuses student

According to the Associated Press, a Florida jury has found a Miami-area special needs teacher guilty of abuse after police say she put hot sauce in an autistic student's soda.

Sylvia Tagle was convicted Tuesday. She allegedly gave the spiked soda to the student to "teach him a lesson." She says the boy grabbed the soda from her desk when she was with other students.

"She maintains her innocence," said attorney Ronald Manto. "She believes that she gave her life's work to working with autistic children, and she did a lot of good work, and that she did not do anything wrong."

She faces a maximum of five years in jail, and will be sentenced in October.

This reminds us of the kindergarten teacher who had students vote whether an autistic 5-year-old boy should be allowed to stay in class or not. Unacceptable!

Do you think Sylvia Tagle deserves jail time? Comment below.



next: John Travolta Testifies Son Was Autistic
47 comments so far | Post a comment now
Ben September 28, 2009, 9:28 PM

If you knew Ms. Tagle, you would not believe her guilty. She is one of the nicest people that I have ever known. What was the kid introducing to her drink? Why didn’t the paraprofessional intercede? Did this really have to go this far?

TiminPhx October 8, 2009, 8:14 AM

She doesn’t need to go to jail over this, but she shouldn’t be teaching any more.

She clearly is a burnout. Give her some sort of pension, but show her the door.

Vunerable kids do not need to have someone this spiteful teaching them.

What might she do next?

Pat October 8, 2009, 8:16 AM

I am completely outraged over this story. I have a 5yr old that has autism and he is non verbal. So I can tell you first hand when a child with autism gets fixated on an object then that is all they want or should I say it becomes a NEED.

The lesson this teacher should have learned a long time ago is how to be proactive not reactive that is the NUMBER 1 key to dealing with children with autism. If autism was her so called life’s work she should have know that. The point is all she had to do is move it!!! Or gee change the container or maybe NOT DRINK IN CLASS! She had more options opened to her and she knew it!!!! Autism is her life’s work what a crock if she could not be an adult and found another approach then I guess she was really doing a poor job at her life’s work.
My question is how many other kids has she done this to?

For those who think autism is an excuse for lack of parenting or because the child has a learning issue or are just plain BRATS you need to do some research on a subject before speaking your mind. LEARN SOMETHING before you judge someone. I am so tired of all these people who want to voice opinions or put kids down because they have AUTISM or stare at them when you’re in a store. They are not freaks of nature and there is no excuse for others reactions. Try keeping an open mind instead of mouth.

These kids have a purpose. They find ways to communicate in their own way, they want to live in peace, and they would rather hurt themselves before they would ever hurt others. Isn’t that something we all could learn from? (William Stillman “Empowered Autism Parenting” an author with Asperger’s Syndrome)
Or is it we would rather harm the defenseless before making an adult that KNEW what she was doing pay for her actions. Sure beat up on a CHILD that can not fight back let alone may not have any understand what is going on.

Until you have walked in a parent shoes that have a child or children with autism you should NOT point finger or judge people. Parents of kids with Autism really have a challenge and a fight on their hands. Not only do we have to figure out how do I reach my child to teach him/her a simple task or do they know I care? Where can I learn how to cope with a child with autism? Why do I have to fight every year to keep my child in SCHOOL? Who is going to stand by me to get threw all of this? Who can I TRUST? Is my marriage going to end in divorce like most do because one parent can not handle this challenge? Why ME? How do I know if my child is hurting when their pain tolerance is so high? And these questions are met with complete silence instead of answers. Guess what; there is no book, doctor, psychologist or anyone else that has any answers to these questions. You are left standing there alone! Trying to figure out what do I do now, where do I go, how do I manage to reach someone that is out of reach physically here but your not sure mentally?

For those who think negative about autism, guess what you may have your own child one day with AUTISM because the numbers have changed people. 1 out of a 100 kids has autism that is the new scale not 1 out of a 150 any more. As they say Autism is not the tragedy ignorance is and boy did this teacher play that card well!!!

Pat October 8, 2009, 8:32 AM

I am completely outraged over this story. Yes she does deserve what she gets. I have a 5yr old that has autism and he is non verbal. So I can tell you first hand when a child with autism gets fixated on an object then that is all they want or should I say it becomes a NEED.

The lesson this teacher should have learned a long time ago is how to be proactive not reactive that is the NUMBER 1 key to dealing with children with autism. If autism was her so called life’s work she should have know that. The point is all she had to do is move it!!! Or gee change the container or maybe NOT DRINK IN CLASS! She had more options opened to her and she knew it!!!! Autism is her life’s work what a crock if she could not be an adult and found another approach then I guess she was really doing a poor job at her life’s work.
My question is how many other kids has she done this to?

For those who think autism is an excuse for lack of parenting or because the child has a learning issue or are just plain BRATS you need to do some research on a subject before speaking your mind. LEARN SOMETHING before you judge someone. I am so tired of all these people who want to voice opinions or put kids down because they have AUTISM or stare at them when you’re in a store. They are not freaks of nature and there is no excuse for others reactions. Try keeping an open mind instead of mouth.

These kids have a purpose. They find ways to communicate in their own way, they want to live in peace, and they would rather hurt themselves before they would ever hurt others. Isn’t that something we all could learn from? (William Stillman “Empowered Autism Parenting” an author with Asperger’s Syndrome)
Or is it we would rather harm the defenseless before making an adult that KNEW what she was doing pay for her actions. Sure beat up on a CHILD that can not fight back let alone may not have any understand what is going on.

Until you have walked in a parent shoes that have a child or children with autism you should NOT point finger or judge people. Parents of kids with Autism really have a challenge and a fight on their hands. Not only do we have to figure out how do I reach my child to teach him/her a simple task or do they know I care? Where can I learn how to cope with a child with autism? Why do I have to fight every year to keep my child in SCHOOL? Who is going to stand by me to get threw all of this? Who can I TRUST? Is my marriage going to end in divorce like most do because one parent can not handle this challenge? Why ME? How do I know if my child is hurting when their pain tolerance is so high? And these questions are met with complete silence instead of answers. Guess what; there is no book, doctor, psychologist or anyone else that has any answers to these questions. You are left standing there alone! Trying to figure out what do I do now, where do I go, how do I manage to reach someone that is out of reach physically here but your not sure mentally?

For those who think negative about autism, guess what you may have your own child one day with AUTISM because the numbers have changed people. 1 out of a 100 kids has autism that is the new scale not 1 out of a 150 any more. As they say Autism is not the tragedy ignorance is and boy did this teacher play that card well!!!

Rick October 8, 2009, 10:35 AM

Wow, what a bunch of overreactive parents. Hot sauce is not a poison. Tabasco isn’t even that hot. I imagine at worst the poor little kid just cried.

I eat habaneros and serranos all the time. So all you whiny parents would consider it abuse if your autistic kid stole some of my home made stir fry? I think it would be perfectly fine to “dose” ones own soft drink with Tabasco or whatever as long as it is a food product.

I’ve even got hot pepper juice in my eye while preparing food. It hurts, but there is no physical damage. All this kid got was a hot tounge, and I’ll bet he doesn’t steal drinks anymore. Surely even autistic children learn from experience if not from language.

Pat October 8, 2009, 12:14 PM

I am completely outraged over this story. I have a 5yr old that has autism and he is non verbal. So I can tell you first hand when a child with autism gets fixated on an object then that is all they want or should I say it becomes a NEED.

The lesson this teacher should have learned a long time ago is how to be proactive not reactive that is the NUMBER 1 key to dealing with children with autism. If autism was her so called life’s work she should have know that. The point is all she had to do is move it!!! Or gee change the container or maybe NOT DRINK IN CLASS! She had more options opened to her and she knew it!!!! Autism is her life’s work what a crock if she could not be an adult and found another approach then I guess she was really doing a poor job at her life’s work.
My question is how many other kids has she done this to?

For those who think autism is an excuse for lack of parenting or because the child has a learning issue or are just plain BRATS you need to do some research on a subject before speaking your mind. LEARN SOMETHING before you judge someone. I am so tired of all these people who want to voice opinions or put kids down because they have AUTISM or stare at them when you’re in a store. They are not freaks of nature and there is no excuse for others reactions. Try keeping an open mind instead of mouth.

These kids have a purpose. They find ways to communicate in their own way, they want to live in peace, and they would rather hurt themselves before they would ever hurt others. Isn’t that something we all could learn from? (William Stillman “Empowered Autism Parenting” an author with Asperger’s Syndrome)
Or is it we would rather harm the defenseless before making an adult that KNEW what she was doing pay for her actions. Sure beat up on a CHILD that can not fight back let alone may not have any understand what is going on.

Until you have walked in a parent shoes that have a child or children with autism you should NOT point finger or judge people. Parents of kids with Autism really have a challenge and a fight on their hands. Not only do we have to figure out how do I reach my child to teach him/her a simple task or do they know I care? Where can I learn how to cope with a child with autism? Why do I have to fight every year to keep my child in SCHOOL? Who is going to stand by me to get threw all of this? Who can I TRUST? Is my marriage going to end in divorce like most do because one parent can not handle this challenge? Why ME? How do I know if my child is hurting when their pain tolerance is so high? And these questions are met with complete silence instead of answers. Guess what; there is no book, doctor, psychologist or anyone else that has any answers to these questions. You are left standing there alone! Trying to figure out what do I do now, where do I go, how do I manage to reach someone that is out of reach physically here but your not sure mentally?

For those who think negative about autism, guess what you may have your own child one day with AUTISM because the numbers have changed people. 1 out of a 100 kids has autism that is the new scale not 1 out of a 150 any more. As they say Autism is not the tragedy ignorance is and boy did this teacher play that card well!!!

anonymous October 9, 2009, 12:39 PM

There are teachers who do worse things believe me!!!! hot sauce is not that bad….it is not good, but putting kids in restrooms and holding the door shut on them is far more worse just because they are pitching a fit I think!!!! Some teachers are really whacked out there and when they are starting to do certain things then its time to change careers!!!!
Anonymous

Anonymous November 24, 2009, 4:27 PM

Tardherder - 1
“special” brat - 0!

Anonymous December 20, 2009, 6:14 AM

How would a 5 year old Autistic boy know that stealing was wrong? And maybe it wasn’t even stealing. She could have took his soda and but it on her desk and he got it back. LEave the poor child alone. You a disgusting, foul creatures how must be terrible mothers.

Anonymous December 30, 2009, 7:04 PM

As you can see the teachers is an older woman and used old school tacticts on this child. She must have forgoten that this is 2009 and now a days you so much as look at a child wrong and your facing charges. Five years for hot sauce what a joke!

sammy January 13, 2010, 1:12 AM

she made one mistake, you want to bring down her life’s work for it? So when roman polaski does what he did to a child he should be let go coz he is a celebrity and this lady did some “old school” teaching and made her msitake in her strategy and she should be jailed for five years? self righteous assholes.

gloria January 19, 2010, 4:48 PM

The hotsauce in the soda is nothing. I’ve seen it put on little fingers to stop thumbsucking. Is it abuse? No and I think the laws and parents seem to be over reacting. I bet he won’t drink someone’s soda again.
And just to add, my son has ASD, so it isn’t like I don’t have sympathy. But it seems that all of the youth of today are being coddled to death. Pretty soon they will rule the world, since adults and parents can no longer discipline.

Tyffni March 13, 2010, 8:43 AM

What is the difference between hot sauce in a soda to stop a child from stealing and putting pepper on fingernails to stop a child from biting? It is not poison. It is digestible. There are multiple ways to teach…visual, oral, tactile. Apparently the first two had not worked, so she went with 3. It’s not like she slapped him. She put bad tasting food in her drink to stop him from drinking it.

Anonymous March 20, 2010, 1:36 PM

This teacher deserves everything she gets. If anyone of you had a child with a Developmental Disability, you wouldn’t blame the child. She shouldn’t have had the drink on her desk if she didn’t want it drank by a student. First its hot sauce what is next. I say give the woman the same treatment she gave the child that was put in her care. For those of you blaming the child, your just as guilty as the teacher. Shame on You all!!

anonomys July 26, 2010, 1:02 PM

i think she deserves jail time because my mom teaches autistic children its dumb that people have to think about this!!!!!!!

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