A Florida judge sided with a special needs teacher who allegedly used hot sauce to stop an autistic student from eating art supplies and recommended the school district reinstate the woman's job.
Lillian Gomez was fired from her job at Sunrise Elementary School in Kissimmee, Fla., in February after school officials found out that Gomez had allegedly put jumbo-sized Crayons in a cup and soaked them for days in hot sauce before moving them to a bag that was labeled with the student's name.
The school spent more than $50,000 in attorney's fees litigating the case, according to ABC News' Orlando affiliate WFTV.
Gomez will not receive back pay and the ultimate decision of whether she will get her job back rests in the hands of the school board.
Todd Cinetti, a parent of a student at the school, said he was astounded the judge recommended Gomez return to the classroom.
"That's ridiculous," he said. " Maybe she shouldn't work with children. Maybe she should find another career."
The former teacher's attorney, Thomas Egan, said his client was only trying to help her student.
"I think she made a bad judgment in the way she went about it," he said. "But her purpose was good."
Gomez' case is not the first in hot sauce punishment.
An Alaska mother of six was found guilty of child abuse for forcing her son to drink hot sauce and take cold showers on a taped segment of the "Dr. Phil" show.
The woman, Jessica Beagley, was convicted of misdemeanor child abuse.
In 2009, a Miami teacher was convicted of abuse after she allowed a special needs student to drink a soda laced with hot sauce.
- Employment & Career