EDUCATION
11/14/2012 02:17 pm ET

Lillian Gomez, Florida Teacher Accused Of Using Hot Sauce To Punish Students, Fired By District

The Osceola County School Board decided this week to toss out a judge's order, banning former special needs teacher Lillian Gomez from the district's schools.

The Florida teacher was suspended in January following accusations that she force fed students with autism using hot sauce-soaked crayons and Play-Doh. The move was reportedly to teach them a lesson about putting the items in their mouths.

"We decided to put child safety first, and not put somebody back in the classroom that intended to do harm to children," School board member Jay Wheeler said, according to WFTV.

Gomez fought her suspension and possible termination by taking her case before a Florida judge. In August, the judge recommended that the district reinstate her job, saying that while her actions were inappropriate, the district failed to prove she was trying to punish the students.

Gomez still denies force-feeding the students, and her lawyer contends that she meant well despite the lapse in judgment.

Still, school board officials rejected the judge's recommendation, officially terminating Gomez from the district.

"I find this to be borderline child abuse" Wheeler said. "Clearly there was a lapse in judgment, and to think that lapse in judgment was going to result in re-employment was fantasy."

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