Teacher Put Hot Sauce In Autistic Student's Soda

A Florida jury has found a Miami-area special needs teacher guilty of abuse after authorities say she put hot sauce in an autistic student's soda.

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

Jurors found Tagle not guilty of three other charges, including pulling a student's hair. Her attorney says she's a strict but dedicated teacher who maintains her innocence.

Tagle taught at the Bob Graham Educational Center in Miami Lakes. Her sentencing is set for Oct. 7. She faces a maximum of five years in jail.

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  • by Terry Bollea Location: Orlando Fla. on Nov 24, 2010 at 07:45 PM
    Well, let me tell YOU somethin' ... BROTHER!!! In the first place, DUDE, if this little BROTHER woulda been sayin his prayers, takin his vitamins, and believin in himself, like all the other little Hulkamaniacs, BROTHER, this wouldn'ta happened in the first place ... BROTHER!!! In the second place, BROTHER, where's this little guy's parents anyway? Looks like I'm gonna have to drive over there in my white Hummer, and lay the smack down with these 24-inch pythons, DUDE!!!! And as far as the teacher goes, BROTHER, well, I just got one thing to say to her: WHATCHA GONNA DO ... WHEN THE LARGEST ARMS IN THE WORLD ... RUN WILD ON YOU ... BROTHER???? Hey, Troy, help me lift this 52-inch plasma tv.
  • by Jasmine on Nov 24, 2010 at 01:58 PM
    Hot sauce in soda does not equate to child abuse, that's rediculous. It might not have been the best approach, but not abuse. Shoving hot sauce down a child's throat is abuse, putting it in a stolen soda is a prank. She didn't force it on him, he chose to drink it, and could chose to stop drinking it. Get over it.
  • by Donna Location: Florida on Oct 8, 2009 at 08:14 AM
    It is not okay to let kids with autism be abused by teachers or other students. Four years ago my son was a pre K class in a Florida public school and there was a 3 y/o girl in his class that would deliberately throw it her class mates. The only reason I found out about it was because I drove my son to school(we lived 25 miles away so I did't want to put him on the bus) and one teachers aids told me about it. This little girl also assaulted other kids and I saw her lunge ant my son one time. The priciple was aware of it and made excuses to me. Finally I pulled my son out of school until they took the girl out of the class. The big problem is that alot of the classmates are unable to tell anyone that thay are being abused at school. They don't know how, because of the disability, to remember or communicate if someone is abusing them. Who is watching how our kids are being treated? He is no longer in that school because they won't protect him.
  • by southern man Location: greenville on Sep 25, 2009 at 02:33 AM
    this is crazy.most of you have done worse to your on chidren.get real 5 years drugdealers,rapist and drunk drivers who kill get less time.I don't think what she did was right nor do i think 5 years is right.
  • by Endurance Swimmer Location: Greenville on Sep 24, 2009 at 11:02 PM
    I have known 3 autistic children, and they were all different. They were well behaved, but high functioning, most commonly called Asperger Syndrome. The hot sauce probably wasn't the best approach.
  • by Nathan Location: Eastern NC on Sep 24, 2009 at 06:10 PM
    Hold up now WITN. Did she spike her own soda knowing it would be stolen? Or did she spike the student's soda because he stole hers on another occasion? Two completely different stories. If she did spike his soda, I agree with the wolfpack here. But if she spiked her own soda and the kid stole it, hey, that's on him. I mean hey, maybe she likes a bit of hot sauce in her soda. What's wrong with that? I spiked my wife's soda with soy sauce, didn't do anything but give her a sour face. Hot sauce can't be much worse. I don't think you can readily acquire hot sauce hotter than Tabasco around here, and Tabasco is not that hot. Frank's and Texas Pete are as hot, at the most. Now, I don't know a lot about Autism, and I do feel for special-needs kids, but it can't be allowed to be used as an excuse for antisocial or immoral behavior. The parents need to stop apologizing for their misfit kid and start being parents.
  • by Robert Humberstone, Sr. Location: NC on Sep 24, 2009 at 01:40 PM
    Sounds fair. Maybe the parents should be investigated for allowing their child to steal in the first place. Here's hoping they do some time.
  • by Jeff Location: Winterville on Sep 24, 2009 at 11:34 AM
    I'm not trying to be insensitive. But the punishment isn't more severe because the child was autistic. People under-estimate the child's mental capacity and the capacity to learn. To the mother of the autistic child, I admire you. The hot sauce incident was very minor and all it did was make the soda taste bad. I never had a teacher that allowed open sodas in the classroom. So the crime could have been prevented if the teacher reserved soda time for breaks. I'm just saying the teacher's crime isn't that extreme that it should have to go to a jury. The school system could have suspended her for a short period and that would have been sufficient. I doubt she is this evil monster people are making her out to be. I have a close friend with a mute autistic teenager and she is very sweet. I am not trying to come across as being insensitive. But you need to put yourself in the mind of the teacher as well. We all make bad choices that we regret. That's all I'm saying.
  • by To Jeff and Cindy on Sep 24, 2009 at 10:39 AM
    Please know that while you are entitled to your opinion, many others do not share it, including me. I have a son who as Autism, and yes, we do discipline him to teach him right from wrong. There are ways of discipline other than corporal punishment as well as hot sauce and those disciplinary measures do work when done firmly and kept consistent among everyone the child knows. Parents with children who are autistic do discipline their children. They are not "spoiled brats" as I have heard them them called. By the way, has anyone bothered to wonder why this teacher, in a classroom (no matter what kind) had an open soda on her desk in the first place? Most schools do not allow open containers of drinks (cans) in the classroom anyway. If she had problems in the past, why did she intentionally leave it there? There are many ways to look at this. I know the child needed to be reprimanded for his action, but she should have made a better choice of what type of action.
  • by S.C. Location: NC on Sep 24, 2009 at 10:39 AM
    She calls her self a teacher. time for her to get out of the teaching field. She dont need to have a soda other then at luch time like the children. I think ALL teachers need a reality check today. I just dont understand. I am ready to pull my 4 children out of school and do the home school thing.

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