Boy given hot sauce as punishment at special needs daycare, mom says

BRYANT, Ark. -- An Arkansas mother was shocked to find out a teacher at a daycare for children with special needs allegedly forced hot sauce into her four-year-old son's mouth as punishment. Now, she wants the teacher fired.

Melania Whitley's son, Tanner, attends Friendship Pediatric Services in Bryant, Arkansas, for speech therapy. Last month, he came home from daycare and started vomiting uncontrollably.

When she asked him what he had eaten that day, Tanner said a teacher gave him hot sauce as punishment for hitting a friend, KATV reports.

"You just don't expect that. They're supposed to be qualified to work with special needs children. They're supposed know to not give hot sauce," Whitley said.

She called police after confronting the teacher. A Bryant police report said the daycare director, Karla Curry, said the teacher admitted to putting hot sauce in Tanner's mouth - and said it is a common discipline for children in her culture.

The Arkansas Department of Human Services said the only approved method of discipline is time-out.

"They should at least fire her I think. Just, anything. Just, something at all. I know for a fact she still works there," Whitley said.

Curry said the daycare is fully cooperating with the DHS investigation. She did not confirm whether the teacher is still employed.