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Monday, December 16, 2013

Misconduct by Teachers

The Daily Breeze reports on Suzanne Hutton, a special ed teacher at Howard Wood Elementary School in Torrance, California. Before entering a December 5 IEP, she posted on Facebook.

The meeting began at 9 a.m. By 9:15 a.m., parents of another child in the class had screen-grabbed the post and emailed it to Jacqueline Williams, the district’s director of special education. By the time the meeting ended at 10:30 a.m., an attorney who represents the school district had seen the email and forwarded it to human resources, according to one of the parents who’d been monitoring the teacher’s posts. The next morning, Hutton was removed from the classroom.
“You cross the line when you call a student severely impacted with autism a ‘hot mess,’ ” said the mother of a child in the class who asked not to be identified. “And she’s not just saying that to friends after work. She’s saying this on a completely public, open forum, where anyone can go see it.”
“She’s talking about a heavily impacted child and about a meeting that should be confidential,” said one of the parents.

He added that special-education parents already tend to worry that teachers think negatively of them, so her post had the effect of confirming those fears.

“I want her career,” he said. “She should never be allowed to work with kids again.”
ABC reports:
A Florida elementary school teacher who was fired for feeding an autistic child hot sauce soaked crayons is being re-instated on the orders of a judge who rejected the school district's appeal to keep her out of the classroom.
Lillian Gomez was fired from her job at Sunrise Elementary School in Kissimmee, Fla., in February 2012 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.
Gomez denied force-feeding the crayons and said she did it to deter the student from eating art supplies, her attorney said.
A spokeswoman for the Osceola County School District told ABC News on Thursday that after losing its appeal, the district is now placing Gomez at a different elementary school to "support other teachers" where she will have access to special needs students.
The school spent more than $50,000 in attorneys fees litigating the case, claiming in court papers that Gomez's "effectiveness" as a teacher was "severely impaired" as a result of the incident.
But the appeals judge disagreed, saying the "conduct was not so egregious" that firing Gomez could be a decision made by the courts.