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From Channel 6 in Orlando, FL:

ORLANDO, Fla. — A Central Florida day care worker has been fired after being accused of putting hot sauce into a child’s mouth as a form of discipline, according to the Department of Children and Families.

The incident happened on Wednesday at Sugar & Spice Learning Center, located on South Ferncreek Avenue in Orlando.

The worker has not been identified, but DCF officials are investigating the incident.

“(The owner) did tell me that the employee was terminated and that this is certainly not behavior that’s condoned by the facility,” Carrie Hoeppner of the DCF said.

“All the questions need to be directed to the spokesperson for our company,” an unidentified worker told Local 6 News.

The worker did not provide the name of the spokesperson or the owner’s name.

Many parents were upset after hearing about the allegation, but at least one parent was indifferent.

“Hot sauce? It’s a food. What’s it going to do to them? Most of them eat hot sauce anyway, so what’s it going to do to them?” a parent only identified as Kimberly said.

The day care is owned by ARR Learning Centers, and the company’s Web site says “…children are provided with a warm, loving environment, where the children feel safe, secure and happy.”

It is not known if the child allegedly given the hot sauce was hurt or is still attending the facility.

The day care could lose its license or face fines, Local 6 News reported.

Watch Local 6 News for more on this story.”

My own thoughts on this? Hot sauce fans like myself hardly go a week without pouring the liquid heat on at least one food item I scarf down. I even encourage my own young sons to try spicy food and hot sauces (just as long as they’re of a relatively mild variety). I’m inclined to side with the parent identified as “Kimberly” above – it is food, after all, with nary a negative effect on the body after consuming it; in fact, hot sauce and hot peppers are good for the human body in a number of ways.

I even believe in physically disciplining the child in certain, controlled and appropriate circumstances – which include spanking, a swat on the rear end with belt, and something that’s similar to what is written above: washing the kid’s mouth out with soap. Having soap on your tongue to me would be far worse than hot sauce.

But there’s a couple of big “buts” that would apply here…

For one, the story fails to mention what kind of hot sauce was used by the day care worker for the punishment. Was it Tabasco, which is extremely mild? Or was it farther up the Scoville Scale of heat, such as, oh, Dave’s Insanity Sauce? If it’s one of the super hot sauces, it’s certainly unusual and inappropriate to subject a child to the amount of pain the peppery exlixir would cause.

Second (and I’m sure most parents would agree with me on this), how you personally discipline your own child and how you would discipline someone else’s child are totally different things. I wouldn’t want a relative stranger spanking or applying a bar of soap to my boy’s tongue. What my wife and I would do to discipline our own kids could be wildly inappropriate for a day care worker to do.

So should have the day care worker been terminated for doing what they did? You betcha. But to treat the day care facility as if a criminal act was committed is ridiculous.

Oh, and don’t you find it a little ironic that the name of the day care facility is “Sugar & Spice“?

Day Care Worker Fired Over Hot Sauce-Discipline On Child