The mother of a 4-year-old boy says her son was fed hot sauce at day care as punishment.

Melaina Whitley says her son Tanner, 4, came home early from Friendship Paediatric Services last month and was throwing up, reports KATV.

“I thought maybe just like a stomach virus or something, but it only lasted about a day,” Whitley said.

Tanner later told her he was given hot sauce at school as a punishment for hitting a friend.

“When he said hot sauce, I thought maybe pop tarts, and I was like, ‘Hot sauce?’ Because I didn’t know he knew the word hot sauce, so I know she had to have told him, ‘I’m giving you hot sauce’,” Whitley said.

Friendship Paediatric Services is a day care for children with special needs. Tanner was going there for speech therapy.

“You just don’t expect that. They’re supposed to be qualified to work with special needs children and they’re supposed know to not give hot sauce,” Whitley said.

Whitley says after confronting the teacher about the incident, she called police.

“I know when she was like, ‘Let me give you hot sauce,’ he didn’t just say, ‘Okay, cool,’ and open his mouth. It must have been forced because he wasn’t just like, ‘Here give me some hot sauce.’ He said he was crying and had to get water and it was nasty. I don’t know if this was the first time or he was the only child.” Whitley said.

In a Bryant Police Department report, the day care director, Karla Curry, told the officer that the teacher admitted to putting hot sauce in the child’s mouth and the teacher said it’s a common discipline for children in her culture.

According to DHS, the only approved discipline method is time-out. While DHS won’t confirm a child maltreatment investigation, Channel 7 was there Monday as DHS visited their home.

“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.

The director wouldn’t confirm if the teacher is still working there, but sent a statement confirming the day care was cooperating with a DHS investigation.

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  • So much goes on in our child care centres that we don’t know about. Child care workers are grossly underpaid and don’t require all in the centre to be trained and doesn’t get the recognition of importance it deserves. Raising wages, training and qualifications needed would help to make sure our children are getting the best care when attending centres.


  • Send the teacher back where she came from……after she has been punished.
    She certainly isn’t professionally trained to be a special needs teacher.


  • What? So terrible! What a nasty decision to make. A common discipline in her country????


  • This is what frustrates me is people are put into roles that they are clearly not suitable for. This little boy is special needs! Why can’t they be treated with respect


  • I’m sure there are rules at these centres for discipline, and I doubt using hot sauce is one of them.


  • That’s vile! Poor little boy


  • the better question is – why was there even hot sauce at the day care centre in the first place?
    What is wrong with these people?


  • That’s disgusting. She shouldn’t still be working there


  • The fact that the teacher is still working there is a concern.


  • This is entirely inappropriate, whatever her culture.


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