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Florida teacher suspended after washing student’s mouth out with hand sanitizer

A Florida science teacher was suspended for 10 days without pay after an investigation concluded that she put hand sanitizer in a student’s mouth as a punishment. 

The student at Polo Park Middle School told an administrator that he was talking loudly in class on Oct. 14 of last year. Teacher Guyette Duhart told him he needed to wash his mouth out with soap, according to the investigation conducted by the School District of Palm Beach County, the Palm Beach Post reported.

Duhart grabbed a bottle of hand sanitizer from her desk and told the student to come up to her, according to the investigation. Six students told investigators that the teacher pumped hand sanitizer into the student’s mouth.

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Duhart told investigators that she held the bottle near the student’s mouth and he pumped the hand sanitizer into his own mouth.

The student spit onto the floor and left the classroom, according to the investigation. After he returned, Duhart allowed him to rinse his mouth in a school bathroom. 

“I was really unaware that anything occurred until he left,” she told investigators, the Palm Beach Post reported. “He returned to the class and I allowed him to wash out his mouth.”

The school board Wednesday approved a 10-day suspension without pay for the teacher. A school district spokesperson confirmed to the Palm Beach Post that Duhart remains on an alternative assignment while she appeals her suspension. 

The hand sanitizer that was in the student’s mouth was Up and Up Hand Sanitizer, which is made with ethyl alcohol, the Palm Beach Post reported. The National Institutes of Health recommends that those who swallow it seek medical attention. 

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