Parents Are Outraged After Preschool Teacher Used Mood-Calming Stickers On Children

The kids thought they were stickers for good behavior.

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A southern California preschool teacher was recently fired after allegedly using mood-calming patches on young students without getting parental consent. Parents were shocked to find that these mood-calming patches, which students thought were stickers they were earning for good behavior, were allegedly being applied to their children’s bodies without their knowledge.

Parents of preschoolers at Options for Learning Head Start in South El Monte, California had been noticing changes in their children’s behavior over several weeks ahead of the teacher’s firing, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times. Things like altered sleep patterns, erratic behavior, and changes in mood alerted some parents to an issue at the school. And some parents believed that these changes in behavior could be linked back to these mood-calming stickers, called Zen patches.

These patches were reportedly discovered in November, when one student came home with a colorful patch affixed to his back. His mother shared this in a school chat group, noting that the patch had a strong herbal aroma. Stephanie Rodriguez, parent to 4-year-old student Ethan, told the Los Angeles Times that she showed the photo of the sticker to her son and “his face was like an addict’s face.”

“He said, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s the sticker. That’s the koala sticker,’” Rodriguez told the newspaper. Her son explained that the sticker, which parents believe was used to control the students and make them sleepy, was put on his foot at the beginning of the day and taken off before he went home. Once parents realized what was happening, they called for the teacher to be fired.

Romper’s request for comment from Options for Learning Head Start was not immediately returned.

Options for Learning Head Start CEO Paul F. Pulver, confirmed these parents’ suspicions in a statement to Fox 11, telling the news outlet that “aromatic stickers were given to a limited number of students,” in the class of 16 children, adding that the distribution of mood-calming stickers, also known as Zen patches, “violated our policy requiring parental decision-making and consent on all such matters. The employee who provided the stickers has been fired.”

Zen patches are stickers infused with essential oils meant to be used to calm anxiety in children and achieve “a steady, focused calm all day long,” according to The NaturalPatch Co. These stickers are not regulated by the FDA, and should not be given without a parent’s consent.

The teacher who distributed these patches has not been named, and while some parents told Fox 11 that they wanted charges to be filed, no word on whether or not that will happen. “Firing her is not good enough at all,” Rodriguez told the news outlet. “I want justice; she should be in jail.”

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