KATY, Texas -- Parents are outraged after learning that special needs students at Exley Elementary in Cinco Ranch had vinegar-soaked cotton balls put in their mouths.

Tiffany Joseph has children at the school.

I would be devastated if that happened to my children, said Joseph. I mean I don t think it s anyone s place to do that. I wouldn t do that to my dog.

The unapproved technique, as KATY ISD calls it, reportedly happened last year, but word got out after a tipster claimed to see it firsthand.

I couldn t believe what happened, said Maureen Buliclic. That s really terrible.

It was not clear how many students had to endure the vinegar and cotton, or for how long. Katy ISD released a statement on their website, which read in part:

We want parents to know that there is no evidence that such techniques have been used in other classrooms or by other personnel. It saddens and deeply concerns the district that such techniques could have occurred.

It is important for the Katy ISD community to know that, despite documented and frequent visits to this particular classroom, the techniques being used were hidden from district authorities. Upon receiving a report that unapproved techniques had been used, district officials opened an immediate investigation, which included contacting those parents whose children were directly impacted.

The statement also said appropriate personnel action has been taken against the staff involved. KHOU 11 News made repeated attempts to call the district to find out what those measures were, but no one returned our calls.

The punishment still has many parents upset.

It s very, very sad, said Joseph. I hate that it happened, because it put our school in a bad light.

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