[UPDATE BELOW] It sometimes seems that small children, their precious tiny minds molded just so by the Disney Channel's afternoon programming, are really tiny wise elves sent to Earth to counsel adults in romantic crises (see: Sleepless in Seattle, The Parent Trap, One Fine Day, Orphan). Sadly, the Department of Education does not consider its students to be mini-matchmakers, having reportedly fired a substitute teacher for asking fourth-graders for dating advice.

DNAinfo reports that 45-year-old Cassandre Fiering was terminated in December, after a small group of fourth-graders at P.S. 189 in the Bronx told the administration they had been tasked with helping her decide between two men she was dating a semester prior. Fiering, who is also an actress, apparently pulled out all the stops with this particular dilemma last June, having the five-person class act out various situations between her and her two boyfriends in order to help her decide.

"The kids were saying, ‘Oh, we’re your counselor,’” Fiering told DNAinfo. “They were excited to have me listen to their advice. They were saying all kinds of things, trying to help me because this guy was being a jerk to me...I certainly wasn’t talking about sex or anything.”

A report by investigators for the office of the Special Commissioner of Investigation also claimed Fiering called the students her "munchkins," hugged one of them and touched two other students' thighs, though she denied having touched any of the students inappropriately. "They made it seem like I was this gross person fondling all the children,” Fiering, who is appealing her firing, said.

Asked about the termination, a spokesperson for the Special Commissioner of Investigation declined to comment, informing us we would need to use the Freedom of Information Law to obtain information about the investigation. A spokesperson for the DOE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The DOE has made considerable effort to keep teachers from disclosing personal information to students—there are strict guidelines regarding Facebook and Twitter, for instance, that are intended to maintain "the lines between professional and personal endeavors."

Fiering broke up with both boyfriends, by the way.

Update 12:41 p.m.: We spoke with Fiering, who told us the Special Commissioner of Investigation's report is an erroneous account of what transpired in June, and that she was interrogated by investigators in a car outside a school in Brooklyn months later without a union representative present.

"I never had anybody pretend to be me and boyfriend. That's lies," Fiering, who says the few children in the classroom were likely between the ages of 10 and 13, said. "There was no role-playing or pretending to be anybody, and the examples I gave were abstract examples. We had a brief discussion about relationships, because that's what [the students] were talking about." Fiering, who has been working in urban inner city schools all over the country since 2000, says the brief discussion started when a 13-year-old girl in the classroom started speaking to her about her poetry. "The aide came back the next day, and they told her, 'Oh, we were giving her love advice,' because I was interested in what they were saying. Because I was letting them speak and they're probably not used to that." she said. "And because it was going so nicely, I allowed them to say whatever they thought."

According to Fiering, the students told the aide about the discussion, who reported her to the principal. "It was hearsay upon hearsay. The principal never met me either, and I didn't know anything was wrong until after summer vacation," she said. Fiering also notes that the aide had left the room prior to the reported incident, even though substitute teachers are not supposed to be alone in classrooms with special needs kids. "Supposedly, that's when it all happened. She didn't see anything unusual," Fiering said. "It was a brief nothing. And I guess they were excited because I let them talk about things."

Fiering, who described the experience as "surreal," has appealed the SCI's report. She notes that she was invited back to work by the Department of Education after the school year ended, and had no idea anything was amiss until she was interrogated in late September. "I had no preparation. I was interrogated in a car with no representation, and had no idea what the questioning was about. I could hardly even remember. I didn't know who they were. I was supposed to have a lawyer or union person with me at the time, I didn't know that. When I asked why I didn't have anybody with me, they said, 'You were supposed to know your own rights.'"