Three Florida middle school students, all 12-years-old, have been arrested and charged with attempting to poison their teacher after she sent one of them to the principal’s office. Police officials say that the girls hatched a plan to retaliate against the teacher by putting crushed red pepper flakes into her can of Coke. The student sent to the office brought the pepper flakes to school. One of the three distracted the teacher, another grabbed the can, while the other poured the flakes into it.
The alleged incident was prompted when teacher Jayne Morgan, 52, sent one of the girls to the office “for dumping glue into another student’s backpack and for suspicion of stealing a laptop computer,” according to a police report obtained by NBC News. Morgan is a language arts teacher at Deltona Middle School in Volusia County.
CBS News reports that on taking an initial sip of the drink Morgan started to choke and experience shortness of breath. She took another sip and then poured the drink into a clear cup, and that is when she noticed the pepper flakes. She stated in her police statement that she had throat and stomach pains that lasted well into the rest of the day and the evening.
The alleged incident occurred on Tuesday during a second period class, was reported to authorities on Thursday, and the middle school students were arrested on Friday. All three girls were taken to the Volusia Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Daytona Beach.
Charges against the three, as reported by NBC News, include tampering with consumer products and being a principal to poisoning food and water against the girl believed to have acted as the decoy. The other two 12-year-olds have been charged with poisoning food or water and tampering with consumer products. All of the charged offenses are considered to be felonies under Florida law.
Although Morgan initially wanted the students to be charged in order to teach them a lesson, she later stated that it was not her intention to have them arrested.
“I want them to have a consequence that teaches them a lesson. I did not want them to be arrested and go to jail. I love my students. They broke my heart. My career won’t be the same.”
In an apparent effort to explain the rationale behind the serious nature of the charges, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office made the following statement in their charging affidavits, as reported by Yahoo News.
“It should be noted, this act was done in retaliation for the teacher upholding her duties and responsibilities as a teacher, maintaining control of her classroom and attempting to protect the other children from Marjorie’s unacceptable behavior.”
School officials originally investigated the alleged incident and were able to make the original determination as to which girl came up with the plan. The other two girls were identified after the sheriff’s office began their own investigation.
The three Florida middle school students have been identified as Marjorie Garrido-Herrera, Leisy Llanes-Pupo, and Cristal Tejeda-Castro.
Right Diagnosis writes that symptoms of hot pepper poisoning can include burning mouth sensation, severe mouth pain, tearing eyes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and burning throat sensation. The severity of the symptoms can vary due to the amount of the plant material consumed and the body size of the person consuming the material. Children, of course, would experience more severe symptoms due to the smaller nature of their body size. The site goes on to state that prognosis and recovery for such poisonings can be unpredictable to the many variables associated with ingestion. It is recommended that one seek professional medical advice for a treatment plan and supportive measures under such circumstances.
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