One doesn’t often expect to learn of devious murder plots involving first-graders, but that’s exactly what went down last week in Anchorage, Alaska. According to CNN, a group of first graders at the Winterberry Charter School “planned to poison another child.” The Toronto Sun writes that it wasn’t until a special email from Shanna Mall, the school’s principal, went out on March 22 that parents in the area were even aware of what had happened.
Said Mall, “The two students reported to administrators that the plan involved using the [silica gel preservation] packets from the girls’ lunchtime seaweed to poison and kill another student.”
The three first-graders and their would-be victim are all little girls. That’s the only available information as to the identity of everyone in this disturbing story.
A trio of first-grade girls have been suspended for allegedly plotting to poison a classmate with silica gel. https://t.co/8DctHluLcW— Global Calgary (@GlobalCalgary) April 1, 2016
So exactly how were these young girls hoping to poison their classmate? It turns out their plan would have ultimately been foiled by their own naivety. Police and school officials have said the trio intended to use silica gel packets. The silica gel, which ABC News notes is a “drying agent used to keep packaged goods fresh,” is non-toxic. CNN adds that despite the little silica gel balls not being toxic, they could represent a choking hazard to children.
When school officials confronted the female first-graders about their plot to poison another student, the three reportedly acknowledged the accusation was true. Even so, no criminal charges were filed.
Anchorage Police Department spokeswoman Jennifer Castro said she wasn’t certain “what we could criminally charge first-graders with” in this case. (Alaska has no minimum age for when a child can be charged with a crime.) According to Castro, what instead happened was a resource officer “took each one of them individually, had a very a serious talk with all of them.”
The talk with all parties, including the intended target of the poison plot, was reportedly necessary because the idea to poison the victim was tied to “an ongoing feud.” The two first-graders who overheard the plan also spoke to the officer.
Ed Graff, a superintendent with the Anchorage School District, said that officials are “grateful that we had students come forward and share their concern.”
“We also will talk to students about where they learn this and do they recognize the seriousness of their comments and their actions.”
After the first-graders’ shenanigans, ABC News reports the Winterberry Charter School was moved to send out a letter to parents asking them to “talk about what it means to tell in order to be helpful.” Although the poison plot was foiled before the conflict could potentially escalate and become dangerous, the situation apparently “still left some parents alarmed.”
In an effort to address the bizarre first-grader case, the Anchorage police department released a statement, one that seemed to echo the “tell someone” theme in the emailed letter.
“It is important for parents to talk with their children about speaking up when they learn of something that could potentially harm others. We are thankful for the student that said something to a trusted authority when they learned of the potentially harmful situation to another student.”
Spokeswoman Jennifer Castro added, “The important lesson here is to really teach your kids if they hear something like this, something where someone intends to do harm to someone else, they should tell someone that they trust right away.”
There no further comments about the incident by the Anchorage School District or Winterberry principal Shanna Malls, according to KTUU. However, KTUU did learn that the three first graders at the heart of the failed poison plot were suspended for their actions.
The school is reportedly directly addressing the concerns parents or students may have as a result of what happened.
[Image via screen grab from ABC News YouTube Channel]