Authorities say a California preschool teacher has been arrested on suspicion of putting sleeping pills into children’s drinks.
According to CBS News, 59-year-old Debbie Gratz was arrested on child endangerment charges after she was fired from her job at the Kiddie Academy preschool in Morgan Hill.
Police say a witness saw Gratz put a unknown substance into 10 sippy cups for kids between 1 and 2 years old at the daycare center.
When administrators confronted the teacher, she admitted putting an over-the-counter sleeping aid “Sominex” into the kids’ drinks. Authorities believe the incident happened before a scheduled nap time.
None of the children drank from the cups the day the incident was reported.
Police are still investigating whether Gratz had used a sleeping aid on the children in the past.
“As a parent you give this trust that you not only drop off your kids, which is difficult enough, but then that trust to be just crumpled is very disheartening,” said Morgan Hill Police Spokesman Sgt. Troy Hoefling.
KGO-TV notes Gratz had been a teacher at the Kiddie Academy for the past five years. Her primary responsibility was a class of toddlers ages 1 and 2, and she was responsible for about 10 children.
Following the incident, the owner and operator of the Morgan Hill Kiddie Academy issued the following statement: “The safety and welfare of children is our top priority…. We have an exceptionally qualified staff of teachers who have chosen early childhood education because of their love of working with children.”
Gratz will be facing charges of felony and misdemeanor child endangerment. She is expected to be arraigned Wednesday.
Here’s a video on the Morgan Hill preschool sleeping aid incident: