FRESNO – Three fifth grade students allegedly put rat poison into their teacher’s coffee and laced a cupcake intended for the teacher with rat poison.
Two boys and one girl were involved in the alleged poisoning, according to Fresno Teachers Association President Greg Gadams. The teacher in question did not drink the coffee because one of the students had second thoughts and knocked the coffee cup off her desk. The teacher decided not to eat the cupcake.
One of the students’ homes was being treated for rodents, which is where the poison came from. Another student told that student to “bring some of that, because we have rodents, too,” Gadams said.
The incident came to light when the mother of one of the boys involved went to the principal at Balderas Elementary and bragged to him that their child had saved a teacher’s life, according to Gadams. Her son was the one who allegedly put the poison in the coffee cup and then had second thoughts and knocked it down.
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said in a statement this week that the police department went to the school on Feb. 8 to investigate the alleged poisoning. Because the incident happened back in December, “there was no physical evidence due to the time delay,” Dyer said.
The Fresno Teachers Association only learned of the incident two weeks ago, Gadams said. The FTA released information about the alleged poisoning to the public this week because they claim that the school district tries to cover up incidents such as this where teachers are being threatened or abused.
The FTA announced that the three students involved in the incident have been suspended.
Fresno Unified School District spokesperson Susan Bedi said that typical disciplinary action would include suspension with a recommendation for expulsion.
“The district approaches any actions that threaten the safety of its employees – or students – with diligence and care,” Bedi said.
The FTA believes that the students need to be punished as a message to other students. Gadams said that while the FTA is happy that the students were quickly suspended and removed from campus, they are concerned that the police department has not arrested the three children. Gadams believes the students, who are ages 10 and 11, should be charged with something because their actions were premeditated.
Chief Dyer said that after they complete their investigation, the police department will consult with the District Attorney’s Office to decide whether charges should be filed against the students.
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