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article imageFifth-graders accused of placing rat poison in teacher's coffee

By Leigh Goessl     Feb 26, 2012 in Crime
Fresno - Three fifth-graders from a California school allegedly tried to poison their teacher in December. The 10 and 11-year-old students are currently facing expulsion.
Three fifth-graders from a California school allegedly tried to poison their teacher in December. The 10 and 11-year-old students are currently facing expulsion.
According to ABC News, the three Balderas Elementary students allegedly tried to poison their teacher by placing rat poison in the teacher's coffee cup. Balderas Elementary School is located in Fresno, Calif.
However, before the teacher sipped the beverage, one of the students responsible for the poisonous additive purportedly had a change of heart and knocked the coffee over before the teacher, who has not been identified, took a sip.
He went home and told his parents he saved a teacher's life and, leaving out the details, the parents had no reason to suspect something was amiss.
Last month, the parents asked the school principal how the teacher was doing. The Fresno Bee reported, "the parent told Hill that the parent's child deserved praise for "saving the life of [the] teacher."
Next, details associated with the incident began to surface and the school's officials called the Fresno Police. Reportedly, the students "eventually" confessed to placing the poison in the coffee.
Currently the students, reported as being two boys and a girl, are no longer attending Balderas Elementary School. No criminal charges have been filed at this point, as the Fresno County District Attorney's Office will evaluate the incident and make a determination.
“We have a zero-tolerance policy for violence, and the students are currently in the process of suspension, with a recommendation for expulsion,” Fresno Unified School District PIO Susan Bedi told ABC News. “They will not be returning to that school.”
Greg Gadams, Fresno Teachers Association president noted the kids need counseling, but the district does not have this support service in its budget.
"There is nothing to help the students," said Gadams. "You don't receive support services in this district." Also saying, "We kick these kids out, but we never give them any help,"
At this time authorities have not shared a motive, and evidence is difficult since it was reported long after the event occurred. Fox affiliate KMPH reported Police Chief Jerry Dyer said, "Our agency is conducting an extensive investigation regarding this incident although there was no physical evidence due to the time delay."
There are unconfirmed rumors, according to KFSN, the teacher was also given a poisoned cupcake, but at this time there is no evidence to support that rumor.
Regarding the poisoned coffee in Fresno, "This is but the latest example of the dangerous conditions that exist in Fresno Unified due to inconsistent enforcement of discipline and lack of consequences for students daily,” Gadams told ABC News. “Something has to be done and this is a prime place to start insuring teacher safety and student accountability.”
Last year KTVU reported an incident in Oakland, Calif., where a student allegedly spiked a teacher's coffee with dry erase cleaning fluid and/or bleach. In Texas, Fox 4 in Dallas reported on the spiking of sodium carbonate in a 6th grade teacher's tea by one of her students. There was also an incident of teacher poisoning by a high school senior in North Carolina.
More about Fresno, California, Poison, Teacher, Rat poison
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