Three 12-year-old students at Deltona Middle School in Florida are facing felony charges after they worked together to spike a teacher’s soda with red pepper flakes.
The teacher, 52-year-old Jayne Morgan, told authorities that her throat became irritated and scratchy after drinking the soda, and she then began to feel shortness of breath. Morgan poured the soda into a cup and found crushed red pepper flakes floating around.
The incident was an act of revenge by one student, Marjorie Garrido-Herrera, who was angry at her teacher for disciplining her after she dumped glue into a classmate’s laptop, according to WFTV 9. Garrido-Herrera was also suspected of stealing a laptop.
The following day, the student brought pepper flakes to school and enlisted two other students, Leisy Llanes-Pupo and Cristal Tejeda-Castro, to help her carry out the poisoning. One student was in charge of distracting the teacher while the other two contaminated the teacher’s soda.
In a statement, Morgan told WFTV that she was ill for the rest of the day and that the girls could have killed her.
“My students and I are very close,” Morgan said. “For the sake of education, for the sake of my school, other teachers in the classroom, and for the sake of students themselves, children need to know there is a right and a wrong. This is illegal. I could have died.”
All three girls face felony charges for their actions and have been ordered to remain in police custody for at least 21 days. Two students, Garrido-Herrera and Llanes-Pupo, have been charged with poisoning food or water and tampering with consumer products, and Tejeda-Castro has been charged with tampering with consumer products and being a principal to poisoning food or water.