A poison plot perpetrated by a trio of first graders from Anchorage, Alaska has led to the district handing out suspensions. Three young girls schemed to poison and kill a fellow classmate by slipping packets of silica gel preservatives into another girl’s lunch. Other students who overheard the plan reported the conspiracy to teachers.
“We’re grateful that we had students come forward and share their concern,” commented Ed Graff, Superintendent with the Anchorage School District, according to ABC News on March 31. The incident occurred at the Winterberry Charter School, where there is a waiting list, with 400 names, of children waiting to get in.
The silica packets – which are used as drying agents to keep certain packaged foods fresh and to absorb moisture from clothes and shoes – are actually non-toxic. Their warning of “Do Not Eat” refers to a potential choking hazard. Silica is a nontoxic agent that is also used in medication, dietary supplements and vitamins to keep the supplements dry.
“They are not toxic or poisonous in any way,” confirms Keith Boesen, director of the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center, according to Consumer Reports. “The main concern they pose is that they are a choking hazard.”
Still, the first graders – whose names were not released – believed that they were in fact toxic enough to kill their classmate, and although officials are investigating the intent behind their actions, no criminal charges are expected.
“We also will talk to students about where they learn this and do they recognize the seriousness of their comments and their actions,” said Graff.
Added Anchorage police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro: “A resource officer spoke with each student involved as well as the victim and thoroughly went over with them the repercussions of this kind of stuff,” she said, according to NBC News. “We really tried to give them the straight talk and the big picture of what this could have potentially turned into.”
Following the attempted poisoning, Winterberry Charter School sent a letter home to the parents of all the first grade children, requesting that parents “connect with your child” and “talk about what it means to tell in order to be helpful.”
Some parents however questioned why the children were not expelled from the charter school.
“My first reaction was definitely shock,” says one father who did not wish to be identified. “I just couldn’t believe that somebody, some children as young as they were, first grade, could come up with something like this.”
Sound off below: Do you think the school handled the first graders poison plot correctly?