Three female Deltona Middle School students were arrested Friday night in Central Florida after they allegedly "poisoned" their teacher by pouring red pepper flakes into her soda, police report.
The incident occurred Tuesday and was reportedly thought up by one girl, who got her friends to help, after she was disciplined by her teacher, 52-year-old Jayne Morgan, for pouring glue into a classmate's backpack and was under suspicion of stealing another classmate's laptop, Volusia County sheriff's spokesman Gary Davidson said, according to The Daytona Beach News-Journal.
The plan was an elaborate one, needing three people to successfully to pull off. The ringleader brought the pepper from home and grabbed Morgan's open can of soda, and one friend distracted Morgan while the second poured the pepper flakes into her drink.
Upon drinking the soda, Morgan began choking and had trouble breathing, however it wasn't until she poured out the drink into a clear cup that she noticed the pepper flakes and realized what was going on, reported CBS News. In addition to the immediate effects, Morgan reportedly experienced stomach pain and a scratchy throat for several hours later.
School officials immediately knew who was behind the incident due to the ringleader's past history and relationship with Morgan, however the subsequent investigation revealed that two other students were involved, leading to Friday's arrest.
In light of the incident, one girl has been charged with tampering with consumer products and being a principal to food/water poisoning, while the other two were charged with poisoning food/water and tampering with consumer products, according to Fox's Cleveland affiliate WJW-TV.
The "poisoning" and the resulting legal case has divided self-identified Delton residents online. Some argue that the act was purely a harmless prank and should have only resulted in suspension or expulsion rather than a stay at a juvenile detention center. Others, on the other hand, argue that the punishment is appropriate since authority figures should be able to do their jobs without fear of retribution and was indicative of future malicious behavior.