Plot by 3 US first-graders to poison classmate foiled

Plot by 3 US first-graders to poison classmate foiled
PHOTO: Winterberry Charter School

Officials at a US elementary school in Anchorage, Alaska, said they uncovered a plot among a group of first-grade pupils to kill a classmate by using what the children thought to be poison.

The plan hatched by three pupils, was foiled last week when another pupil overheard the alleged plotters discussing their plan and alerted a teacher, Anchorage school district spokesman Heidi Embley told local TV station KTVA.

The plan involved using silica gel - a moisture-absorbing substance commonly found inside sealed food bags to reduce spoilage - to poison their classmate, according to the Alaska Dispatch News.

There was only one problem which the pupils from Winterberry Charter School overlooked: Silica gel is non-toxic.

"The students had taken some plastic packets that are inside of a sealed food bag, meant for preservation of the food and say 'do not consume' on the packaging, and brought them to school with the intent of putting them in another student's lunch, " Anchorage police department spokesman Jennifer Castro told KTVA.

"The students had thought the packets contained poison…The plot was not actually carried out," she added.

The police department became involved in the case when a school staff reported the plot, reported KTVA.

Officials said an officer spoke with all three students and declined to file charges.

Another TV station KTUU reported that the children faced suspension and were expected to return to school after their punishment was completed.

Embley noted that a letter to parents was sent out the same day the plot was discovered.

Castro told KTVA: "It is important for parents to talk with their children about speaking up when they learn of something that could potentially harm others."

sujint@sph.com.sg

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