Three female middle school students were arrested Friday night in Central Florida after allegedly attempting to poison one of their teachers.
The girls, all 12-year-old students at Deltona Middle School in Volusia County — about half an hour's drive from Daytona Beach — were angry at the teacher, 52-year-old Jayne Morgan, according to a report from the Daytona Beach News-Journal, and wanted to retaliate against her for a punishment doled out earlier in the week.
The "poison" was red pepper flakes poured into the teacher's soda can. It was a three-person job: one girl to bring the pepper in from home, another to distract the teacher and a third to pour the pepper in the soda, according to Volusia County sheriff's spokesman Gary Davidson.
Morgan, the teacher, began having respiratory issues after drinking the tampered soda and experienced stomach and throat pain afterward.
The girl who brought in the red pepper had been disciplined earlier in the week for pouring glue into a classmate's backpack and was under suspicion of stealing another classmate's laptop.
Two of the girls have been charged with poisoning food/water and tampering with consumer products; the third has been charged with tampering with consumer products and being a principal to food/water poisoning.
Some citizens, going by Facebook posts from people identifying themselves as Deltona residents, viewed the act as a relatively harmless prank; something that should result in suspension or expulsion but not a stay in a juvenile detention center. Others saw it as indicative of dangerous behavior, targeting authority figures who are merely attempting to do their jobs and deserve to be able to do so without fear of retribution.