Three middle school students in Florida are facing felony charges after reportedly spiking their teacher’s soda with spicy hot pepper.
The incident occurred on Feb. 23 at Deltona Middle School, according to WESH 2 News. One of the 12-year-olds was reportedly seeking revenge against against her teacher, 52-year-old Jayne Morgan.
The student spiked Morgan’s drink with crushed red pepper as retaliation for an incident that occurred the day before. Morgan had reportedly sent the girl to the principal's office for dumping glue into another student’s backpack, according to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office. The teacher also suspected that the student had stolen a laptop.
When Morgan drank from the tampered soda, her throat became hot and scratchy, officials said. She also started experiencing shortness of breath. She eventually poured the soda into a clear plastic cup and noticed the flecks of red pepper.
Morgan suffered from a sore, scratchy throat and stomach pains for the remainder of the evening. An investigation was launched shortly after, revealing that two other 12-year-old students were involved.
According to the sheriff's office, one of the students distracted the teacher while the other two tampered with the soda. All three 12-year-old girls were arrested on Feb. 26.
Two students are facing charges of poisoning food or water and tampering with consumer products. The third student is facing charges of tampering with consumer products and being a principal to poisoning food or water. All three students are expected to be taken to the Volusia Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Daytona Beach.
“It should be noted, this act was done in retaliation for the teacher upholding her duties and responsibilities as a teacher, maintaining control of her classroom and attempting to protect the other children from [student's] unacceptable behavior,” investigators wrote in the charging affidavits, according to WESH 2 News.
Morgan said she nearly died from an allergic reaction.
“My students and I are very close,” Morgan said in a statement, according to ABC News. “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.”