Three 12-year-old girls in Florida are facing charges they poisoned their middle school teacher as payback after one of them was sent to the principal's office.
Volusia County police said in a release posted to Facebook that Marjorie Garrido-Herrera and two of her friends hatched the plan after 52-year-old Jayne Morgan sent Garrido-Herrera to the principal’s office for dumping glue into another student’s backpack and for suspicion of stealing a laptop computer.
Investigators say Garrido-Herrera took crushed hot red pepper to school from her home and passed it off to her friend. While a third girl allegedly distracted Morgan, police say the second friend dumped the spicy flakes into the teacher's can of cola.
"When Morgan took a drink of the tampered soda on Tuesday, her throat immediately became hot and scratchy and she started to choke and experience shortness of breath," read the police statement.
"After taking a second sip, the teacher poured the rest of the soda into a clear plastic cup and noticed the flecks of red pepper."
Investigators say Morgan suffered from throat and stomach pains that lasted throughout the day and into the evening.
Garrido-Herrera and the second girl, identified by police as Leisy Llanes-Pupo, are being charged with poisoning food or water and tampering with consumer products.
The third girl, Cristal Tejeda-Castro, is being charged with tampering with consumer products and being a principal to poisoning food or water, police said.
All charges are felony offenses. By Friday evening, all three girls had been arrested.
As if heading off any potential blowback regarding the seriousness of the charges against the girls, the Volusia County Sheriff's office wrote in the charging affidavits:
“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 Marjorie’s unacceptable behavior.”
The three students are expected to be transported to the Volusia Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Daytona Beach.
An off-hours call to the Volusia County Juvenile Court rang unanswered Saturday.