Middle School Students Arrested for Poisoning Teacher, Investigators Say

Police said the incident took place earlier this week when one of the three 12-year-old girls got angry for being disciplined and tampered the teacher’s soda. The three are facing criminal charges.

Three Deltona Middle School students are facing criminal charges for spiking a soda with spicy hot pepper that sickened their teacher. While the soda tampering occurred earlier this week, the Sheriff’s Office launched its investigation after being notified of the incident on Thursday. By early Friday evening, three 12-year-old girls were under arrest.
According to Sheriff’s investigators, the incident was sparked by a student who was angry about being disciplined. On Monday, the teacher, 52-year-old Jayne Morgan, referred one of her students, Marjorie Garrido-Herrera, to the principal’s office for dumping glue into another student’s backpack and for suspicion of stealing a laptop computer. Angry at her teacher and wanting to get back at her, Marjorie came up with the idea of pouring something into Morgan’s drink. So on Tuesday, she grabbed some crushed red pepper from her house and brought it to school. 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. 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. Meanwhile, she continued to suffer from a sore, scratchy throat and stomach pains that lasted into the evening. While school officials were able to identify Marjorie as the culprit, the Sheriff’s Office’s investigation revealed that two other students also were involved. During second period on Tuesday, Marjorie grabbed Morgan’s open can of soda and brought it back to her desk. She then handed the crushed pepper to Leisy Llanes-Pupo, who dumped it into the soda can. Leisy then put the soda can back on Morgan’s desk. Cristal Tejeda-Castro also was in on the plan, distracting the teacher while the other two were tampering with the soda.
Both Marjorie and Leisy are being charged with poisoning food or water and tampering with consumer products. Cristal is being charged with tampering with consumer products and being a principal to poisoning food or water. All charges are felony offenses. Sheriff’s investigators 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.

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Sasha Perkins

Administrative Assistant and Journalist at the Pluto Daily since 2012.