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New Details in Plot to Poison Fresno Teacher

Feb 24, 2012

New information emerged today on the alleged plot by three Fresno Unified students to poison their classroom teacher.

Fresno Teachers Association President Greg Gadams told the media today the poising incident took place at Balderas Elementary School shortly before winter break. He said the students placed rat poison in their teacher's coffee cup, and in the frosting of a cupcake given to the teacher. The teacher was unaware of the attempt, and never ate the cupcake.

"Sometime later the third child had a realization that this probably wasn't a good thing to do and knocked the cup of coffee out of the teacher's hand," said Gadams.

Gadams said school administrators didn't learn about the incident until February 8th, when a parent told the school's principal that her child should be recognized for helping save the teacher's life.

"The parent was proud that their student in her words "saved" the teacher, and missed the point of your child was trying to poison the teacher."

Fresno Unified spokesperson Susan Bedi said the district took immediate action once it learned of the plot and that typically discipline would include suspension and a recommendation for expulsion.

Gadams said two of the students have since been assigned to another school in the district. The Fresno Police Department is investigating the incident, but charges have so far not been filed, in part because the evidence was destroyed.

Gadams said the district needs to do more to protect elementary school teachers.

"You hear Superintendent Hanson and the school board laud all the things they've done, [with] counselors and safety, it doesn't exist at the elementary schools."

He said after students are expelled, they typically return to schools the following year, and their new teachers could be left unaware of what happened.

"I believe they have to be held accountable for their actions. There should be some type of legal charges filed against them, because if there is not as they move up in the school systems there will be no record of anything that happened," said Gadams.