Three first-grade girls in Alaska have been suspended after their principal said she uncovered a plot they’d hatched to poison and kill a fellow classmate with silica packets. Silica packets aren’t actually poison and first-graders probably don’t have a strong concept about what it means to permanently harm another person, though?
KTUU reports that three girls at Winterberry Charter School in Anchorage were suspended after a fellow student told the principal they planned to use silica packets to poison a classmate. Parents got an email which read, in part, “Three students in the class were planning on using the silica gel packets (these are not actually poison, but the students believed they were) from their lunchtime seaweed to poison and kill another student.”
The “plot,” such as it was, was never carried out. Silica packets are non-toxic and pose no threat; poison control guidelines say the substance is a choking hazard and that’s about it.
Anchorage School District spokesperson Heidi Embley told the Alaska Dispatch News the situation was unusual, and that school psychologists were indeed called in to determine if the children understood what they were doing:
“The age is one of things that is most surprising to people who were hearing about this. The kids are at such a young age,” Embley said. “Without revealing any information as to what occurred during the investigation, there are a lot of conversations to get an understanding of what actually happened, how the students were feeling.”
School psychologists were involved in those conversations to determine if the students fully understood their actions, she said, adding the school district takes every threat to student safety seriously and works to make sure there are no ongoing threats.
It’s unclear whether the students will be expelled; Embley told the Dispatch News that “could” be the case, but according to the email the parents received, the girls will able to return to school when their suspension is completed.
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