1st-graders suspended for plot to kill classmate

By Douglas Ernst

Three 1st-grade students were suspended from Winterberry Charter School for plotting to kill one of their classmates
Three 1st-grade students were suspended from Winterberry Charter School for plotting to kill one of their classmates

A charter school in Alaska recently had to call in police to investigate a murder plot – by first-graders.

Winterberry Charter School in Anchorage suspended three girls last week after it was revealed they planned to “poison” a classmate’s lunch with silica gel. The children were under the false impression that ingesting the substance would be deadly.

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“My first reaction was definitely shock. I just couldn’t believe that some children as young as they were, first grade, could come up with something like this,” a parent told KTUU-2 on Tuesday on condition of anonymity.

Jennifer Castro, spokeswoman for Anchorage Police, told the station a fellow student alerted adults when he or she learned of the plot.

“We’re grateful that that student was able to speak up and obviously at such a young age,” Castro said. “The important lesson here is to really teach your kids if they hear something like this, something where someone intends to do harm to someone else, they should tell someone that they trust right away.”

The school’s principal sent an email to parents on March 22 detailing the plot, which would have incorporated “lunchtime seaweed to poison and kill another student.”

Anchorage school plot

The parent who spoke to KTUU-2 said Winterberry’s punishment was too lenient, particularly since 405 kids are on an enrollment waiting list.

“Is that the appropriate punishment for a school that has a several-year waiting list? It’s a lottery school. There are plenty of other kids who are waiting to get into this school. I don’t think [the three girls] deserve to be in this school.”

School officials declined to respond to the station’s request for comment.

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“They need a night in jail, handcuffed and all. Scare them straight,” Dessie Wright said in the NBC affiliate’s comments section on Tuesday.

“Things like this make me want to homeschool my kids in the future,” added Tanisha Potter.


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