Friday, March 15th, 2013
A preschool teacher from Morgan Hill, California has been fired–and arrested–amid allegations that she put sleeping pills in the sippy cups of kids who are not yet 2 years old. More from ABC News:
“We do not know the quantity, but we believe she was breaking the pill into smaller pieces and putting it into the children’s sippy cups,” Morgan Hill Sgt. of Investigations Troy Hoefling told ABC News.
The school told ABC News it had “terminated” Debbie Gratz, 59, last Friday “for failure to follow Kiddie Academy standards and processes.”
“Ms. Gratz was witnessed adding a substance to the water cups for her classroom of 10 children,” Morgan Hill Kiddie Academy added in a prepared statement. “The cups were confiscated before they came in contact with any children prior to the academy opening for business that day.”
A fellow employee saw Gratz place an unknown substance in the toddler’s sippy cups on Friday and notified school officials, according to Morgan Hill Police – though police apparently weren’t told until Monday.
“They made notifications internally. Unfortunately, the problem with that is not only do we not get on the case right away but we lose precious evidence,” Hoefling told ABC News. “We only found out those cups had been washed out and rinsed.”
Police said they had no plans to charge the school regarding the delay in reporting the incident, but the district attorney could review the matter.
Image: Sippy cup, via Shutterstock
Wednesday, November 7th, 2012
A mother in Piedmont, Oklahoma was fined $2,500 when her 3-year-old son attempted to urinate in their own front yard on Sunday. While the ticket has since been thrown out, the case has garnered national attention.
According to the boy’s mother, Ashley Warden, her son was playing outside on the family’s two-and-a-half acre lawn when he unzipped to take a bathroom break. A police officer spotted the toddler and stopped him before he could pee. Despite the events happening on their own property, the officer wrote Warden a steep ticket because her son was in public view.
Warden told News 9, “I am disappointed that the officer thinks [...] what he needs to do with my tax dollars is sitting and harassing our family.” The Wardens filed a complaint with the local police department and had planned on fighting the citation since their son didn’t complete the act, but the ticket has already been thrown out.
Piedmont’s police chief, Alex Oblein, went to the family’s home to apologize and later commented that the officer should have used better judgment before issuing the ticket. Even Piedmont’s mayor, Valerie Thomerson, weighed in on the officer’s actions: “I have been vilified for saying this, but stupid is as stupid does, and this was just stupid.”
Image: Police Car Lights via Shutterstock
Wednesday, April 18th, 2012
Six-year-old Salecia Johson a kindergarten student at Creekside Elementary School in Milledgeville, Georgia, was placed in handcuffs and taken to the police station after an outburst in which she threw furniture, overturned a bookshelf, and tore items off of the walls. The bookshelf allegedly injured the school’s principal. MSNBC.com has more:
Police defended their actions during the incident which occurred last Friday at Creekside Elementary School in Milledgeville, Ga.
“Our policy states that any detainee transported to our station in a patrol vehicle is to be handcuffed in the back. There is no age discrimination on that rule,” Milledgeville Police Chief Dray Swicord told WMAZ-TV.
The family on Tuesday demanded that the city change its policy, the Associated Press reported, and claimed the girl was shaken up while at the police station.
Johnson was charged with assault and damage to property, WMAZ-TV reported, but she will not have to go to court because of her age.
Johnson’s mother, Constance Ruff, says her daughter was suspended until the start of the next school year.
“She has mood swings some days, which all of us have mood swings some days,” she told WMAZ-TV. “I guess that was just one of her bad days.”
Image: Handcuffs, via Shutterstock.
Friday, January 6th, 2012
Sarah McKinley, a young mother whose husband died of cancer in mid-December, shot and killed an intruder on New Year’s Eve who had broken into her home while she was alone with her 3-month-old baby, Yahoo! News reports. From the news story:
Sarah McKinley says that a week earlier a man named Justin Martin dropped by on the day of her husband’s funeral, claiming that he was a neighbor who wanted to say hello. The 18-year-old Oklahoma City area woman did not let him into her home that day.
On New Year’s Eve Martin returned with another man, Dustin Stewart, and this time was armed with a 12-inch hunting knife. The two soon began trying to break into McKinley’s home.
As one of the men was going from door to door outside her home trying to gain entry, McKinley called 911 and grabbed her 12-gauge shotgun.
McKinley told ABC News Oklahoma City affiliate KOCO that she quickly got her 12 gauge, went into her bedroom and got a pistol, put the bottle in the baby’s mouth and called 911.
“I’ve got two guns in my hand — is it okay to shoot him if he comes in this door?” the young mother asked the 911 dispatcher. “I’m here by myself with my infant baby, can I please get a dispatcher out here immediately?”
The 911 dispatcher confirmed with McKinley that the doors to her home were locked as she asked again if it was okay to shoot the intruder if he were to come through her door.
“I can’t tell you that you can do that but you do what you have to do to protect your baby,” the dispatcher told her. McKinley was on the phone with 911 for a total of 21 minutes.
When Martin kicked in the door and came after her with the knife, the teen mom shot and killed the 24-year-old. Police are calling the shooting justified.
Image: 12-gauge shotgun, via Shutterstock.
Wednesday, January 4th, 2012
Holding overdue library books is a misdemeanor crime, and a growing number of law enforcement agencies are actually enforcing the rule, The Huffington Post reported earlier this week. Most recently, a 5-year-old girl from Charlton, Mass. was visited by a police offer sent to collect two overdue books, along with an overdue audio book held by her father, which had accrued $100 in late fees. According to the Worcester Telegram newspaper, the visit was one of 13 area visits meant to collect $2,634 in significantly overdue materials.
After the issue gained national attention, the library told the newspaper that the 5-year-old was not the target of the police visit, though the incident left her in tears and fearful of arrest:
Shannon Benoit said she was home with her youngest daughter, Hailey, on Dec. 27 when a “very respectful and professional” police Sgt. Daniel P. Dowd knocked and asked her to contact the library regarding overdue books.
When she closed the door, Ms. Benoit found 5-year-old Hailey standing behind her in tears.
“She asked me if the police were going to arrest her. I wanted the story to come out because I think that using police officers to retrieve library books from children is just ridiculous,” Ms. Benoit said.
After Ms. Benoit called the media, a CBS Boston (Channel 4) story that aired Monday, saying police had come to collect Hailey’s overdue books, gained national attention.
“I’m getting email from all over the country. I’ve been called a f-ing moron, an idiot, a Nazi, a communist,” Library Director Cheryl Hansen said in an interview yesterday. “I’ve also had several library visitors today say they supported the decision.”
Hailey’s borrowed books, due in October 2010, were of small value. It was her father’s $100 audiobook, overdue since April 2009, that placed Tony Benoit’s address among the 13 to receive police visits. The 13 homes collectively held $2,634 in significantly overdue materials.
Charlton library officials recently decided to collect the $2,634 by exercising their rights under state law. The Benoit family was responsible for $130 of that $2,634.
Image: Library books, via Shutterstock.