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Teacher Thwarts 1st-Graders' Attempt to Poison Classmate

Silica gel is a granular, glass-looking, highly porous form of silica. Silica gel is often used to absorb moisture in small enclosed environments, for example, inside packages of different goods.
Photograph by Getty Images/Science Source

Officials at an elementary school in Anchorage, Alaska, are investigating a group of students who attempted to poison a classmate earlier this month. Anchorage School District spokeswoman Heidi Embley said a Winterberry Charter School student overheard students discussing the plot and alerted a teacher.

The targeted student wasn't in any grave danger, it turns out, as the students had planned to carry out a poisoning using silica gel, which is found inside sealed food bags as a way of preserving freshness. The little pockets, which also show up in shoe boxes and elsewhere, are marked "do not eat" but pose a danger only as a choking hazard—not as a poisonous substance.

Anchorage Police Department spokeswoman Jennifer Castro told KTVA reporters that students had planned to put the contents of these packets in the student's lunch. “The students had thought the packets contained poison,” she added. “The plot was not actually carried out.”

The discovered plot was taken to the school's resource officer—school-speak for "security guard"—who reported it to local police. The officer spoke with all three students involved and did not file charges.

The students do face disciplinary action within the school. A letter went home to all parents, calling safety a top priority at the school. Actions of the student who came forward with information about the plot were commended, and all parents were reminded to talk to their children about talking to a trusted adult when they hear of something that could endanger others.

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Photograph: AliExpress

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