Elba Central School District officials have investigated a plot by three fourth-grade girls to harm their teacher by spreading hand sanitizer on items in the classroom. The teacher reportedly is highly allergic to the sanitizer.
Superintendent Jerome J. Piwko Jr. said no crime was committed and no one was injured or placed in harm’s way.
But Piwko said, in a written statement, “the event has been a shock to our community and school.”
He said the district cannot comment specifically because of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
Genesee County Sheriff Chief Investigator Jerome E. Brewster said in the days leading up to the Christmas break three students were overheard by another student talking about trying to harm a teacher by spreading hand sanitizer on items in the classroom because they felt the teacher had been mean to them or had yelled at them.
Brewster added, “I don’t know her reaction to hand sanitizer. If it’s something like peanut butter – in some people it can kill you. Obviously these students had been made aware that this teacher was highly allergic to anti-bacterial hand sanitizer and they started talking amongst themselves because they didn’t like the teacher.”
Piwko said as soon as the school was made aware of the students’ discussion, the students were called in and questioned. Then the sheriff’s department was asked to investigate.
Brewster said since they were nine-year-olds their case couldn’t go to family court unless it was a misdemeanor or felony.
“When we realized they never followed through with it and they told us they had no intention of following through, we said there was not much we can do,” Brewster said. “We suggested they turn it over to youth court, but (the school) indicated they were going to handle it internally.”
In his letter, Piwko echoed this, writing, “The district in turn has worked with the parents and students involved to address this issue. It is important to note that no one was injured or placed in harm’s way.”
He added, “The district does not condone any of the behaviors that have been reported and is in the process of working alongside the sheriff’s department to use this incident as a vehicle for educating the district’s students regarding appropriate behaviors.”