Morgan Hill police said on Tuesday that they have arrested a teacher at the Kiddie Academy Childcare Facility for allegedly putting a sleeping aid in the toddlers' drink cups. Marianne Favro reports.
Morgan Hill police said on Tuesday that they have arrested a teacher at the Kiddie Academy Childcare Facility for allegedly putting a sleeping aid in the toddlers' drink cups.
Sgt. Troy Hoefling said investigators said they were called to the Monterey Road school on Monday, three days after Deborah Gratz of Hollister was fired. Administrators told police that she put "Sominex" into the sippy cups of children as young as one. Sominex is an over-the-counter sleeping aid.
In a written statement, academy spokeswoman Rose Chin said that administrators spotted the laced drinks early in the morning on Friday, and none of the10 children in the class ended up drinking from the cups on that day.
The academy, which is independently owned, said that this was the only instance they are aware of regarding Gratz allegedly putting the drug in the drinks. She was immediately fired, and later arrested on felony child endangerment charges. Hoefling added that police are now looking further back to see if this had occurred before.
School officials said they are cooperating with police, and that the "safety" of the children is Kiddie Academy's "top priority." The statement also said that school of 80 students - which won an award in 2011 - is cared for by "exceptionally qualified teachers."
The news comes a day after reports exploded about a teacher at a Pleasanton school accused of taping up a 2-year-old for refusing to take a nap.
Gratz has been a teacher at the school for the past five years. She was the full-time teacher of a class of toddlers, who are 1 and 2 years old.
The case came to light when someone said they spotted Gratz puting an unknown substance into the drinking cups of some of the children last Friday, police said.
When Gratz was confronted by facility administrators, police said she admitted that the substance was “Sominex.”
Police said they searcher Gratz's home on Monday, and arrested her after the search.
She has since been booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail.
Anyone who knows something about this, or if anyone had a child under the care of Gratz while at the Kiddie Academy, should contact Morgan Hill Police Department Detective Joe Burdick at 408.779.2101 or the anonymous tip line at 408.947.STOP(7867).