FILED IN: Preschoolers

Police: Preschool teacher slipped sleeping pills into tots sippy cups

Debbie Gratz, allegedly admits to drugging toddlers at Calif. preschool. Mug shot via Morgan Valley Police.

A Kiddie Academy preschool teacher in Morgan Hill, Calif., was arrested on Monday after the school called police because they suspected she was drugging the children.

Debbie Gratz, 59, was fired on Friday after Gratz’ colleague witnessed Gratz allegedly slipping small pieces of pills inside the children’s sippy cups. Gratz was the teacher of classroom of 10 children under the age of 2.

Sgt. Troy Hoefling of Morgan Hill Investigations Unit told 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.”

Sgt. Hoefling expressed concern, however, that the school waited so long to contact the police and may have inadvertently destroyed evidence. Police stopped short of accusing the preschool of doing so intentionally. Sgt. Hoefling said the Investigations Unit will have to rely on witnesses statements and Gratz’ own alleged confession in order to build a case since the sippy cups were washed out.

In a prepared statement, the Morgan Hill Kiddie Academy said:

“Ms. Gratz was witnessed adding a substance to the water cups for her classroom of 10 children. The cups were confiscated before they came in contact with any children prior to the academy opening for business that day.”

However, some parents, such as Bianca Flores, whose 2-year-old was in Gratz’s class, are claiming that the school did not disclose the reason Ms. Gratz was terminated and that they found out about it on the news.

Sgt. Hoefling said that the pills Gratz used were Sominex, an over-the-counter sleep aid.

Gratz has been charged with two counts of child endangerment and was released. She is scheduled to appear in court in late March. According to police, Gratz admitted to slipping over-the-counter drugs into the children’s drinks.