Deborah Gratz, California Preschool Teacher, Allegedly Drugs Toddlers' Drinking Cups With Sleeping Pills

A California preschool teacher, accused of attempting to drug young children, was arrested this week on child endangerment charges.

According to Morgan Hill police, Kiddie Academy employee Deborah Gratz on Friday allegedly used over-the-counter sleep aid Sominex to drug the drinking cups of several toddlers, local TV station KTVU reports.

Police obtained a search warrant after a witness to the alleged incident came forward. Sergent Troy Hoefling said the witness saw Gratz deposit an unknown substance into the cups of students in her class, whose ages range between 1 and 2. Gratz, 59, was arrested after local authorities on Monday discovered evidence at her home.

ABC affiliate KSBW reports that the Morgan Hill preschool terminated Gratz's employment Friday, following a confrontation over the alleged incident. During the discussion with school administrators, Gratz reportedly admitted that the substance she used was Sominex.

Academy spokeswoman Rose Chin confirmed in a written statement that administrators took control of the situation before any children came in contact with the tainted drinking cups. While the preschool insists that Friday's incident was the only instance, police plan to investigate further to see if such a matter has occurred before.

"As a parent you give this trust that you not only drop off your kids, which is difficult enough, but then that trust to be just crumpled is very disheartening," Hoefling told CBS affiliate KCBS.

Gratz, who worked at Kiddie Academy for five years, faces a felony charge for child endangerment. She is currently awaiting trial at the Santa Clara County jail.



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