Calif. Daycare Teacher Accused of Drugging Toddlers' Drinks with Sleep Aid

Teacher admitted using Sominex, according to police

A teacher at a California daycare center has been arrested after she admitted to drugging toddlers' drink cups with a sleeping aid, police said Tuesday.

Sgt. Troy Hoefling said investigators were called to the Kiddie Academy in Morgan Hill, Calif., on Monday, three days after teacher Deborah Gratz was fired. Administrators told police that Gratz had put Sominex, a sleep aid, into the drinks of children as young as one.

In a written statement, academy spokeswoman Rose Chin said that administrators spotted the laced drinks early in the morning on Friday, and none of the 10 children in the class ended up drinking from the cups.

The academy, which is independently owned, said that this was the only instance they are aware of regarding Gratz putting the sleeping aid in the drinks. She was immediately fired and later arrested on felony child endangerment charges.

The school statement read in part that the "safety" of the children is Kiddie Academy's "top priority" and that its 80 students are cared for by "exceptionally qualified teachers."

The news comes a day after reports exploded about a teacher at a school in a nearby city accused of taping up a 2-year-old for refusing to take a nap. The teacher has since been forbidden by the state to work at the school.

READ: State Investigates Pleasanton Christian Preschool Where Teacher Ties Up Toddler

Gratz has been a teacher at Kiddie Academy for the past five years. She was the full-time teacher of a class of toddlers aged 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 searched Gratz's Hollister home on Monday and arrested her after the search.

She has since been booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail.

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