Apr 1, 2008

WAYCROSS, Ga. -- Police say they have questioned a group of south Georgia third-graders about a plot to attack their teacher, apparently because she had scolded one of them for standing on a chair.

The nine students are too young to be charged with a crime under Georgia law, a prosecutor told the Times-Union of Jacksonville, Fla. They include girls and boys, ages 8 and 9. Authorities withheld the Center Elementary School students' names.

Waycross Police Chief Tony Tanner called the plot a serious threat that involved an attack on the teacher.

"We did not hear anybody say they intended to kill her, but could they have accidentally killed her? Absolutely," Tanner said. "We feel like if they weren't interrupted, there would have been an attempt. Would they have been successful? We don't know."

Tanner said the scheme involved a division of roles. One child's job was to cover windows so no one could see outside, he said. One was assigned to clean up the blood after the attack.

Tanner says school officials alerted police last week after a pupil tipped off a teacher that a girl had brought a weapon to school.

"We estimate between six to nine students were involved. We're not sure at this point in the investigation how many of the students actually knew the intent was to hurt the teacher," Tanner told the Times-Union.

Officials said the parents of the students have cooperated with investigators. By law police officials cannot question children without their parents' or guardians' consent.

He says police seized a broken steak knife, handcuffs, duct tape, electrical and transparent tape, ribbons and a crystal paperweight from the students, who apparently intended to use them against the teacher.

The alleged target was a veteran educator who teaches third-grade students with a range of learning disabilities, including attention deficit disorder, delayed development and hyperactivity, friends and parents said.

Tanner said the plot apparently began taking shape last week after the teacher chastised a girl about standing on a chair.(Read the rest of the story)
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