(NEWPORT NEWS, Va.) -- Two Virginia middle school students are facing felony charges of attempted poisoning after they allegedly spiked their teacher's tea at least twice with hand sanitizer.
The two 13-year-old male students, who have not been named, were removed from Hines Middle School in Newport News, Va., and placed in an alternative school after confessing, officials said. The attempted poisoning was brought to the school's attention by student witnesses on Jan. 29, who contacted the school's resource officer and assistant principal, according to Michelle Price with Newport News Public Schools.
"An investigation was started by the administrators at Hines," Price told ABC News. "This usually involves interviewing students involved, and the ones who came forward, and talking to the teacher. The students did then confess to putting some hand sanitizer in the teacher's beverage."
The school's officer then contacted the Newport News police department's Special Victims Unit, which conducted a thorough investigation, police said in a statement. On March 6, the two teens were each charged with one count of attempted poisoning, a class three felony.
The two students were removed, according to Price, and recommended for long-term suspensions. They were then referred to a disciplinary review committee, which involves three school board members, who upheld the long-term suspension.
"It's the board's philosophy that all students should be offered some sort of educational experience," Price said. "They are with students who have been convicted of or are facing charges."
The two students were sent to a separate community school in January, and will not be able to attend any other comprehensive school in the district during the police investigation, according to Price.
Price said that the 66-year-old teacher, who does not want to be named, was unaware that anything had been put in her tea until she was told, and missed a few days of teaching when she went to see her doctor.
"She did not require hospitalization. Aside from few days she's missed she's been teaching," Price said. "We don't believe a lot of it was ingested, and we believe it may have happened twice."
Hines Middle School does not stand out as a problem school in the district, and most of the problems at the school can be characterized as "preteen and teen drama," according to Price.
If the accused teens are found guilty they will have to remain in the community school, she said.
A class three felony carries a punishment of not less than five years nor more than 20 years in prison and a fine of not more than $100,000 in Virginia, according to police. It is unclear how the teens plead, as Newport News juvenile court does not share information pertaining to juveniles.
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