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Pasco deputies arrest student after attempt to poison teacher

LAND O'LAKES — A 13-year-old student at a school for students with emotional and behavioral disabilities tried to poison her teacher on Tuesday, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.

The student, whom the Tampa Bay Times is not identifying because of her age, crushed up a piece of chalk and slipped the powder into the teacher's coffee mug when the teacher wasn't looking, deputies said.

Another student who observed the incident inside a classroom at the Achieve Center of Pasco alerted the teacher before she took a sip of the coffee.

"Due to the student intentionally placing a chemical compound in the victim's coffee that she was drinking without regard to the medical hazard that could ensue," deputies wrote, they arrested the student on a charge of poisoning food or water to kill or injure a person.

Chalk is generally nonpoisonous, according to the National Institutes of Health, but can be dangerous if ingested in large quantities. Symptoms of chalk poisoning could include abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea and vomiting.

After the incident, the student denied placing crushed chalk into the teacher's coffee, the Sheriff's Office said. She was taken to the juvenile detention center in Pasco.