For release on May 3, 2013
Deputy District Attorney
Family Violence Unit
PRESCHOOL TEACHER PLEADS TO SPIKING SIPPY CUPS WITH SLEEPING PILLS
A South County pre-school teacher has pleaded “no contest” to attempted child endangerment for dosing toddlers’ sippy cups with sleeping pills.
Deborah Gratz, 59, of Hollister, will be sentenced on July 5, 2013 at the South County Courthouse in Morgan Hill in front of the Hon. Kenneth Shapero. She faces a jail sentence for five misdemeanor counts. A “no contest” plea to those counts is the same as a guilty plea in criminal court.
“This is a case about betrayal,’’ Deputy District Attorney Sumerle Davis said. “Ms. Gratz betrayed the parents and the trust of these innocent children who look up to their teachers for every need, from their ABCs to quenching their thirst.”
Gratz has worked at the Kiddie Academy in Morgan Hill since 2007. She was the “lead toddler teacher” in the mornings, overseeing many of the school’s children, who were between the ages of one and two. A fellow teacher observed Gratz putting pills into the children’s water cups. The cups were confiscated before any children could drink from them. Teachers found residue of some type of unidentified powder in five of the cups. The defendant admitted to police that she dosed the cups with Sominex – a sleep aid.
A Morgan Hill police officer reported: “She said she had done it to make the children sleep longer during their
Gratz was arrested on Monday, March 11 by Morgan Hill police. She has been fired by the Kiddie Academy.