BENICIA (KPIX 5) – The superintendent of an East Bay school district spoke out Monday following word of the arrest of a teacher for allegedly feeding co-workers food laced with marijuana.
47-year-old Teresa Gilmete Badger, a first grade teacher at Matthew Turner Elementary School in Benicia, was arrested Friday afternoon on suspicion of poisoning after a month-and-a-half long investigation, according to police.
“It’s very sad,” Benicia Unified School District Superintendent Janice Adams told KPIX 5. “Matthew Turner is a wonderful school and a wonderful school community and I’m very sorry that this is happening to our school community.”
Adams said she called police after the Thanksgiving break after the Turner Elementary principal told her about several teachers getting sick at a potluck dinner party.
At least one of the party-goers was rushed to the hospital with severe reactions, according to Benicia Police Lt. Frank Hartig.
Investigators said Badger admitted putting marijuana in some of the party food. She was arrested at her house Friday.
On Monday, counselors were at Turner Elementary to help students and teachers cope.
We’re just trying to keep things as positive and normal as possible for our students,” said Adams.
The district has also sent parents a list of ways to help explain the situation to their children.
Parents who met with the superintendent Monday asked why Badger was not put on administrative leave until last Tuesday. Adams said the school district had to wait for the police investigation to end.
“It took awhile,” said Adams. “The investigation was inconclusive… It took time.”
At Badger’s home Monday there was no answer. A sign placed on her front door said ‘gone fishing.’
Badger is expected in court in a couple of weeks to face three charges of poisoning.