Kindergarten Teacher Sentenced to Death for Poisoning 25 Children, Killing One

A kindergarten teacher who put poison in rice porridge eaten by pupils at her school, causing one death and making 24 others sick, has been sentenced to death in China.

Wang Yun, a 37-year-old teacher at Meng Meng Kindergarten in Jiaozuo, in central China's Henan province, was found guilty of putting dangerous substances into the children's food.

She was sentenced to death for the crime and received an additional nine-month sentence for intentional injury. It is unclear whether she will appeal to a higher court against her sentence.

The court heard how Wang added sodium nitrite to the porridge of children in the class of another teacher, with whom she had fallen out.

Wang was said to have tampered with the food as an act of "revenge" after the pair "argued over student management issues."

The poisoning, on March 27, 2019, resulted in 25 children becoming unwell. One pupil was left severely ill for almost a year before he died in January, reports said.

A month earlier, Wang had used the same chemical to poison water drunk by her husband, who became unwell but survived the incident.

"The defendant should be given a harsher penalty, because she knew the chemical is harmful to people's health, but still used it a second time after she saw her husband was injured in her first poisoning," the Jiaozuo City Intermediate People's Court said in the ruling on Monday.

In the sentencing statement, the court said Wang had shown "no regard for the consequences" of her actions and her motives were "despicable."

It added that her "criminal methods and circumstances were exceedingly bad, with especially severe circumstances, and she should be severely punished in accordance with the law," according to AFP.

china school class
This photo taken on August 30, 2020 shows a staff member wearing protective gear spraying disinfectant against coronavirus in a classroom of a middle school ahead of the new semester in China's northern Hebei province. In a sentencing statement, the court said Wang had shown “no regard for the consequences" of her actions and her "motives were despicable." STR/AFP/Getty Images

Sodium nitrite can be used as an additive for curing meat but is also used in fertilizers and explosives. It is toxic in high doses.

Wang pleaded guilty at the trial but said she had not intended to harm the children.

The court ordered her and the kindergarten to pay compensation to the victims.

In June, more than 100 school children were hospitalized with suspected food poisoning in the same Chinese province.

A spokesperson for the local education department said several schools had reported pupils experiencing symptoms including vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhea.

However, it was not believed to be a deliberate act, with food suppliers investigated for possible accidental contamination.