School superintendent arrested for claiming sick student was her son to get him medicine

An Indiana school superintendent was arrested after she claimed a sick student was her biological son in order to get him medical treatment that he needed but couldn't afford.

Casey Smitherman, the superintendent of Elwood Community Schools, is facing charges of official misconduct, insurance fraud, insurance application fraud and identity deception, according to WTTV

According to court documents, Smitherman became worried when a 15-year-old student didn't show up for school on Jan. 9 due to a sore throat. Smitherman allegedly had a personal relationship with the student and his elderly guardian, and had bought the student clothing and presents and helped him clean his house in the past.

The concerned teacher picked the student up and brought him to a clinic, where she used her son's name and insurance to check the boy in. She later used her son's insurance to fill an Amoxicillin prescription for the sick student at CVS.

Police later received a tip about the incident and followed up with the teen's guardian a week later on Jan. 16.

Authorities then interviewed Smitherman, who admitted to taking the student to the clinic and filling a prescription under her son's name. She allegedly told investigators that she didn’t contact Child Protective Services because she feared the teen would be placed in foster care.

In a statement, Smitherman said that while she knew her action was "wrong," her only concern was for the student's welfare.

"I could tell he had some of the symptoms of strep throat. As a parent, I know how serious this illness can be if left untreated, and I took him to an emergency clinic," she said.

If left untreated, strep throat can lead to deadly complications, such as kidney inflammation or rheumatic fever, according to the Mayo Clinic. Rheumatic fever can cause painful and inflamed joints, a skin rash and even heart valve damage.

Smitherman was released on $500 bail immediately after her arrest and has reportedly agreed to a diversion program, which, if followed, would mean no criminal convictions.

The Elwood school board also issued a statement in support of Smitherman following the incident. 

"Dr. Smitherman has tirelessly worked for the best interests of all students in Elwood Community Schools since she was hired. She made an unfortunate mistake, but we understand that it was out of concern for this child’s welfare. We know she understands what she did was wrong, but she continues to have our support."

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