School superintendent resigns after using own insurance to get sick student medicine
An Indiana superintendent resigned after she was arrested for claiming a sick student was her biological son in order to get him medical treatment that he couldn't afford.
Casey Smitherman, the former superintendent of Elwood Community Schools, submitted her resignation on Friday after she was charged last month with official misconduct, insurance fraud, insurance application fraud and identity deception.
In a statement issued to WTTV, Smitherman said she was "embarrassed" by her recent "lapse in judgment" and that her resignation is to protect the school district from receiving any further negative attention.
"I have dedicated my entire professional career to children and ensuring they have the best possible chance of success," she said. "My record of accomplishments clearly shows I have been successful in doing that. Unfortunately, my recent lapse in judgment has brought negative attention to the community and myself. I am very embarrassed for that, and I apologize to the board, the community and the teachers and students of Elwood Community Schools. I sincerely hope this single lapse in judgment does not tarnish all of the good work I’ve done for students over the span of my career."
Court documents show that Smitherman became worried when a 15-year-old student didn't show up for school on Jan. 9 due to a sore throat. The concerned teacher allegedly had a personal relationship with the student and his elderly guardian, and had bought the teen clothing and presents in the past.
Smitherman 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.
Smitherman was released on $500 bail immediately after her arrest and reportedly agreed to a diversion program, which, if followed, would mean no criminal convictions.
The Elwood school board, which accepted Smitherman's resignation on Friday, initially issued a statement in support of the superintendent.
"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."