A school superintendent from Indiana has been arrested, after allegedly using her own insurance to get treatment for a sick student.
Superintendent of Elwood Community School, Casey Smitherman, was charged with insurance fraud, identity deception, and official misconduct earlier this week.
Smitherman reportedly went to the home of a 15-year-old student who’d missed school. Upon arrival, she found the student was suffering from strep throat and took him to a clinic.
The first clinic, however, refused to treat the teenager, so Smitherman took him to another clinic where she checked him in under her own son’s name. She then allegedly filled a prescription for the boy, also under her son’s name, according to court documents.
The cost of the medical visit was $233, however it’s also been reported Smitherman had previously helped the student clean his house as well as buying new clothes for him, according to WISH-TV.
Smitherman had previously reported her concerns for the boy’s welfare to the police prior to her arrest.
After being released on bail, the superintendent released this statement:
Recently, I was given notice one of our students was not at school. I went to his home to check on him, and he told me that he had not felt well enough to come to school.
After making sure he had eaten, 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.
After one clinic refused to give the boy necessary treatment, I took him to a different clinic and told them he was my son. I knew he did not have insurance, and I wanted to do all I could to help him get well. I know this action was wrong. In the moment, my only concern was for this child’s health.
I have been charged with three felonies and a misdemeanor, and I have cooperated with authorities every step of the way. I turned myself in to the Elwood police this afternoon and was immediately released on bail.
From the beginning, my ultimate goal has been to provide the best environment for Elwood students’ growth physically, mentally and academically, and I remain focused on that purpose.
School board president, Brent Kane, said:
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 how what she did was wrong, and she continues to have our full support in continuing in her position.
Smitherman was released on $500 bail, according to court documents, and there are plans in place for her to enter a ‘diversion program’, which would see the charges dismissed as long as she’s not arrested again within the next year.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.