Superintendent quits after lying about health insurance to get medical care for sick student

Monday, February 4, 2019
Superintendent quits after lying about health insurance to help sick student
Superintendent quits after lying about health insurance to help sick student. Watch the report from Action News at 4:30 p.m. on February 4, 2019.

ELWOOD, Ind. -- An Indiana school superintendent has resigned after being accused of pretending a sick student was her son so he could get medical treatment, CNN affiliate WXIN reported.

Casey Smitherman, the superintendent of Elwood Community Schools, was charged January 23 with official misconduct, insurance fraud, insurance application fraud and identity deception. She officially resigned Friday.

In a statement to the affiliate, she said:

"I have dedicated my entire professional career to children and ensuring they have the best possible chance of success. 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. As most educators will attest, the board, community, teachers and students need to be in alignment for a school system to achieve its goals. I do not feel that alignment exists at this time nor could exist in the near future and therefore, effective 02/01/2019, I am resigning from my position as the Superintendent of Elwood Community Schools. I am confident the board will take the necessary steps to ensure the school system works through this period of change in the best possible way."

Smitherman noticed the 15-year-old student was missing from school on January 9 and checked on him at his house, where she decided he needed to see a doctor because of a sore throat.

She took him to an emergency clinic but was denied service because the child was a minor and she wasn't his guardian. At another clinic, she checked him in using her son's name and insurance and received a prescription for medications, which she picked up at a pharmacy before taking him home.

The student's guardian contacted the Elwood Police Department on January 16 about the student receiving the medical treatment. According to police documents, the student tore the label off the medicine bottle because "he knew it was wrong."

Smitherman told police that in the past she and her husband bought clothes for the student and helped clean his house. She said she didn't want to contact the Department of Child Services for fear the boy would be placed in foster care.

Smitherman's attorney, Bryan Williams, said she has entered in a diversion program that will dismiss her charges if she doesn't get arrested in a year.

The school district, about 47 miles north of Indianapolis, has more than 1,600 students in grades K-12 with another 200 students in the preschool program, according to the school district website.


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