A school superintendent in Indiana was criminally charged after she allegedly pretended a student was her own son in order to get medical treatment for the child.
KFSM reports Casey Smitherman was accused of taking the student to a doctor on January 9 after he didn’t come to school due to a sore throat. Reportedly suspecting that the child may have had strep throat, Smitherman allegedly signed the student in and got a prescription for Amoxicillin using her son’s name.
Police interviewed the student’s guardian on January 16 after receiving a tip about Smitherman’s alleged actions. Smitherman later told police that she was worried about the student when he didn’t come to school and revealed that she had previously bought him clothes and helped clean his home, according to the news station.
In admitting that she took the boy to the doctor and got him a prescription, police said Smitherman claimed she didn’t call Department of Child Services regarding the 15-year-old because she was afraid he would be put in foster care.
The woman’s lawyer told the Indianapolis Star that the boy lived with an elderly relative who didn’t own a car.
Documents obtained by the news outlet showed that Smitehrman paid a total of $223 for the medical care. She claimed she believed the student had strep throat and took him to an emergency clinic because she didn’t want it to go untreated.
“I know this action was wrong,” she said.
“In the moment, my only concern was for this child’s health.”
The Elmwood superintendent was charged with insurance fraud, identity deception, and official misconduct—all felonies—in addition to a misdemeanor count of insurance fraud. However, the Star reported that prosecutors have offered a diversionary program, allowing her to confess to her crimes without having a conviction on her record.
Calling her actions an “unfortunate mistake,” school district officials are backing Smitherman and said they believe she’s learned her lesson—something prosecutors echoed in a recent statement.
“The other side of it is you have a school superintendent who is demonstrating through her actions that its OK to be dishonest and falsify your name,” Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings commented. “That was more troubling. I think she realizes that.”
[Featured image: Casey Smitherman/Madison County Sheriff’s Office]