People who work at schools are generally kind, caring, and generous, wanting nothing but the best for their students at all times, and often going above and beyond the call of duty to make sure they get it. Sometimes, as in this case, they even put themselves in harms way and in danger of facing legal consequences.
The superintendent at a school in Elwood, Indiana, committed insurance fraud to try and help a sick student. Casey Smitherman is facing four different charges — official misconduct, insurance fraud, insurance application fraud, and identity deception — for using her son’s name to get the teenager treatment and medication, according to CBS News.
After her arrest, she was released on $500 bail.
“I understand it was her desire to help a young man that was in bad shape but probably not the best example to set for young people to assume other identities and make false statements,” Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings said.
As the school superintendent, she was aware that the boy had problems at home, and that he didn’t have insurance. When he didn’t come into school, she went to his home to see if he was all right. According to Smitherman, he presented with symptoms consistent with strep throat, and she knew he needed to see a doctor and get medication immediately.
An Indiana school superintendent is accused of pretending a sick student was her son so she could get him treatment. She's been arrested and charged with fraud, but the school board says it stands behind her. https://t.co/J9PUeTwPHo
— CNN International (@cnni) January 25, 2019
She first tried one clinic who wouldn’t treat him because she is not his legal guardian, and then made a decision that may have saved the boy’s life while risking her own: Smitherman took him to a different clinic, where she told them the boy was her son, using her own insurance and her son’s name to get him treated and to then fill the prescription he was given at CVS.
“As a parent, I know how serious this illness can be if left untreated, and I took him to an emergency clinic,” Smitherman said in a statement following her arrest. “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.”
Police found out about the fraud through an anonymous tip.
It’s not the first time Smitherman has shown an act of kindness for the same boy. She has previously also bought him clothing, and even gone to his home to help clean his house. According to the superintendent, he does not live with his parents, but with a relative. She did not want to get Child Protective Services involved for fear they would take him away, choosing instead to help him as much as she could.
The Elwood school board has also issued a statement about the matter, pledging their support for Smitherman despite her actions.
“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.”