An Indiana school district superintendent who was arrested last month on charges that she used her son’s name to help a sick student receive medical treatment has resigned from her post, NBC affiliate WTHR of Indianapolis reported Friday.
The announcement that Casey Smitherman, the superintendent of Elwood Community School Corporation, resigned was made at a Friday school board meeting, WTHR reported.
Smitherman, 48, was arrested last month on charges of insurance fraud, identity deception, insurance application fraud and official misconduct, according to court documents. Smitherman has agreed to a diversion program where the charges will be dropped from her record if she avoids arrest for the next year, WTHR reported.
Police in Elwood said they received a tip that Smitherman took a 15-year-old student to urgent care on Jan. 9 after the teenager missed school because he had a sore throat, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings has told NBC News that Smitherman took the student to one urgent care location but was denied because she is not his guardian. That's when Smitherman took the student to St. Vincent Med in Elwood and used her insurance to have the student evaluated under her son’s name, Cummings said.
An attorney listed in online court records as representing Smitherman did not immediately return a message left at his work phone number on Saturday.
The attorney, Bryan Williams, told the the Indianapolis Star newspaper in an article published Friday that "The child was very sick and she was just trying to get him medicine" and that "she knew it was probably a mistake. But at the same time, she really didn’t know what else to do."
Smitherman told police that she was worried about the student when he did not show up for school and she went by his house and saw that he was ill, according to an affidavit of probable cause. She said after leaving urgent care she went to a CVS Pharmacy to have a prescription filled for Amoxicillin, again using her insurance and son’s name.
The affidavit says that Smitherman voluntarily went to the Elwood Police Department on Jan. 17 to give a statement. Smitherman also said that she has helped the student in the past by buying clothes for him and cleaning his home, the affidavit states.
The Indianapolis Star reported that Smitherman said in a statement provided to the newspaper that she was resigning effective Friday and cited negative attention on the community as one reason for the decision.
"I am very embarrassed for that, and I apologize to the board, the community and the teachers and students of Elwood Community Schools," Smitherman said in the statement. "I sincerely hope this single lapse in judgement does not tarnish all of the good work I've done for students over the span of my career."
The school nurse said at a Tuesday night school board meeting that the district is equipped to handle the child's medical needs, WTHR reported.
Elwood is a community of around 8,600 around 30 miles northeast of downtown Indianapolis. The district's schools have over 1,600 students in graded K through 12, and another 200 in a preschool program, according to its website.