INDIANAPOLIS – An Indiana superintendent who received national attention after she was arrested on fraud charges for using her insurance to obtain medical care for a sick student has resigned.
In a statement provided to IndyStar, Casey Smitherman, the superintendent of Elwood Community Schools, says she is resigning from her position, effective Friday.
Smitherman cited the attention she has received as a reason for her decision. She was charged last week with three felonies and a misdemeanor in an insurance fraud case, after she allegedly used her son’s insurance information to get treatment for a sick student.
According to a probable-cause affidavit, Smitherman was worried about the 15-year-old boy when he did not come to school on Jan. 9. She contacted him and he told her he was sick and had a sore throat.
“After making sure he had eaten, I could tell he had some of the symptoms of strep throat,” Smitherman said in a separate written statement provided by her attorney last week. “As a parent, I know how serious this illness can be if left untreated, and I took him to an emergency clinic.”
Smitherman, documents said, took the boy to St. Vincent Immediate Care in Elwood. She admitted to using her son’s insurance card to pay for the care, documents said.
The boy, using the name of Smitherman’s son, was prescribed an antibiotic. Smitherman, documents said, filled that prescription at a pharmacy in Elwood.
The total bill was $233, documents said.
“The child was very sick and she was just trying to get him medicine,” Smitherman’s attorney, Bryan Williams, said. “She knew it was probably a mistake. But at the same time, she really didn’t know what else to do.”
More: School superintendent faces fraud charges for allegedly using own insurance to help ill student
Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings said his office agreed to offer Smitherman a diversion agreement, which would allow her to admit to the crime and avoid a criminal conviction. If a judge agrees and she isn’t arrested again within a year, Cummings said the charges would be dismissed.
In her statement Friday, Smitherman says her “recent lapse in judgement has brought negative attention” to the community and to herself.
“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 judgement does not tarnish all of the good work I’ve done for students over the span of my career,” she said.
“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,” the statement said.
The school board seemed to have supported Smitherman after her arrest. Board President Brent Kane called the incident an “unfortunate mistake,” but added that the board understands “that it was out of concern for this child’s welfare,” according to a statement provided to IndyStar by Smitherman’s attorney last week.
“We know she understands what she did was wrong, but she continues to have our support,” Kane said in the statement.
Members of the board have not responded to multiple requests for comment from IndyStar.
Contributing: Vic Ryckaert
Follow Crystal Hill on Twitter: @crysnhill.