Elmwood, Indiana- A superintendent in Indiana has been charged with fraud for using her insurance to help an ill student. She is aware that her actions were wrong. But, she was only thinking of her student.
The superintendent had a habit of helping the student and knew that the family was without health insurance. And, decided to check the young man in under her sons name.
While I understand that fraud is wrong. I can’t help but think that she was acting in a sort of Robin Hood type of way. As stated in the video the Smitherman would help the 15 year old from everything from buying him school clothes all the way to helping him clean his house. But, I guess providing medical care is crossing the line. I bet she’s never had so much as a late payment to her insurance carrier. But, fraud is fraud I suppose.
The relationship obviously closer than most teachers keep to their students. But, I can’t help but think that her intentions were pure. And, she undoubtedly has a good heart undeserving of any harsh criticisms.
Mrs. Smitherman could face several charges for her action. Undeniably, wouldn’t be the case if the parents of the boy were actually doing their jobs as parents.
In a statement released by Mrs. Smitherman, she said:
Recently, I was given notice one of our students was not at school. I went to his home to check on him, and he told me that he had not felt well enough to come to school. After making sure he had eaten, I could tell he had some of the symptoms of strep throat. As a parent, I know how serious this illness can be if left untreated, and I took him to an emergency clinic.
After one clinic refused to give the boy necessary treatment, I took him to a different clinic and told them he was my son. 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.
I have been charged with three felonies and a misdemeanor, and I have cooperated with authorities every step of the way. I turned myself in to the Elwood police this afternoon and was immediately released on bail. It is my understanding the prosecutor has agreed to a diversion program and that should be finalized yet this afternoon.
The Elwood community has been welcoming since I started this position, and I am so grateful for your support. I am committed to this community and our students, and I regret if this action has undermined your trust in me. From the beginning, my ultimate goal has been to provide the best environment for Elwood students’ growth physically, mentally and academically, and I remain focused on that purpose.
School board president Brent Kane has issued a statement of support below, for which I am also grateful. I am continuing to work with appropriate authorities as necessary and want to be transparent about my work with the Elwood community.
The Elmwood School department also released a statement saying:
Dr. Smitherman has tirelessly worked for the best interests of all students in Elwood Community Schools since she was hired. 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.
It is our understanding that the prosecutor has agreed to a diversion program and that will be finalized this afternoon.