The superintendent of an Indiana school district who drew national attention after she was charged with fraud for using her insurance to obtain medical care for a sick student has resigned.
The Indianapolis Star reports that Casey Smitherman, the superintendent of Elwood Community Schools, disclosed her resignation on Friday.
Smitherman cited the attention she has received as a reason for her decision. She is facing three felony charges after she allegedly used her son's insurance information to get treatment for a sick student.
According to court affidavit, Smitherman told authorities she became worried about the boy, 25, 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 written statement provided last month by her attorney. "As a parent, I know how serious this illness can be if left untreated, and I took him to an emergency clinic."
Smitherman admitted to using her son's insurance card to pay for the care. The boy was prescribed the antibiotic amoxicillin. The total bill was $233, documents said.
"The child was very sick and she was just trying to get him medicine," says Bryan Williams, Smitherman's attorney. "She knew it was probably a mistake. But at the same time, she really didn’t know what else to do."
Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings says his office has 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, the charges would be dismissed.
In her statement Friday, Smitherman says her "recent lapse in judgment 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."
The school board offered support to Smitherman after her arrest. Board President Brent Kane called the incident an "unfortunate mistake," and added that the board understands "that it was out of concern for this child’s welfare."