LIZTON, Ind. (Feb. 10, 2015)—A teacher with Tri-West Hendricks High School resigned last week after allegations surfaced of him stealing students’ prescription medications at the school.
Jeremy Small, 37, was arrested on several charges, including possession of a controlled substance, theft and criminal mischief.
According to court documents, the principal of Tri-West Middle School contacted authorities in early January to report a theft of prescription medications had occurred at the school. The principal showed authorities surveillance footage, allegedly showing Small wandering the halls of the school around 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 30, 2014. Small wandered throughout the building for approximately an hour and a half and his “movements and behavior seemed suspicious,” read the probable cause affidavit.
The principal told authorities he arrived at the middle school later that morning and went to the nurse’s office to get an antacid tablet. He reported the cabinet containing students’ prescription medications was opened and the cabinet door was damaged. The school’s nurse took inventory of the medication and revealed seven Adderall, three Focalin and two Concerta pills were missing, all schedule II controlled substance drugs.
School officials questioned Small, a 13-year veteran at the school who taught biology, about the alleged theft. Small denied taking the medications, and he was suspended with pay pending investigation.
The next day, according to court documents, a nurse at Tri-West Hendricks High School reported medications—Hydrocodone and Adderall pills--were also missing from the high school’s medicine cabinet. Authorities obtained surveillance footage that allegedly showed Small entering the school nurse’s office.
FOX59 spoke with the superintendent of the North West Hendricks School Corporation, who described Small as a very popular teacher and said the situation was heartbreaking.
"I think with Jeremy, it caught us off guard because he was so well liked. I liked him personally. He was a good teacher," said Richard King, superintendent, "We can no longer have him working for us."
FOX59 located the step-father of a student whose medicine was stolen. The man asked that we conceal his identity. He said he was initially shocked it was a teacher but not surprised.
"I was told by a school official that medication had been compromised, and he was going to be short," the man said, "In this day and age there are a lot of people that have addiction problems, so it can be anybody."
We also located a former student who said Small was her favorite teacher, and she had trouble believing the allegations.
"Granted, I'm not there anymore, so I'm not as attached, but it was definitely something I had to cope with," said Amy Lambert, who had Small as a Biology teacher three years ago.
Small resigned effective last Friday. The school board is expected to formally accept his resignation Wednesday night.
"We haven't talked to our students about it, because it's been a personnel issue," said King.
Small is due back in court in March.