‘Until you’re in that boat, you don’t know’: Elwood superintendent who lied to get sick student treatment speaks out

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Data pix.

ELWOOD, Ind. – For the first time, we're hearing from the Elwood superintendent facing charges for paying for a student's medical treatment with her own insurance.

Casey Smitherman is the superintendent for Elwood Community Schools.

Her attorney Bryan Williams says she met the 15-year-old student in August. He has been living with his 79-year-old uncle who has very limited means, so Smitherman and her husband have been helping the boy for months. "If they needed anything, transportation or food or clothing, they’ve just helped them out," said Williams.

When the boy didn't show up for school a few weeks ago, Smitherman became concerned. She picked him up and took him to a clinic for a sore throat, but they were turned away because she wasn't a guardian.

Court documents say she signed the student in under her son’s name, and had a prescription for Amoxicillin filled at CVS under her son's name. The total claim was $233.

“I’ve had a week or more to think about this, and I wish that I could re-do it and do it differently,” Smitherman told CBS News. “I'm kicking myself over and over for not doing it differently, but at the time I was worried about him and thinking about his healthcare. I would really like to go back and revisit that moment and change it, but I can’t.”

Smitherman turned herself into police. She faces multiple charges, including official misconduct, insurance fraud, insurance application fraud and identity deception. She returned to school yesterday.

“I’m not trying to justify what I did, but I also think it's hard sometimes to look in the face of that sick kid. So until you’re in that boat, you don't know,” Smitherman said.

Williams says Smitherman is considering a diversion program with the prosecutor. If they choose to proceed with the diversion program, there would be no criminal conviction, and it wouldn’t appear on her criminal record.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.