If you were to ask many educators why they chose to become teachers or school board members, they will probably tell you that they want to make a difference.
Teachers not only teach classroom material, they have the power to transform a person's life in many other ways.
For Cathy Smitherman, the superintendent of Elwood Community Schools in Indiana, she went above and beyond for a student, but now she's paying the price.
Smitherman noticed that one of the students missed a few days of school, so she paid them a visit at home. It was then that she realized that the boy had symptoms of strep throat.
Caused by the Streptococcus bacteria, strep throat is usually characterized by pain and inflammation in the throat. It is especially common in children between the ages of five and 15, and although it is rarely fatal, if left untreated it can lead to severe complications.
The Indiana woman offered to take the ill student to the clinic, but he was refused treatment. Determined to get the boy into a doctor's office, Smitherman took the 15-year-old to another clinic and said he was her son.
After his check-up, the doctor prescribed the antibiotic Amoxicillin, which Smitherman filled for the teen using her own health insurance. The clinic visit and the cost of the medicine was valued at $233.
Smitherman, who has previously helped the student by buying him clothes and other necessities, did not think about the legal trouble she could be in when she sought medical treatment for the boy.
She is now facing multiple charges, including insurance fraud, identity deception, and official misconduct. She was arrested earlier this week, but was later released on bail.
"I am committed to this community and our students, and I regret if this action has undermined your trust in me," Smitherman said in a statement, according to Fox 59. "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."
Smitherman has been given an opportunity to have the charges dismissed, but she will have to complete a diversion plan and avoid any arrests for a year.
According to WISH-TV, Smitherman has not been fired from her job and she has received support from the school board's president.