A Texas kindergarten teacher who was caught passing out melatonin gummies to some of her young special education students to calm them down has resigned. And the district has reported her to Child Protective Services.
An investigation by the Humble Independent School District outside of Houston found that the teacher, who worked at Pine Forest Elementary School, had acted on her own, without getting permission from parents or informing anyone working at the school. But at least some of the parents noticed the effects.
"We noticed on three different occasions when he came home he was completely lethargic, stumbling to get off the bus," said the mother of a 5-year-old nonverbal boy, via ABC7 News. "It's a breach of trust."
The boy's mom said she remembers the teacher asking her earlier in the year if her son liked gummies, but the question didn't seem like a big deal at the time.
The mother, who does not want her name used, said her 5-year-old son is nonverbal, and this is her worst nightmare: something happening at school, and her son is unable to communicate.
She said her son's teacher had called her before asking for advice on how to calm him down.
"She called me a few times asking, 'What do you do at home? What do you suggest to calm him down?' He's very active, and we sometimes have a hard time getting him to focus back on the task at hand," she said. …
According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is possible for children to overdose on melatonin.
A 2012 to 2021 study revealed poison control received more than 260,000 reports of children ingesting melatonin. Roughly 4,000 kids were hospitalized during that 10-year period. Five children were placed on ventilators, and two of those children died. The children who died were 3 months old and 13 months old, according to the study. One ingestion involved medication missed, and the reason for the other is unknown.
And from CNN:
"The teacher's actions were unacceptable," [Humble Independent School District spokesperson Jamie] Mount said. "We are appalled that the teacher made this decision."
The students were doing well, and the parents of all students in the class have been notified by the principal, Mount said. The district also reported the incident to police, the State Board for Educator Certification and Child Protective Services.
Asked about the teacher's resignation, Mount said, it is "the fastest, most efficient process to separate employment."
"Terminating a teacher's contract can be a longer, drawn-out process because the state education code requires a multistep process to be followed." Mount said. "With the Resignation, the matter is still reported to the State Board for Educator Certification."