Dallas school nurse Rebecca Baily-Long is on paid administrative leave after allegedly stealing prescription drugs from students.
Bailey-Long is accused of risking the health of young students by replacing a K.B. Polk Vanguard Elementary School student's Ritalin, prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, with prescription painkiller Tramadol, according to The Dallas Morning News. She also allegedly stole unknown pills from another student, WFAA reports.
The incident came to light when a nurse filling in for Bailey-Long said the girl, identified by CBS Dallas-Fort Worth as Natalie, had run out of pills. Mother Ruby found it odd since she had supplied the school with months worth of the drug just one month prior. A family member had also pointed out that the girl was acting oddly, until the discovery that some of the pills at the school had been replaced with others.
Ruby says that she is angry that Bailey-Long put her daughter at risk, but is thankful that the misconduct was discovered quickly and Natalie only suffered a short-term dip in grades while she was not on her medication.
School officials have checked with doctors and confirm that the affected students are safe.
"Clearly we had a violation of trust," Dallas Independent School District spokesperson Jon Dahlander told WFAA.
Polk Elementary Principal Shirley Williams-Lewis sent a letter to parents Monday notes problems with medication administration at the school, but doesn't detail the recent incidents or offer specifics on how parents can determine whether their children were at risk:
"The health and safety of our students is always our top priority at K.B. Polk Elementary. Issues recently brought to our attention have caused us to conduct a thorough review of how medications are administered to students at our school. During the course of that review, we determined that our procedures had been violated. Please be assured that action was taken immediately to make certain this never takes place again."
Authorities searched Bailey-Long's home following the allegations and found a mass of prescription bottles, controlled substances and dangerous drugs. She was arrested Friday on a felony charge of diversion of a controlled substance and has been sent to drug rehabilitation. She faces a $10,000 fine and up to two years in jail.
Despite the school's memo, parents are still worried. Carlos Hinojosa's second grade son is administered asthma medication at school.
"I don't know what to say, I'm shocked," Hinojosa told WFAA.