A school health technician at Destin Middle School was charged last week with stealing prescription medication from several students and in some instances replacing their medications with aspirin or Aleve, an over-the-counter pain reliever and anti-inflammatory medication.
The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office charged 27-year-old Makayla Crandall of Niceville with three counts of grand theft of a controlled substance, five counts of child neglect, and one count of failure to maintain narcotics records.
Crandall was hired in July.
In late September, a child who visits Crandall daily for medication started noticing a difference in the color and imprint of her pills and mentioned it to her mother. Her mother, in turn, said she had observed distinct differences in her child's behavior.
After it was reported, the Sheriff's Office school resource officer and school employees made a forced entry into the cabinet on Oct. 4 and conducted an audit. The audit revealed at least 110 missing amphetamine/dexmethylphenidate pills from the medication supplies of at least five students.
One medication bottle contained an Aleve pill and another had seven pills later identified as aspirin. The investigation revealed that around the same September and October time frame, two other parents said they had become concerned after noticing a resurfacing of behavioral issues with their children.
During the audit, one student's medication bottles were found to contain aspirin, which the parent says the student is not to be administered.
The mother of a third victim said she dropped off a bottle of Adderall for her daughter on Sept. 29 but had to take her to the emergency room Oct. 4 because of erratic, unusual behavior.
Investigators said Crandall had sole possession of the key to the medicine cabinet. She claimed to have a valid prescription for Adderall, but no prescription could be found in law enforcement databases.
Crandall was also unable to explain how student medications were missing or had been switched out.
In a press release issued Friday afternoon, the Okaloosa County School District said Crandall was removed from the position on Oct. 4 and was not allowed to return to the school while law enforcement conducted its investigation. Crandall is a contracted employee with Aveanna Healthcare, which provides employees to oversee the district’s school clinic operations.
“As Superintendent, I am appalled by the allegations,” Superintendent Marcus Chambers said in a prepared statement. “We will work with authorities to ensure this individual, if guilty, is punished to the fullest extent of the law. We fully supported the efforts by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office throughout the investigation and have mandated that Aveanna (Healthcare) put in place additional checks and balances with regard to dispensing student medicine in our school clinics.”
“Parents should have absolute confidence that their child’s visit to the school clinic is handled professionally and accurately. Aveanna has been a good healthcare partner over a number of years and acted swiftly in this matter to address the District’s concerns.”
This article originally appeared on Northwest Florida Daily News: Health tech at Destin Middle School charged with stealing medications