April 20, 2024

An elementary school health aide in Fairfax County has been indicted on charges of stealing Ritalin, Adderall and other medications that were prescribed for pupils and giving the children sugar pills or over-the-counter drugs instead, authorities said Thursday.

Jennifer Carpenter, 45, a county health department employee assigned to Greenbriar East Elementary School in Chantilly, became the focus of a criminal investigation in May after a health department supervisor noticed “a discrepancy in the amount of medication several students maintained at the school,” Fairfax County police said in a statement.

Carpenter was responsible for administering prescription drugs to youngsters during school hours, the statement said. It said detectives determined that she had falsified documents related to the drugs and was dispensing “sugar placebo pills” and over-the-counter medications “in place of the prescribed narcotics,” which she kept for personal use.

“During the investigation, detectives identified seven students whose medicine was being abused,” the statement said.

Police said Carpenter was indicted by a grand jury Monday on charges of illegal drug possession, obtaining drugs through fraud, illegally dispensing substitute pills without the recipient’s permission and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Carpenter could not be immediately located for comment Thursday and it was unclear from court records whether she has retained a lawyer.

“As parents, we have an expectation that a person in a position of trust will care for our children,” police Capt. Frederick Chambers, head of the criminal investigations division, said in the statement. “When that trust is broken, we can feel betrayed.”

Police urged anyone with information about the case to call 703-591-0966. Tips can also be submitted anonymously by phone at 866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477).

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