By Alyx Arnett
A kindergarten teacher in Humble, Texas, has resigned after allegedly giving some students melatonin gummies, according to a parent of one of the students and numerous media reports.
FOX 26 in Houston reported that an investigation into the Pine Forest Elementary School teacher, whose name was not disclosed, found she gave students the supplement without obtaining permission from parents, school officials, or nursing staff. The news outlet reported the teacher resigned and hasn’t been in the classroom since September.
The school principal has since notified parents in the teacher’s classroom, as well as reported the incident to the police, according to FOX 26.
Erin Robinson, the mother of one of the students in the teacher’s self-contained special education classroom, received one of those notifications. She says she was told that her son, 5, who is non-verbal, was given melatonin gummies multiple times while at school.
Following the disclosure, Robinson says she made an appointment with her son’s pediatrician. While he was determined to be physically fine, Robinson says she had noticed behavioral changes in her child around the time, which she now attributes to the supplement.
“As a parent, I am incredibly hurt, sad, and angry that someone we trusted did something like this,” Robinson says. “Children in a special education classroom are very vulnerable. That teacher took advantage of everyone’s trust and chose to make decisions for our children without consulting any of the parents.”
Melatonin is the second-most popular “natural” product parents give their children, behind multivitamins, according to a health advisory from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), which notes that increased use has coincided with increasing reports of melatonin overdoses, calls to poison control centers, and emergency room visits for children.
AASM says the supplement “should be handled as any other medication and kept out of reach of children.”
“It doesn’t matter that it’s over the counter medication,” Robinson wrote in a post on Facebook. “When a trusted adult decides to give a medication to children who cannot speak or advocate for themselves without any kind of parental consent that is abuse. The kids in her classroom are incredibly vulnerable and our kids trusted her. We trusted her.”
Humble Independent School District, within which Pine Forest Elementary School operates, did not respond to multiple requests for comment. A request for comment from the Texas Education Agency also has not been returned.