ROCKPORT, Maine — An elementary school employee was charged last week with endangering the welfare of a child after allegedly leaving prescription medication out in a classroom where a student was able to take possession of it. The child did not ingest any of the drug and was not harmed.
Rockport Police Chief Mark Kelley confirmed Thursday that Cynthia Archambault, 61, of Washington was issued a summons on the misdemeanor charge.
According to state law, a person endangers the welfare of a child if the person “recklessly endangers the health, safety or welfare of the child by violating a duty of care or protection.”
Archambault is listed as an educational technician on the school’s website.
The incident occurred March 1 at the Camden-Rockport Elementary School in Rockport, according to Superintendent Maria Libby. She did not disclose what the medication was, but she indicated that the drug was not in a prescription container and was not carefully protected when the child picked it up.
Another staff member found the child with the drug, and Rockport police were called, Libby said. After an investigation, officials determined the following day that the medication belonged to an employee, according to the superintendent.
The pupil did not ingest any of the medication and was not harmed, Libby said. The child’s age was not given, but the school serves students in kindergarten through fourth grade.
The school does have a policy that allows for the administration of prescribed drugs to students by designated school personnel when necessary or to authorize students to self-administer medication from asthma inhalers and epinephrine pens in emergencies.
But Libby said there is no policy in the district for how employees are required to handle their own prescription medications. Libby said she is not sure whether the district can develop one, but that question will be asked.
Because of confidentiality laws regarding personnel issues, Libby declined to say what, if any, administrative action was taken against the staff member.
The superintendent, however, sent an email to parents Thursday afternoon.
“You may have heard about an incident that occurred at CRES last week regarding medication that was not carefully protected. We investigated this situation, and I think it is important that everyone understand what happened. A staff member inadvertently left personal medication in a classroom that a student picked up. This was discovered shortly thereafter, and the medication was appropriately secured. There is nothing more important to us than ensuring that your children are safe and protected. While no one was harmed in this instance, we have taken steps to ensure that there can be no repeat of this situation. If you have any questions regarding this matter, please give me a call or send me an email,” Libby stated.
The police chief said he expects that Archambault will make an initial court appearance in 30 to 45 days, which is typical when someone is charged by summons. The police report has not yet been forwarded to the district attorney’s office.
A telephone message left Thursday afternoon at Archambault’s home was not returned.