Humble, TX nonverbal 5-year-old would come home lethargic, stumbling off the bus, family said
HUMBLE, Texas -- A kindergarten teacher in Humble, Texas was caught slipping melatonin gummies to students in a special education class.
A parent of one of the students who was given melatonin told ABC Houston affiliate KTRK the principal called her to tell her what happened.
The mother, who does not want her name used, said her 5-year-old son is nonverbal, and this is her worst nightmare: something happening at school, and her son is unable to communicate.
She said her son's teacher had called her before asking for advice on how to calm him down.
"She called me a few times asking, 'What do you do at home? What do you suggest to calm him down?' He's very active, and we sometimes have a hard time getting him to focus back on the task at hand," she said.
The mother said the teacher even asked if her son liked gummies and took gummy vitamins, but she didn't think much of the comment until now.
"We noticed on three different occasions when he came home he was completely lethargic, stumbling to get off the bus. It's a breach of trust," she said.
In response, the Humble school district sent KTRK a statement saying in part, "The district took immediate action to launch an investigation. Our investigation found that the teacher did give out melatonin, acting on her own and without obtaining parent permission. The teacher did not notify campus administration nor the nurse."
A spokesperson also said the district is appalled and the teacher's actions were unacceptable. The teacher, who KTRK is not naming since she has not been charged, was allowed to resign and no longer works for the district.
When KTRK asked why the teacher did not get fired, a spokesperson for the district said accepting a resignation is most efficient.
"Terminating a teacher, under state law, can be a more drawn-out process because there are multiple steps that must occur to terminate a teacher's contract," the district said in a statement.
Humble Independent School District reported the incident to the State Board of Educator Certification, and the district is investigating.
With the teacher resigning, the mother does believe the school principal handled the situation well by calling her and other parents immediately. However, another mother contacted KTRK, saying she wasn't aware the teacher had the option to resign, until our report.
According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is possible for children to overdose on melatonin.
A 2012 to 2021 study revealed poison control received more than 260,000 reports of children ingesting melatonin. Roughly 4,000 kids were hospitalized during that 10-year period. Five children were placed on ventilators, and two of those children died. The children who died were 3 months old and 13 months old, according to the study. One ingestion involved medication missed, and the reason for the other is unknown.
"Your brain naturally produces this, but we don't know what dosage it was," the parent said. "It could have been for a grown adult, and it could have severe negative impacts."