Northfield Public Schools fires employee suspected of giving melatonin to infants

Northfield Public Schools fires employee suspected of giving melatonin to infants Photo: Northfield Public Schools/Facebook.

Kyle Brown
Updated: December 03, 2020 01:27 PM
Created: December 03, 2020 01:20 PM

Northfield Public Schools announced on Thursday it had fired an employee who is suspected of giving tablets to infants without their parents' consent.

According to a news release, the school district learned on Monday that staff had found small tablets in a classroom where infant childcare is provided. The tablet was given to administrators on Tuesday. The district said the tablet "raised suspicions," and an investigation was launched.

The investigation revealed that one employee was responsible and that they had placed tablets into at least one infant's bottle. The Northfield Police Department told the district it believed the tablets were child-sized doses of melatonin. 

According to the release, the employee was fired on Wednesday following the results of the investigation. No one else is believed to be involved.

“I am appalled at the actions of this rogue former employee," Superintendent Matt Hillman said in a statement. "My team is now focused on the needs of the families directly affected by these inappropriate actions.  We have reached out individually to each family potentially involved. We will support them as they absorb the emotional impact of this experience and provide available resources. We are not aware of any direct impact on the health of any children.”

All families whose children were under the care of the fired employee were notified on Thursday morning. The district said it will provide access to a parent educator and medical personnel for all families for education and support.

According to the Mayo Clinic, melatonin is a hormone that aids in sleep, and it is commonly used as a supplement for people with sleep disorders, such as insomnia and jet lag. The effects of melatonin on infants have not been extensively studied.

The release states that Minnesota state guidelines and Northfield Public Schools policy prohibit the administration of any substances without permission from the child's family.

The school district says it will conduct a review of early childcare center procedures to find ways to enhance children's safety.

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