Hardin Co. teacher’s aide accused of planning to sedate students with sleep aid

JACKSON, Tenn. — A local elementary school employee is out of a job after school officials say she planned to sedate students with an over-the-counter sleep aid.

“My first thought was to protect the kids, and that’s always going to be the case,” Hardin County Director of Schools Michael Davis said.

That was Davis’ first instinct after he heard the shocking allegations.

“It’s not a joke, not a laughing matter, and I shared that with the employee at the time,” he said.

The now-former teacher’s aide at Northside Elementary in Savannah is accused of asking a friend to purchase melatonin-infused gummy bears so she could give them to her special education pre-k students.

Davis says it started with a Snapchat message when the employee asked a friend to purchase an over-the-counter sleep aid and bring it to the school.

“The Snapchat messages talked about the challenges of the classroom, and her sense of frustration,” Davis said.

Davis says even though it’s an over-the-counter supplement, it’s not something to be used at school.

The message also contained something else.

“You cannot release pictures of students in a classroom, and a picture of two students was shared on that message,” Davis said.

Michael Davis, Hardin Co. Director of Schools

After a preliminary investigation, Davis says there’s no proof the sleep aid was given to any students.

He said the messages are not something to be taken lightly and the employee was terminated.

“It is a challenging job to work as support staff, but it takes special people to do that and people we can trust,” Davis said.

Along with education, Davis says safety will always be the school’s No. 1 priority.

“You have over 500 employees in this school system, and I’m going to work hard to make sure we’re all following the rules,” he said. “When we don’t, there are consequences.”

Davis says the Department of Children’s Services was called in to investigate.

Because the investigation is ongoing, the name of the former teacher’s aide has not been released.