Fairfax County school nurse indicted for stealing, using student prescriptions: officials

A school nurse in Fairfax County has been indicted after she allegedly stole student prescriptions, kept the drugs for herself, and substituted them with sugar pills or over-the-counter medications.

Authorities say Jennifer Carpenter, 45, of Fairfax, faces several charges, including multiple child abuse and drug charges, after allegedly taking the medications prescribed to elementary school children by their doctors and using them for herself over a five-month period.

Carpenter was assigned as a school health aide at Greenbriar East Elementary School in Fairfax. Officials say she was responsible for maintaining and administering prescription medication to students during school hours, but detectives say she was instead dispensing sugar placebo pills and/or over the counter medicine in the place of the prescribed narcotics. 

Detectives believe Carpenter was keeping the scheduled narcotics, which included Ritalin, Adderall, and Focalin, for personal use. 

During the investigation, detectives identified seven students whose medicine were being abused.

"It is a gross breach of trust and safety when something like this happens, and we are committed to acting swiftly to ensure our children are protected," Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney Steve Descano said in a statement. "This situation could have easily evolved into a medical emergency for any of the children affected."

"Parents and their children depended on and trusted this individual to provide necessary medical care. As always, we will seek accountability and a path forward for the victims and their families to heal," Descano continued.

Carpenter was indicted on seven counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, one count of unlawful possession of controlled substance to-wit: Methylphenidate (Ritalin), one count of unlawful possession of controlled substance to-wit: Amphetamine/Dextroamphetamine (Adderall), one count of obtain drugs by fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, embezzlement, or subterfuge, and one count of unlawful dispense drug in place of another without permission of the person ordering/prescribing.

She faces over 32 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines if convicted.

Police are asking anyone with additional information on the case to call 703-591-0966.