Dear Northfield Public Schools Families,
I have some difficult news to share with you. This week Northfield Public Schools moved quickly to investigate and take action once informed of a potential violation of district policy and state guidelines. On Monday night, we learned that staff had found small tablets in the infant room of our Early Ventures childcare center at the Northfield Community Education Center. We promptly started an investigation. Our investigation revealed that one employee was responsible for the tablets. We now know the employee placed the tablets into at least one of the infant’s bottle. It appears likely the tablets were placed in more than one child’s bottle, but we aren’t able to confirm that. After conferring with the police department, we suspect the tablet was a child-sized dose of melatonin. The employee was immediately terminated based on the investigation results. We have made a report to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, and have made a police report.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Melatonin is a hormone that plays a role in sleep. People commonly use melatonin for sleep disorders, such as insomnia and jet lag.” Melatonin has not been extensively studied in infants. Both Minnesota state guidelines and Northfield Public Schools policies clearly prohibit the administration of any substances without parents’ permission.
Our urgent concern is 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.
Northfield Public Schools is angered by the appalling actions of this rogue former employee. We place the highest priority on trusting relationships with our community and understand this isolated incident may impact that trust. We will work diligently to rebuild that trust with our community.
Matt Hillmann, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools