CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – Cedar Falls High School English teacher Douglas Wilkinson has a prescription drug problem that compelled him to steal student medications to feed his addiction, according to court records.
The 33-year-old teacher coaches at Holmes Junior High School, where school officials noticed medications missing from a locked cabinet in the nurse’s office Feb. 1 and called Cedar Falls police to help investigate, The Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier reports.
Officers installed a hidden camera in the nurse’s office the next day and eventually recorded Wilkinson, on Feb. 5, inside of the locked room around 3:30 p.m., court records show. He allegedly unlocked the cabinet and stuffed his pockets with 48 pills, including Adderall, gunafacine and methylphenidate.
The prescriptions belonged to five different students, and cost an estimated $153.96, according to court records cited by KWWL.
The news station’s reporter went to Wilkinson’s home and attempted to discuss the allegations, but said he refused to come to the door once he realized who she was.
“Well, I was shocked,” parent Rick Retterath told KWWL. “I thought I heard everything, but yea I was really shocked and I never thought that would happen, especially in the schools.”
During the course of the police investigation, Wilkinson allegedly told officers he’s addicted to prescription medication, and that the incident at Holmes wasn’t the first time he’d broken the law to get his fix.
“ … Wilkinson allegedly told police he made a false burglary report Nov. 14, 2014, where he claimed his medicine was stolen,” The Courier reports. “He allegedly admitted he filed the false report in order to obtain more prescription pills, court records state.”
Cedar Falls police arrested the teacher Feb. 9 for fifth-degree theft and five charges of unlawful possession of a prescription drug. He was also charged with making a false report, according to the news site.
Wilkinson is now out on bail for the misdemeanor charges. School officials refused to discuss the case with KWWL because it’s a “confidential personal matter.” The news site reports Wilkinson has worked in the district since at least 2006.
Locals debated online about whether the teacher should keep his job.
“He should have known better than a lot of other people,” FeakyJason posted to The Courier, “throw the book at him.”
“Long history of being a productive teacher, got into trouble after being prescribed pain meds after surgery,” KC posted. “Will and should keep his job.”