RACINE COUNTY — A Palmyra man who was a science teacher at Fox River Middle School in Waterford was sentenced to probation Monday, Sept. 16 after he pleaded guilty to theft charges. Prosecutors said he admitted to stealing medication belonging to students at the school — replacing tablets he took from prescription bottles in the locked nurse’s office.
Charges were filed in June against Kevin Brodzik, 40.
On Monday, Brodzik pleaded guilty to three counts of theft of movable property, less than $2,500. He was then sentenced to serve 18 months’ probation, with 60 days in the Racine County Jail stayed. He was further ordered to serve 100 hours of community service.
According to a criminal complaint, police on Jan. 3 met with a mother who indicated she got a call from officials at Fox River Middle School, where her son attends school. She said she spoke with her son, who indicated the school health assistant gave him his medication and he wouldn’t take it, as the pills were too large. The mother said when she looked at the prescription bottle, she saw that it contained 200 mg round yellow tablets, and she “immediately knew there was a problem,” as her son’s prescription pills are much smaller than what was in the bottle. She said the tablets in the bottle were “two to three times larger.” She said the markings on the tablets did not match the markings on the pills she brought from home. Online research revealed the pills were 200 mg caffeine tablets sold under the brand name, “Stay Awake.”
School officials said there was a locked “Med Box” in the nurse’s office where student prescriptions were kept. There were only two keys for the box, kept inside the locked nurse’s office. There was also a log, showing when prescriptions were brought to school or administered to students.
On Jan. 4, there was a meeting between police and school officials, where it was learned surveillance footage had been reviewed, and an unauthorized staff member entered the nurse’s office early on Jan. 2. That person was identified as Kevin Brodzik, a teacher in the science department, the complaint said.
The complaint noted Brodzik had been caught tampering with the Med Box in February 2018, and at that time, he was told he was not to go into the nurse’s office without the nurse, health aid, or an office staff member present.
According to the complaint, the video showed Brodzik obtained the key to the nurse’s office and entered, staying in the office for approximately two minutes, before exiting and returning the key.
Brodzik was shown the video on Jan. 4, and the complaint said he confessed to the thefts.
On Jan. 14, the complaint said another student reported medication taken without consent.
In early February, the mother turned over a prescription bottle that was supposed to contain dexmethylphenidate. The mother said the pills inside were not her son’s prescription, and the original pills had been taken. She noted her son “has numerous health problems” and said he would be having open heart surgery soon. She said she was “very upset her son had not been getting his prescribed medication at school,” and because of this, extra blood work was required at the doctor.
In late February, investigators spoke with a Fox River Middle School employee who lived in Palmyra near Brodzik. This mother advised in February 2018, her son’s medication was tampered with, as the tablet count was short. She said at first, she thought there had been a mistake by the pharmacist, but in March, when she turned over the new prescription to the health aid at school, she noticed her son’s pills weren’t the same. She initially believed the change was due to a change in brand name. In March 2018, her son was taken to the doctor due to severe nosebleeds. In April 2018, the school nurse called and said the tablets inside her son’s prescription bottle didn’t match the description of the tablets the bottle should contain. A pharmacist said the pills were low dose aspirin. Officials at the pharmacy had “no reasonable answer” as to how the change of tablets could have occurred, and even took a look at surveillance video — finding no irregularities.
A new prescription was obtained in mid-April 2018, and the mother reported the tablets were correct, but days later, there were unknown tablets in the bottle yet again. The mother again obtained a new prescription and even changed pharmacies. Days later, she said she found her son’s prescription bottle laying on the ground next to her vehicle in the school parking lot. She said she had been keeping her son’s medication in her vehicle so he could take his pills when needed, and noted she loaned her vehicle to Brodzik several times.
She said in September 2018, she needed to refill the prescription and couldn’t find the bottle.
In December 2018, she said she went out to her vehicle and found Brodzik “digging through her car.” She soon learned Brodzik had been fired from his job as a teacher at the school, the complaint said.
In February 2019, there was no school due to a snow day, and the mother said Brodzik came over to her home and asked if her children wanted to play with his kids. She said they started talking about his termination, and he admitted to taking medication, and said “he got started by taking his mother’s prescription medication.” He indicated he used keys from the supply room, labeled as the keys for the Med Box. The mother said, becoming upset, she decided to ask Brozik directly about her son’s medication. She said “his demeanor changed,” and he said, “I don’t know if I can or should answer that. I guess I plead the fifth.”
According to the complaint, the mother said Brodzik went into the bathroom, and when she checked the medicine cabinet, she found her son’s prescription bottle had low dose aspirin in it.
She noted as soon as they got her son back on his real prescription medication, his nosebleeds stopped.