Riverside School Employee Charged with Giving Fentanyl to Students

Melissa Harloam-Garrison, 46, was arrested on suspicion of giving the drug to students, including one who OD’ed, at a special needs school
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An employee at a special needs school in Riverside was arrested Tuesday for allegedly giving Fentanyl to students, including one who overdosed but survived.

Melissa Harloam-Garrison, 46, was taken into custody on suspicion of providing the powerful opioid drug to students at Bright Futures Academy, a non-public K through 12 school, according to a statement released Thursday by the Riverside Police Department.

Melissa Harloam-Garrison, 46, is suspected of giving Fentanyl to students at Bright Futures Academy, police say. (Photo courtesy of the Riverside Police Department)

Authorities were responding to a report regarding an “incorrigible juvenile” at the school at about 4:30 p.m. when staff alerted them about an employee possibly giving fentanyl to students.

Police learned that a student at the campus had recently overdosed the previous week at their home in another city, the news release states. That student was revived and will recover, Riverside Police Department spokesman, Ryan Railsback, told Los Angeles.

A school investigation revealed that a staffer who serves as a bus driver and campus security was suspected of giving Fentanyl to the student who overdosed as well as others while on campus, according to the news statement.

Authorities identified the employee as Harloam-Garrison. She is apparently the daughter of the school’s chief operating officer, Railsback said.

Harloam-Garrison lives in a cottage on the school property with her husband, police said.

When officers searched their home, they found more than 100 suspected Fentanyl pills, two handguns, and various types of ammunition.

Harloam-Garrison was arrested and booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center on several charges, including possession of narcotics for sale, sale of narcotics to minors, possession of controlled substances, possession of a firearm on school campus, and child endangerment. She is being held on $50,000 bail and is due in court Friday.

​​Her husband, 58-year-old David Garrison, was arrested and booked at the same detention center for possessing a firearm on campus and being a person prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm. He is being held on $25,000 bail.

David Garrison, 58, was arrested for possessing a firearm on campus and being a person prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm. (Photo courtesy of the Riverside Police Department

Bright Futures Academy was not available for comment at the time of publication.

This investigation remains ongoing. Anyone with additional information regarding this investigation and arrests should contact our Narcotics Unit at (951) 353-7200.


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