Scales Elementary contract custodian charged
By Pam Horne, Managing Editor
Victor Manuel Alvarado, 48, of Antioch, Tenn.
A contract custodial worker employed for the past two years at Scales Elementary School was arrested Friday afternoon. Victor Manuel Alvarado, 48, of Antioch, Tenn. is charged with observation without consent for allegedly spying on female students from the ceiling of a school restroom.
The incident is being investigted by the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office.
Alvarado is being held at the county jail on $75,000 bond. He’s scheduled to appear in General Sessions Court on January 23 at 1 p.m.
More than 400 parents gathered at 6:30 p.m. Friday evening after being invited by Scales Principal Molly Dalgarn to receive information about the incident and how students may have been impacted.
Dr. Mike Looney addressed the packed cafeteria and said he was committed to being open and honest with parents before releasing any information to the media.
He described a scenario whereby a WCS custodian found the contract employee, identified as Victor Manuel Alvarado, 48, of Antioch, Tenn., in the second floor area of the school— an area outside of his job duties.
The school’s bathrooms have storage closets that access the second floor where ceiling tiles were found to be broken and out of place.
The WCS employee became suspicious after he found the tiles in disarray, prompting his concern.
Alvarado, a full-time employee of Ohio-based GCA Services Group, is reportedly under investigation in the matter.
At press time, Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sharon Puckett said “we are questioning a person of interest, and we are involved in an investigation of accusations that happened at Scales Elementary.”
She said that “no one has been booked” in the matter.
Dr. Looney, who did not readily release the contract employee’s name, was asked by parents for his commitment to continue communicating directly with them.
Dr. Looney said the chain of events leading to the Friday night late-called parent meeting began this afternoon.
“We are just three hours into this,” Looney explained to a crowd of parents, who were very concerned about the details of the events and investigation.
Dr. Looney said that he was able to view a videotape of Alvarado entering a bathroom storage closet but not exiting for an “extended period of time.”
He said that after viewing the videotape and hearing Dalgarn’s report from the school’s maintenance worker he immediately contacted authorities.
During the parent meeting, which lasted about 30 minutes, he asked parents to try to talk about the situation with their children, as they felt appropriate.
Parents, who had just been notified by e-mail and telephone two hours before the meeting, were visibly upset.
One parent who requested not to be identified commended the district for acting promptly and being open.
As parents began to disperse after the meeting, Williamson County School Board Chairman Pat Anderson was asked her thoughts.
“There was a lot of emotion tonight,” she said. “My first and foremost concern for any child is that they have a safe place to go to attend school.”
When asked her thoughts about the allegations, Anderson said “It’s an ongoing investigation conducted by the Sheriff’s Department. It would be premature to speculate on anybody…Dr. Dalgarn and Dr. Looney did a great job of getting the word out and the response by parents speaks volumes about the support that this school has from the parents. It was important that they hear about this through us.”
Parents urged Dr. Looney to communicate as soon as possible how the District plans address children’s anxieties about returning to school Monday.
Emotions ran high at times during the meeting. Both fathers and mothers suggested that the employee and the company be held accountable.
Dr. Looney confirmed that background checks were conducted as a condition of hire with the contracted company, but he said he was not privy to the details of the company’s procedures.
He also emphasized to parents that no charges had been filed and that his priority was to first communicate what he knew about the matter and work cooperatively with the Sheriff’s Department.
Posted on: 1/10/2014