WASHINGTON - A concerned parent said Montgomery County Public Schools has a sex offender problem and she believes school officials are covering it up.
Jennifer Alvaro is a licensed social worker, certified sex offender treatment provider and a mother of a Montgomery County student. She believes the school system is dropping the ball and children are suffering.
"I think there is a massive problem here and there has been for many, many, many years," she said.
Alvaro worked closely with Montgomery County Public Schools a few years ago as part of a work group dealing with sexual abuse. During that time, she said, "We found out that they had a database of 222 staff members that they had suspicions of abusing children, that they admitted publicly had not reported these people to Child Protective Services or the police department."
Last week, 50-year-old John Vigna, a former teacher at Cloverly Elementary School in Silver Spring, was arrested for a second time over new allegations of sexual abuse against several young female students. Vigna has been charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse of a minor and third-degree sexual offense. One of the allegations dates back to 2000.
Alvaro said she has no way of knowing if Vigna was on the list. The work group was disbanded without reason by the school district.
She was even more troubled by the lack of answers Monday night at a community meeting at Cloverly Elementary School.
"Nobody knew last night if or how or who would reach out to older students who had been in that man's classrooms," she said.
A spokesperson with Montgomery County Public Schools said they are working diligently to protect students. Over the past year, the school district said it has taken a hard look at employee training and they have implemented an employee code of conduct, beefed up background checks and have implemented personal body safety programs for the students.