PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Vancouver public schools will be searching all locker rooms and restrooms across the district after an employee was accused of videotaping girls in the Alki Middle School locker room.
Superintendent Jeff Snell said the district-wide sweep is necessary due to the employee’s role and their access to several buildings.
The employee under investigation has been placed on leave and Snell said their access to district systems and buildings has been removed, pending the outcome of the investigation.
In a video sent to families of Vancouver Public School students, Snell said the district reported the allegations to law enforcement immediately on Wednesday and the investigation started soon after.
According to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, Alki Middle School staff secured the locker room after hearing reports of an employee recording video inside it. The sheriff’s office said the suspect left campus by the time the incident was reported.
Deputies contacted the suspect later in the day, but the suspect did not cooperate with investigators.
So far, no arrests have been made and the incident is still under investigation.
On Wednesday, detectives served search warrants at the suspect’s home.
“Our students and their safety are at the heart of everything we do. I’m angry and frustrated to have to send this message to you because it means the trust you place in us to care for our community’s children, to care for our staff, to care for you has been disrupted,” Snell said. “I think what I’ve learned through the years (is) it’s a lot of triggers for students and staff in previous experiences in things like that so we try to have folks ready to respond to wherever kids are at or staff wherever they’re out.”
Snell said the district will support law enforcement throughout the investigation, as long as it does not interfere with deputies’ work or reveal the identity of the victims.
“I want you to know I am deeply sorry for the impact this has on individuals and our collective community,” Snell said.
Vancouver Public Schools said there are counselors available to support students and staff at both Alki Middle School and Skyview High School.
Jenny Young contributed to this story.