Berkeley school district employee arrested outside Sylvia Mendez Elementary School

Photo of Sylvia Mendez school
Sunny Shen/File

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A Berkeley Unified School District, or BUSD, employee was arrested outside of Sylvia Mendez Elementary School on Feb. 16 for alleged suspicious and inappropriate behavior.

According to a statement by the Berkeley Police Department, the employee was a 61-year-old man and was arrested in connection with a man reportedly sexually touching himself outside of Sylvia Mendez Elementary School in January. The statement adds that the man’s vehicle, which was seen circling the school grounds Feb. 16, had also been seen circling the school on at least 10 prior occasions.

The statement also said that officers allegedly found a “hunting-style” knife, duct tape and a bundle of zip ties inside of the vehicle.

“We are working closely with the Berkeley Police Department to assemble the facts related to this arrest and will update the community with any relevant new information,” said BUSD Superintendent Brent Stephens in a districtwide announcement.

Stephens added that the man has since been put on leave and will be prohibited from all BUSD sites and facilities during the period of investigation. As of press time, Stephens also said the police have informed BUSD that the individual is no longer in custody.

The announcement ended with Stephens emphasizing the importance of student safety.

“I want to assure you that the safety of our students is a top priority for the district,” Stephens said in the announcement. “We will continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement as they complete any investigation regarding this matter.

Christopher Ying is the city news editor. Contact him at [email protected], and follow him on Twitter at @ChrisYingg.