Jessica Scolaro, a former Deltona, Florida teacher’s aid, was arrested Wednesday after investigators accused her of failing to protect a child from being beaten by her boyfriend. Scolaro, 28, was booked into the Volusia County Jail and is facing charges of child neglect and obstructing an officer without violence. It is unclear whether a bail bond has been set for Scolaro. It is also not yet known whether Scolaro has retained a private criminal defense lawyer to help her with the charges.
News sources have pointed out that Scolaro was working as a teacher’s aide at the Discovery Cover Elementary school from December 2011 to June 2012. According to reports, Scolaro had lost her job after the school underwent budget cuts. The school placed Scolaro on a waiting list that would ensure her a position at the school as soon as one became available. However, a spokesperson from the elementary school told reporters that Scolaro is not currently assigned to a school, and that they have not contacted her about the recent arrest.
“We have not made a determination about her employment,” the spokesperson told news reporters. The school system did not indicate whether Scolaro’s arrest will affect her candidacy for a position prior to a verdict. There was absolutely no indication that Scolaro had ever been reprimanded for harming a child in connection to her work.
Sources indicate the investigation into Scolaro’s activities was opened when a Florida Department of Children and Families investigator was called to the Deltona United Methodist Church Daycare. A 5-year-old girl at the daycare had been found with severe bruising on her buttocks that reports say were excessive and not something you would expect from normal punishment. The girl was a child of Scalaro’s boyfriend, reports say, and Scalaro was allegedly a guardian of the girl.
Police contacted the father over the telephone regarding the bruising but did not get any viable information. Instead, they turned to Scalaro, who denied that they had beaten the child. Police were unable to locate the child’s father, sources say, but they did arrest Scolaro. The child’s father remains at large and is wanted for questioning by police regarding the incident. His name has not been publicly released.
After police took her into custody, Scolaro reportedly told investigators that her boyfriend – the child’s father – had indeed spanked the girl with a wooden spoon. She told officers that the beating had come about as punishment after the girl had gotten in trouble at the daycare, but that she trusted her boyfriend was not hurting the child.
The deputies determined that Scolaro, who allegedly did not attempt to stop or report the abuse, should be charged with child endangerment and for failing to protect the child. However, Scolaro is not believed to have actually abused or harmed the girl. It is not known whether the child is in the care of her at-large father or has been collected by the Department of Children and Families in the wake of the abuse allegations. Her name has not been released due to her age.
Teachers are a common target for arrests in Florida. Read about other pertinent cases here.