On June 4, 2021, Central Unified School District Superintendent Andrew G. Alvarado was arrested on suspicion of committing domestic violence. Soon after being booked into Fresno County Jail, he posted a $2,500 bond and was released.
Six months later, and I am still horrified at Central Unified’s actions after the arrest of their superintendent.
Following the news of the arrest, Central Unified decided the best course of action was to put Alvarado on paid administrative leave despite community members asking the district for his resignation. Alvarado was on paid leave for two months before he decided to resign from his position in August.
Two months of paid leave after a domestic violence charge said a lot about Central Unified and who they chose to prioritize.
Many students and members of the community protested Central’s decision to put Alvarado on paid leave. By allowing one of the most powerful people in their district to get away with paid leave just three days after he was arrested showed that the district would rather make it easier on themselves than have their students and parents feel safe and confident in their administration.
As a student of Central Unified, I felt this set an awful example for all students of the district. Their decision allowed the students to see that domestic abusers can still hold positions of power with seemingly little to no consequences; nothing but a slap on the wrist.
One of the biggest and most common points brought up during this period was how it looked for the women and girls of Central Unified.
Courtney Yribarren, a senior at Central High School, stood in front of the school board and said, “We cannot project these values to our district, to our students, to our women and girls.
“We have no tolerance at our school district for violent inclinations, especially when it’s from our superintendent,” Yribarren continued.
This was on all our minds as we watched the school board, who apparently is there to protect the students, ignore our urge for Alvarado’s removal.
And while Alvarado did eventually resign two months after his arrest, I believe action should have been taken much sooner, especially from the school board. While this situation is now open and shut, this is something we shouldn’t forget, and Central Unified should be kept under a watchful eye from now on.