Substitute teacher charged in Sequatchie Elementary School incident

A now-fired substitute teacher at Griffith Elementary School in Sequatchie County has been arrested on child abuse charges in connection with an April 26 incident at the school, according to the sheriff and county schools superintendent.

Thomas Lloyd Alden, 53, of Crossville, Tennessee, is charged with attempted abuse or neglect for allegedly injuring a child under 8 years old at school, Sequatchie County Sheriff Bill Phillips said. He did not describe the injuries.

“It was not sexual in nature,” Phillips said in a telephone interview.

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The sheriff added that the incident occurred as a result of physical contact. Information about the case was provided directly to the Sequatchie County grand jury, which returned an indictment against Alden. Alden will make his first court appearance on July 23, according to officials.

Alden’s phone number could not be located, and he did not respond to a message sent via social media to an account under his name. According to jail officials, Alden was released on June 4 after posting a $7,500 bond. Officials with the Sequatchie County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office said Alden does not have an attorney.

Phillips said the investigation was initiated after school officials contacted law enforcement and was conducted by sheriff’s office detectives and the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

Sarai Pierce, superintendent of Sequatchie County Schools, said Alden had been at work for several days when school officials first learned of the incident.

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“School officials were made aware on May 3 of allegations that substitute teacher Thomas Alden had assaulted a student on the Griffith Elementary campus,” Pierce said in an emailed statement. “The school system immediately removed the substitute teacher from campus and conducted an investigation. The investigation revealed that the deputy had acted inappropriately towards the student, and the deputy was immediately fired.

“He worked as a backup for less than a week,” Pierce said. “The school system followed protocol and reported to both DCS (Department of Children’s Services) and the sheriff’s department.”

Pierce said school officials had no further comment because the investigation is ongoing.

Contact Ben Benton at [email protected] or 423-757-6569.

photo Sequatchie County Sheriff’s Office/Thomas Lloyd Alden, 53, of Crossville, Tenn.