Mt Pleasant News
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 12, 2017

Mt. Pleasant School Board mulls sex offender policy

Nov 28, 2017

By Karyn Spory, Mt. Pleasant News

 

The Mt. Pleasant School Board has been debating whether an individual on the Sex Offender Registery should be allowed on school grounds for any reason.

Superintendent John Henriksen said it was recently brought to his attention the district did not have a policy in place restricting access to people required to register on the Sex Offender Registery. In working with the policy committee and the school district’s attorney, the question came up as to what protocols were in place if a father on the sex offender register wanted to come to his child’s elementary school events?

Henriksen said there was one of two ways the district could go. The first option is a no descression policy. “The district does not afford any descression. No one listed on the registry is allowed on our grounds or in our buildings at any time,” he explained.

The second option would give the district the descression to decide on a case-by-case basis if an individual on the sex offender registry would be allowed on school property. Henriksen said the school district’s attorney would go over each written request with administration. “This would allow her (the attorney) to review the offender’s information on the registry.”

If an offender were allowed on school grounds, there would be limited access and the individual would have to be chaperoned by an administrator.

One example Henriksen gave to the board was high school graduation. “Would there be an example of a son or daughter graduating from high school that we would have protocol in place?” he asked. “Just for the one life event?”

Henriksen said he reached out to several other districts and their policies allowed for descression.

Board member Chuck Andrew said he was against allowing any registered offender on school premises. “To me, there is a law in place that says you’re not allowed here.”

Fellow board members Martha Wiley and Jennifer Crull agreed. The three aforementioned board members make up the policy committee.

Board President David McCoid said he would like to see each policy — no descression and district descression — on next month’s agenda.

“The policy committee would make the recommendation for no descression then,” said Crull.

“We understand this is not a black and white issue,” Wiley said referring back to Henriksen’s high school graduation example. “That is somebody’s child and they want to be there for their child, I get that. But we have obligations to all children to keep them safe.”

The board will vote on the issue during the Dec. 11 board meeting.

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