Spero News

California: Parents seek to keep sex offenders off school campuses
 
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
by Martin Barillas
 
Capitol Resource Institute said in a statement today that it had joined parents in the Fontana Unified School District in California's San Bernardino County to criticize a state law. The statement said that the law allows certain convicted sex offenders to volunteer in California public school classrooms. State law SB 326 was authored by Senator Jim Beall. In 2013, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed it into law. It was feared that possible loopholes in the law require tougher restrictions.
 
The statement from Capitol Resource Institute said of the law, "A permissive California law allows registered sex offenders to volunteer on public school campuses subject to gaining written permission from school officials. Additionally, registered sex offenders that are not the parent or guardian of a student at the school can only gain access after each parent in the school has been notified."
 
Parents filled the John Piazza meeting center in Fontana to attend a hearing on September 14 after hearing that sex offenders would have open access to schools. School Board Member Barbara Chavez said that their concerns were exaggerated and "somehow twisted." In any event, the Fontana Unified School District passed a zero-tolerance policy that prohibits any access at any time by sex offenders on school grounds within the district.
 
Chavez is a former president of the local United Steelworkers Union. Her term expires this year.
 
"California law that permits sex offenders to volunteer on campus is shocking and threatens the safety of school children throughout the Golden State," said Karen England, Executive Director of Capitol Resource Institute.  "We are calling on the California State Legislature to quickly modify the law to restrict sex offender access on public school campuses, and we are calling on the California School Boards Association to create a model policy that aligns with the protections put in place in Fontana."
 
The Capitol Resource Institute describes itself on its website as a family values watchdog group. It is based in Sacramento.



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