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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 20, 2018

Sex Offenders only to be allowed on school grounds for child’s graduation

By Karyn Spory, Mt. Pleasant News | Feb 14, 2018

Registered sex offenders will only be allowed on school grounds to attend a child’s high school graduation, according to a new policy the Mt. Pleasant School Board approved Monday night.

Monday night, the school board approved the first reading of the policy, which would allow registered sex offenders to attend their child’s high school graduation, after receiving approval from the district superintendent and would be accompanied by a school administrator.

The school board has been considering this policy for several months now, as the district had nothing in its handbook before. Initially, board members were discussing a non-discretion versus a discretion policy, meaning they were debating if the district should have a blanket policy stating registered sex offenders could not be on school grounds for any reason or if the superintendent would look at requests on a case-by-case basis.

In January, board members were considering a policy which allow district discretion and would look at each request on a case-by-case basis. However, as conversations progressed, board members Chuck Andrew and Jennifer Crull stated they were uncomfortable with having a registered sex offender on campus for anything other than a child’s high school graduation. “Chuck and I were on the page of we’re willing to make the concession of getting permission to attend graduation, but neither one of us felt comfortable with allowing (a sex offender) to gain permission to come in for any other event. We feel technology is (advanced enough) for them to see their children’s games and concerts and stuff like that,” Crull said during the January school board meeting.

On Monday night, Superintendent John Henriksen presented an updated policy, which would only allow the sex offender to be present for their child’s high school graduation. The policy reads as follows.

“Notwithstanding Board Policy 903.7, the Superintendent shall have the discretion to permit any person who is required to register as a sex offender under Iowa law who has been convicted of a sex offense against a minor, or any person required to register as a sex offender in another jurisdiction for an offense involving a minor, to be on school property to attend the high school graduation ceremony.”

The policy was approved by a slim margin, 4-3. Board members Kevin Sandersfeld, Martha Wiley and David McCoid voted “no” on the motion. The board members will see the policy again next month as they will have to approve a second reading of the policy before it becomes a part of school code.

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