I raised some questions this morning (see post below) about how schools handle, or should be handling, juvenile sex offenders.
Gig Harbor High School was trying to follow state rules when it came down on a kid for posting fliers warning other students about two sex-offender classmates in the school.
Here’s how law enforcement and state education officials want it done:
The sheriff notifies school administrators when a sex offender enrolls. The principal then notifies staff as the circumstances warrant. The principal is required to tell the teachers if the offender is classified as Level 2 or Level 3 – moderately or highly likely to reoffend.
The state doesn’t want schools notifying the student body or parents. The idea is that notification is the job of law-enforcement, and school administrators aren’t trained or equipped to deal with the consequences of notification, which can include attacks on the offender.
Kathleen Sande, an administrator at the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s Office who led the development of these rules, puts it this way:
“What we’re trying to prevent is harassment of students and families.”
“What are you going to do if you are a school administrator and you stand up and tell people about all the sex offenders in school with them? What are you going to do about it if people start doing vigilantism? You are not in a position to mitigate that, whereas law enforcement is.”