A California law that permits registered sex offenders on campuses is being challenged by the Fontana Unified School District (FUSD) Board of Education, which voted to prohibit their access to classrooms to protect vulnerable students.
However, the school board originally raised the possibility of approving a problematic California law that states that if the school administrator allows it, registered sex offenders could gain access to school campuses. Under the law, the administrator permitting the sex offender would be required to notify parents about the visit 14 days prior to his or her arrival.
Capitol Resource Institute Executive Director Karen England was outraged that lawmakers would intentionally put the safety of students at risk.
"California law that permits sex offenders to volunteer on campus is shocking and threatens the safety of school children throughout the Golden State," England proclaimed. "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."
At a September 14 school board meeting, two motions were made to prohibit access to registered sex offenders from entering campuses as visitors or volunteers.
Both decisions were unanimous, but they were made in the midst of volatile dialogue that was sparked by numerous concerned parents who voiced their concern and opposition to proposals aimed at granting permission to sex offenders so they could volunteer on campuses.
Calming the fears of many parents, the Fontana School Board’s approved measures were approved to ensure that no registered sex offenders – regardless of the nature of their crimes – are to be permitted on campuses as visitors or volunteers.
Fontana School Board President Lorena Corona insisted that the approval of the motions reflected the district’s desire to provide a safe learning environment for students.
“We care about the safety of our kids,” Corona expressed in a statement, according to The Fontana Herald News. “No sex offender will be on campus.”
The problematic California law has posed problems for administrators, parents and children alike, as it leaves room for sex offenders to sneak through the cracks.
“State law SB 326 was authored by Senator Jim Beall and signed in 2013 by Gov. Jerry Brown in an effort to better protect children from sex offenders,” The Fontana Herald News reports. “However, loopholes could arise because of the way the law was written, thus the need for tough restrictions, added Corona.”
Concerns in Southern California were widespread, with SB 326 being previously adopted by a number of regional school districts, including Corona, Rialto and Etiwanda.
To address the heated issue, parents filled the John Piazza Education Center last week in response to a flash alert that spread across numerous social media channels, warning parents about the possibility that sex offenders could soon be granted open access to local campuses.
Discrediting the claim that sex offenders were on the verge of getting easy access to school campuses, Fontana School Board Member Barbara Chavez contended that things got blown out of proportion.
“Somehow, it got twisted,” Chavez argued. “There is a lot of misunderstanding in the community. This is clearly a political year – fear-mongering, twisting information … you name it.”
However, most parents did not take the issue lightly and took no chances that a politically correct maneuver would put their children’s safety at risk.
“Most of the parents who took to the dais were opposed to the FUSD's initial plans and some even threatened to remove their children from school if the original proposals had been approved,” The Fontana Herald News’ Alejandro Cano informed. “Others advised the district to fingerprint all volunteers before they come in contact with children.”
After the results of the two votes were revealed -- which essentially prohibit sex offenders from entering school campuses under any circumstances – most parents expressed satisfaction and returned home confident that their children would be protected and not put in under undue danger.