Sex offenders will now face stricter guidelines when visiting Calallen schools.
Trustees for the Calallen Independent School District approved changes Monday to the district's policy on having visitors on campus that may be registered sex offenders.
The previous policy did not specifically state what steps or limitations a sex offender had to follow, nor did it address who was or wasn't allowed on campus, saying only the superintendent and campus administrators "shall develop and implement procedures regarding campus visitors who are identified as sex offenders."
The changes adopted by the school board, which is in response to a recent state law requiring school districts to make these very adjustments to their policies, effectively bans all registered sex offenders who are not the parent or legal guardian of children enrolled with the district. This includes aunts, uncles, siblings, grandparents, stepparents and spouses who do not have parental rights, school officials said.
If a parent or legal guardian is a registered sex offender, his or her visits must be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance, unless there is an emergency, and supervised at all times while on campus. In addition, visits are henceforth limited to school activities only, such as athletic events, performances, presentations and/or teacher conferences.
That parent will also not be able to participate in everyday school programs, such as lunch periods and classroom visits, school officials said.
If a parent or legal guardian is a sex offender, they must also present the school district or campus administration with copies of court documents, such as a court order, to "ensure that there are no restraining orders prohibiting the sex offender from being on school premises."
This would include sex offenders who are banned from being within a certain amount of feet of a public school attended by minors, school officials said.
Eva Brietzke, who has a 13-year-old son attending Calallen Middle School, said she is worried about sex offenders being on any of the district's campuses at all.
"I don't feel comfortable with them being around my kids," Brietzke said. "If they're going to be there for PTA functions or conferences, that'll be OK because I'm sure then they'll be properly supervised."
Still, Brietzke said she doesn't understand why the school district is taking such a risk with sex offenders.
"Personally, I don't want them around the school at anytime, even if they are someone's parents," Brietzke said. "My son stays after school for band. What if something were to happen to him?"
Superintendent Arturo Almendarez said he understands not everyone will be comfortable with the situation, but added the parents in question have the same rights as other parents, albeit somewhat limited.
"The issue at hand is sometimes sex offenders are parents and we cannot take away their parental rights," Almendarez said. "But, as a school district, we can restrict when they are allowed on campus, where they can go and how long they can be there."
The superintendent pointed out that all parents and legal guardians who are sex offenders will be supervised at all times while they are on campus.
"We're doing what we believe is necessary for the safety of our children," Almendarez said.