By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — It’s not that registered sex offenders can never visit schools, but if they are going to visit, there are requirements they must follow first.
Gary Stene, village president, read a letter from William C. Yingst Jr., Colfax school district administrator, at the April 9 Colfax Village Board meeting to clarify the requirements.
The Colfax Village Board approved a sex offender residency restriction ordinance at the April 9 meeting.
After the meeting, Stene gave a copy of Yingst’s letter to the Colfax Messenger.
According to the letter, “before a registered sex offender may lawfully be present on school premises, the school must be notified of the specific date, time, and place of the visit and the person’s status as a registered sex offender. This notification only applies if the individual is anticipating being present on school premises.”
Registered sex offenders must notify the district administrator or his or her designee.
The notification requirement does not apply if the person is on school premises to vote in an election being held that day, and the person’s polling place is on the school premises, or if the person is on the school premises to attend an event or an activity not sponsored by the school, the letter states.
The notification requirement also does not apply to students enrolled at Colfax and for whom corrections or social services personnel have worked with the school to make sure other students remain safe.
In addition, the notification requirement does not apply to a registered sex offender who is the parent of a child enrolled at the school, as long as the person has notified the school, at the beginning of each academic school year, that he or she is a registered sex offender and has a child attending school, the letter states.
Under exceptional circumstances, such as the child was not enrolled at the beginning of the school year or the parent was not yet a registered sex offender at the beginning of the school year, alternate notification deadlines apply, according to the letter.
If a registered sex offender is on the school grounds without meeting the notification requirements established by law, the sex offender’s presence is a criminal offense, unless it is proven the person was on his or her way directly to the appropriate office to provide the required notification, the letter states.
Yingst concluded his letter by noting in addition to the registered sex offender requirements, all visitors to the school must comply with the School District of Colfax’s visitor policy.