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Albion won’t allow sex offenders as school volunteers, chaperones

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 April 2013 at 12:00 am

ALBION – Registered sex offenders will be allowed to attend school events, but they will not serve as official school volunteers or chaperones.

The Board of Education made that decision on Monday following two months of review of district policy.

The district will not ban parents and students’ family members who are registered sex offenders from attending school events that are open to the public.

However, if they are registered as a Level 1, 2, or 3 sex offender, they will not be supervising students or providing care for them.

Volunteers and chaperones also will need to complete applications that will be reviewed by district staff. The applicants need to state whether they are a registered sex offender. Those answers will be verified by the district, which has access to a state sex offender database.

School officials have been debating the issue the past two months. A parent to an Albion elementary student showed up at a field trip in October, meeting the class for a tour of a local farm. The parent was a Level 2 sexual offender.

In January, other parents realized that a sex offender was at the school trip in October. The issue became fodder for a Rochester radio station, and the district was questioned about its policy.

The district can’t outright ban sex offenders from the school grounds when those people are trying to attend a school function involving their own children, said Michael Bonnewell, the district superintendent.

“We’ve done everything we can within the law and addressed the parents’ concerns,” said Margy Brown, president of the Board of Education.