The Montgomery County Board of Education voted Tuesday to add on to its policy for sex offenders, policy No. 4.1.3. The addition makes Montgomery’s policy more strict than what is required by the state.
Previously, restrictions only applied to sex offenders convicted of an offense involving a minor, and now they cover all adult sex offenders, including those convicted in offenses involving other legal adults.
The requirements of sex offenders intending to step onto an MPS campus remain the same. They must notify the principal before coming to campus or attending a K-12 school event, immediately report to the designated school official upon arriving and cooperate with any school efforts to “discreetly monitor their presence” while on school grounds or in attendance at a school event.
School events include sports games, field trips, school plays and assemblies.
“The procedures that we utilize when a person has a sex offender status pertaining to a youth are the same second protocols that we utilize if they have a sex offender status at all,” head of MPS Student Social Services Catherliene Williamson said when presenting the proposed policy change. “They are supervised at all times, and if they are participating in an activity for their child, the necessary folks know who that person is so that they can be monitored.”
Williamson said the new policy extends existing safety protocols to be universal within the school district.
The vote was ultimately 4-2 and was taken in conjunction with the vote to approve a new electronic devices policy in the schools. Board members Pamela Cloud and Lesa Keith expressed that they believed more time should be spent crafting the language of the new policies.
District 3 representative Brenda Coleman voted in favor of the policy change, and she pointed out the possibility of strengthening Alabama’s sex offender policy for schools statewide in the future.
“As advocates, if we think that that at some point needs to be changed, we have to advocate for that at the state level,” Coleman said.
This policy is completely separate from the policy for juvenile sex offenders, or offenders under the age of 19 who may be students themselves. In that situation, the district implements a much more intensive plan.
Hadley Hitson covers children’s health, education and welfare for the Montgomery Advertiser. She can be reached at email@example.com. To support her work, subscribe to the Advertiser.