Johnsburg Central School
During their regularly scheduled meeting Monday, Jan. 14, Johnsburg School Board members adopted a policy requiring any registered sex offender to meet with Superintendent Michael Markwica prior to entering the school or its grounds.
A letter informing all registered sex offenders living in the community about the policy will be mailed out. Any registered sex offenders who move to the area in the future will also receive notification of the policy.
Although he understood the legal reasons why the policy was necessary, board member Thomas Ordway voiced his personal discomfort with the idea of sex offenders having any access to a school.
“I’d like the letter to say that we will not at any time allow sex offenders on school grounds,” Ordway said.
“I know this is going to be hard to believe, but we don’t have that right,” Markwica said.
The superintendent further explained his reason for wanting this specific policy adopted: “What I’ve been told by lawyers is that if someone serves their full sentence and they are not on parole, then — without a policy in place — they have the right to enter a school because it is a public building.”
The school’s requirement that sex offenders meet with the superintendent builds on the Notification of Sex Offenders policy that the board will be considering during their next meeting on Jan. 28. That policy states that sex offenders must have the written authorization of both their parole officer and the school superintendent before entering school grounds or facilities.
Typically, paroled sex offenders whose victim or victims were under the age of 18 or who have been designated a Level 3 (highest threat level), are required by the court to abstain from entering schools or other facilities where minors are present. However, there are limited exceptions to this restriction:
•The offender is a registered student, participant, or employee of the facility.
•The offender is an employee of an entity contracted by the facility.
•The offender has a family member enrolled in the facility.
•The school is the offender’s designated polling place and he or she enters solely to vote.
Under the school’s new policy, offenders who meet these restrictions or who have completed their full sentence will have to meet with Markwica before entering school grounds or facilities.
In other news, Board members appointed Amanda Durkee the Chair of the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) until July 2013. They also granted a Committee of Special Education (CSE) stipend of $6,000 to Durkee for the remainder of the 2012-2013 school year. Markwica explained that the stipend was only for this year.
During the next board meeting, the school’s Athletic Director, Jill Toney, will give a presentation on spring sports and appointments, next fall sports, and address questions that were raised about the concussion protocol the school is thinking of adopting.