We need a bill to protect American citizens from dangerous crackpot pandering politicians like Connie Leyva.
We must protect children at schools from dangerous sex offenders: Connie Leyva
By Connie M. Leyva
POSTED: 07/18/17, 10:31 AM PDT | UPDATED: 2 DAYS AGO
Just last year, a group of concerned Fontana parents discovered a loophole in the law that allows dangerous sex offenders to enter school grounds and target children. They found out that dangerous sex offenders could volunteer at schools if they were given permission by a school official.
In response, the Fontana Unified School District Board of Education voted unanimously to ban sex offenders — who were convicted in a court of law — from school grounds, unless required by law.
Fontana school leaders were right to listen to these parents as they fought to keep their kids safe from harm. No parent — myself included — wants dangerous sex offenders to volunteer in classrooms or on school grounds and interact with children. Unfortunately, a sex offender advocacy group decided to fight Fontana’s new child safety policy.
Parents with children at the Fontana Unified School District then came to me, rightfully worried, and asked what I might be able to do. My reaction, both as a mom and as a state senator, was to act. I authored Senate Bill 26 earlier this year to close the loopholes that put our children in danger and can ruin their opportunity to stay safe while at school. To this day, I continue to believe that dangerous sex offenders do not belong anywhere around children — period.
Dangerous sex offenders may have committed a range of sex-related crimes that placed them on the sex offender registry, such as rape or the sexual abuse of a child. These are obviously sex-related crimes that cause serious mental and physical harm. As a parent, I cannot even imagine any child having to go through that kind of pain, so I introduced SB26 with one goal in mind: to protect children from dangerous sex offenders.
I met with sex offender advocates throughout the legislative process and was disappointed at how serious sex-related crimes continued to be minimized. I clearly remember how one sex offender tried to minimize his offense by saying that “it was just child pornography.” Well, in my world and that of most Californians, possessing pornographic images of children is absolutely wrong. Though some sex-related crimes may not have caused direct physical harm, even sex offenders convicted of “lesser” crimes like child pornography are still dangerous. These offenders should never be around children unsupervised.
I authored SB26 because children should always be protected from dangerous sex offenders. We can and must err on the side of caution when it comes to the safety of our kids. SB 26 would stop convicted sex offenders from entering school grounds, unless they have a legitimate or constitutionally protected reason to be there. Importantly, it would ensure that convicted sex offenders are always supervised around children. Though this child safety bill did not pass out of the Senate Appropriations Committee in May, I commit to continue fighting to protect our children from dangerous sex offenders.
Schools are supposed to be a safe place for learning, not a place where parents need to be worried about their children being around dangerous sex offenders. Even if just one child is victimized and traumatized for life because a convicted sex offender abused them at school, I believe that is one child too many. Some would rather stand with dangerous sex offenders than fight to protect children. I, for one, will always stand on the side of children.
State Sen. Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) represents the 20th Senate District.