Bill Restricting Sex Offenders Receives Support

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RICHMOND Current law bans violent sex offenders from school grounds only during school hours. However, the hours of school-access restrictions soon might increase in number if a bill calling for safer school environments continues momentum through the General Assembly.

House Bill 567 would extend the school-ground prohibition of violent sex offenders to all hours of the day, every day.

I believe that most related offenses that may possibly happen occur when kids are leaving band practice, cheerleading practice or some other after-school activity, said Delegate Anne Crockett-Stark, R-Wytheville, the bills sponsor.

Since being introduced in January, HB 567 has moved through numerous House committees and has been communicated to the Senate. In that process, the bill passed all votes with a grand total of 242-0.

The bill now awaits discussion in the Senate Committee on Courts of Justice.

Those convicted of sexually violent crimes still would be able to enter school property if they receive permission from the commonwealths attorney and the schools administration.

Convicted sex offenders also would be allowed on the grounds if their purpose is to vote or if they are a student enrolled at the school.

The bill applies to any elementary or secondary school, whether public or private, and to any child day care center.

Crockett-Stark said the young people in these facilities are our greatest natural resource.

It is their (the childrens) community, she said. And they should be able to be there without fear.

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