January 21, 2015

ACLU questions new sex offender bill

These lawmakers are out of their minds: a Public Court Hearing to pick up one's own children at school or if they get sick, who picks them up while waiting for the public hearing? Insanity!

See Also: Man labeled "violent sex offender" challenges registry system
1-21-2015 Virginia:

VIRGINIA (WAVY) — Their faces and address are already public, now one Virginia lawmaker wants registered sex offenders to face public hearings before going inside schools.

To have access to Virginia public schools, House Bill 1366 would require violent sex offenders to pay for a newspaper ad publicizing a personal court hearing. It would run once a week for two weeks. Then anyone could attend the hearing and testify against them.

The bills author, Delegate Jeff Campbell, says it’s about safety, but the ACLU says it crosses the line of civil rights.

“The public hearing is simply an invitation for an angry mob to gather at a school and get in the way of a parent’s right to be involved in the education of his or her child,” said ACLU of Virginia’s Executive Director Claire Gastanaga.

Gastanaga said there is no real proof that registries and restrictions like this keep kids safer. He said the most direct impact of the bill would be on parents with kids in school who want to go and meet with the kids’ teachers.

Delegate Campbell disagrees: “I disagree totally, what it does is it gives parents of the other children a say in who is around their children.”

The ACLU is also concerned that paying for the ad would be hardship. 10 On Your Side checked with the Virginian-Pilot. They could not quote us on an ad without exact wording, but said it costs $8.11 per line, per day.

That is an acceptable amount, according to Delegate Campbell: “The public’s right to know who is around their children and to have a say in whether they agree in that or not trumps that individual’s right to free access to the school,” he said.

Currently, sex offenders must inform school superintendents before they go inside a Virginia school.

Delegate Campbell said there was an incident last year in Wise County where a parent did that and got permission to attend sporting events, but then started showing up to school at other times. Parents got upset and that is the reason for his bill.

A subcommittee unanimously passed the bill on Monday, but there is no set date yet for it to go before the full committee. ..Source.. by Stephanie Harris

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