Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Juvenile Sex Offenders at School

When I was but a young buck of a teacher, I worked in a town (in another state) which was home to the the state's juvy prison for the hardcore offenders. Some of these kids---usually "just" the convicted rapists---were allowed to attend school at the junior high I worked at. While I don't doubt that there were some kids who had just made some terrible choices (and were truly sorry), I had a few that creeped me out. One in particular could hardly wait until the end of my 6th period class so he could scout out the middle school girls (grades 6 and 7) at the school a block away.

Since I've been in Washington, I've had some offenders in my classroom (after serving their time). But if I've had sex offenders, I have been unaware. Some students in Gig Harbor, however, are very aware that some are attending their school. These students have been suspended for using inappropriate means to "out" the sex offenders.

The linked article from the Tacoma News-Tribune asks the question "What are the rules?" alluding to whether or not it is appropriate to tell others that a sex offender is attending one's school---but there are no answers to the "tension between a criminal's right to privacy and the publics' right to know."

What do you think? Should other students and families know if there are convicted sex offenders attending school with other students? Or, should bygones be bygones---and the young men (and women, presumably) be given an anonymous chance to start over at a new high school?

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