Press Release from Sen. Tim Barnes, D-Adams, and Rep. Phillip Johnson, R-Pegram; March 29, 2010:
Bill bans registered sex offenders from after-school events
NASHVILLE – Registered sex offenders who are parents or legal guardians of school children will be barred from school events like ballgames and will be required to receive written permission before entering school grounds, under a bill sponsored by Sen. Tim Barnes of Adams and Rep. Phillip Johnson of Pegram.
“Registered sex offenders have no business going to after-school events, and they shouldn’t be anywhere near a school without a principal’s knowledge,” Barnes said. “Parents and teachers should know that their children are learning and playing in a safe environment.”
The House and Senate are scheduled to vote on the bill Monday evening.
The bill (SB2988/HB3263) bans parents and legal guardians who are registered sexual offenders from their children’s school events like plays and ballgames. Those individuals will have to obtain written permission from a school principal or administrator before attending conferences, and provide written notice of their status upon their child’s enrollment in order to drop off or pick up their child. Current law allows such parents to do all of the above without written permission or notice.
The bill is designed to alleviate concerns after the Cheatham County School Board passed a rule restricting the hours that a parent who is a registered sex offender could be on school grounds. The board had to later rescind its actions and adopt the state policy.
“Current state law contains far too many exceptions that could create an unsafe environment for our children,” Johnson said. “Our schools need to be able to protect our children, and this bill gives them a better opportunity to do that.”
Violation of the proposed law would result in a fine. Monetary penalties for violations of current sex offender restrictions range from $350 to $1,100.