Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon signed a bill into law on Monday, March 24 which adds new restrictions to registered sex offenders attempting to access the grounds of their own children’s schools.
While registered sex offenders in Wyoming are generally prohibited from coming onto school grounds or loitering within 1,000 feet, some exceptions in Wyoming law exist if people’s own children are attending schools or if registered sex offenders are themselves students.
Under the previous law, registered sex offenders could access schools to attend their children’s extracurricular activities or conferences. Wyoming House Bill 68 modifies this law so that permission is required before registered sex offenders can access schools for this purpose.
The new law will allow such access “with the written permission of the school principal, vice‑principal or person with equivalent authority.”
Registered sex offenders will still be allowed to access school grounds to drop off or pick up their own children without permission from principals.
With the signing of the bill into law, people who are registered sex offenders are barred from entering school facilities or loitering within 1,000 feet of school grounds unless the registered sex offender:
- Is a student in attendance at the school
- With the written permission of the school principal, vice‑principal or person with equivalent authority, is attending an academic conference or other scheduled extracurricular school event with school officials present when the registered offender is a parent or legal guardian of a child who is participating in the conference or extracurricular event
- Resides at a state licensed or certified facility for incarceration, health or convalescent care that is within one thousand (1,000) feet from the property on which a school is located
- Is dropping off or picking up a child and the registered offender is the child’s parent or legal guardian
- Is temporarily on school grounds during school hours for the purpose of making a mail, food or other delivery
- Is exercising his right to vote in a public election
- Is taking delivery of his mail through an official post office located on school grounds
- Has written permission from the school principal, vice-principal, or person with equivalent authority, to be on the school grounds or upon other property that is used by a school
- Stays at a homeless shelter or resides at a recovery facility that is within one thousand (1,000) feet from the property on which a school is located if such shelter or facility has been approved for sex offenders by the sheriff or police chief
Perhaps North Carolina lawmakers can learn from our fellow Americans in Wyoming how to amend our draconian state school statute. A significant number of registrants in North Carolina are parents. These parents must be engaged with his/her child at every opportunity to provide a roadmap towards parental and academic success. Wyoming gets it and puts it in the hands of school leaders. North Carolina is lagging far behind and puts it in the hands of sheriffs that have no business in managing school affairs.