One of the scariest things about our over-the-top sex offender laws is how easy it is for a teenager with a girlfriend, boyfriend or sophomoric sense of humor to get labeled a “sex offender,” with all the legal and social ramifications this engenders.
That’s why I nominate the probation and parole officer profiled in Sunday’s Cedar Rapids (IA) Gazette, Michelle Reese, as educator of the year. She goes around to middle schools, teaching students about the Puritanical pitfalls ahead.
As shadowed by reporter Erin Jordan, Reese starts out her lecture by showing students a 6-person lineup and asking them to pick out the sex offender. Surprise, she informs them: They are all “offenders,” including the 20-year-old guy, and the woman. Then Reese explains to kids: You, too, could end up as one, if you “do something at age 18 that’s going to brand you for the rest of your life.” Full Article