Shame on the Fontana Unified School District! Members of their Board of Education unanimously agreed last week to bar registered citizens from every school in their district. The decision applies to all registered citizens, including parents of students in that district, regardless of the offense for which they were convicted and regardless of whether they pose a current danger.
What makes this terrible decision worse is that the school board’s decision was in reaction to a few angry parents who ignorantly proclaimed during a school board meeting that the presence of registered citizens on campus would place their children in danger.
The school district dug themselves into an even deeper hole today when they issued a letter describing and explaining the school board’s decision. According to that letter, the district now has “a firm practice of zero-tolerance with regard to sex offenders on our campuses.”
The letter also explained that the board’s action “was taken in response to the concerns of our students, parents and community….over a new state law.” Never mind that the law was passed two years ago and that there were no reported incidents of a child being assaulted by a registered citizen during that time.
The action taken by the Fontana Unified School District must be stopped! Because if it is not stopped, the same action will be taken by school districts throughout the state of California. In order to prevent that from happening, the decision of the Fontana Unified School District will soon be challenged in court.
And in the meantime, hundreds of children – children of registered citizens – will be harmed because they will be deprived of their parents’ protection and devotion. The children of registered citizens will not be taken to, or picked up from school, by their parents. The children of registered citizens will not have the support of their parents during their academic and athletic activities.
The decision of the Fontana school district reminds me of the night when we testified in opposition to a law being considered by the Santa Ana City Council that would prohibit registered citizens from visiting parks in that city. After listening to angry and ignorant citizens, one member of the Council stated that she would not allow her children to visit city parks if registered citizens might be present. She then loudly proclaimed that if someone’s children were going to visit a park in that city, it would be her children and not the children of registered citizens.
Following that proclamation, the Santa Ana City Council unanimously passed the park restriction and for a period of time registered citizens were prohibited from visiting those parks. Also during that period of time, many children of registered citizens were unable to visit the parks with their registered citizen parent.
A series of lawsuits were later filed challenging park restrictions such as those passed by Santa Ana and as a result of those challenges, the parks in that city as well as the parks in other cities throughout the state of California were reopened to registered citizens.
We expect the same result in our challenge to Fontana’s shameful decision to prohibit all registered citizens from visiting schools the 45 elementary, middle schools and high schools in that district.
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