A Stafford County resident is suing the county’s School Board over a no-trespassing notice that effectively prohibits him from attending the board’s meetings because he is a registered sex offender.
Melvin Allen filed a federal lawsuit this month claiming that the action violates his constitutional right to participate in public meetings. He is seeking unspecified damages.
Allen received the notice barring him from “School Board-owned property” on May 3, 2016, presumably because he picked up his grandson from Winding Creek Elementary School the previous month, according to the lawsuit. State law prohibits sex offenders from entering a public school during school hours, but the suit claims that Winding Creek employees called Allen to ask him to pick up his grandson because “the boy was ill and … it was an emergency.”
“The school authorities made this call despite knowing that Mr. Allen was forbidden from entering a school campus during school hours, as they deemed it a medical emergency,” the lawsuit states. It also states that Allen reasonably concluded he had a legal right and moral obligation to get his grandson.
Allen picked up his grandson without incident, but would be arrested the following month for attending a School Board meeting in violation of the no-trespassing notice, the suit claims. The complaint calls the notice unconstitutional and “overbroad,” and says Allen never violated state law because the School Board meets in an administrative complex, not a school.