Dear Members and Advocates,
What makes school zones “safe” for children?
Residency restrictions and proximity ordinances preventing persons required to register as sex offenders from living or even entering within thousands of feet of a school somehow create the illusion that once inside the exclusion zone, our children will be safe from sexual assault. Nothing can be further from the truth. We see this example over and over again, most recently in the case of a Tampa, Florida teacher who was sentenced to 15 years in prison yesterday for secretly recording more than 125 of his students changing clothes. The day before, a different teacher in Tampa was arrested for having a sexual relationship with a minor student.
Ironically, the schools where the crimes took place were within a “safety zone”. The safety zone is established by County Ordinance Section 36-307, as an area around certain places, including public and private schools, where a “predatory individual” cannot be present. According to the definitions in the ordinance “Predatory individuals” shall mean sexual offenders, sexually violent predators and sexual predators. Here the “predatory individuals” were teachers.