January 23, 1996 in Idaho

Rumor Control Parents Mobilized By Stories About Sex Offender

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The subject of juvenile sex offenders consumed a good portion of the Prairie View Parent-Teacher Organization’s regular meeting Monday.

In attendance were a half-dozen parents concerned about a rumor that a suspected sex offender may be transferring into the school.

The rumors reached near-hysterical levels last week until school and law enforcement officials announced that no one charged or convicted of a crime was transferring into the district.

“I’m sorry it took an issue like this to bring people out of the woodwork,” said PTO president Kim Nicholson of Monday’s meeting.

She told parents that the PTO could not get involved in such a “volatile” issue, but encouraged them to form a group to examine the school’s policy and the state disclosure laws regarding young sexual offenders.

The school’s principal and a counselor attended the meeting, but could not share any specifics about the transfer student who has drawn all of the attention.

Principal Barney Brewton did send home a letter to parents Friday stating, “We do enroll children at Prairie View that have special needs, and when planning their instructional needs … we consider the well-being of all our students.”

He told parents at the meeting that they need to trust school administrators.

“We stated, ‘Well, trust is earned. Let us know how you’re going to protect our kids,”’ said parent Genie Webb, who has requested a special meeting to address parent concerns. No such meeting has been scheduled.

Nicholson said she trusts that teachers and administrators will do everything they can to make the school environment safe.

After all, children with sexual problems probably already are attending the local schools, she said.

“A lot of people were afraid of the unknown,” she said. “I’ve done what I can to educate my children (about dangerous people) … You can’t keep the world away from your children.”

, DataTimes


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