Sex Offender Hysteria Trumps School Safety

The fallout continues from hastily passed Florida laws to keep “sex offenders” away from children. The Jessica Lunsford Act, passed after the 9-year-old was kidnapped from her home and killed, requires everyone who could come in contact with children at school campuses to be fingerprinted and background checked by Sept. 1.


South Florida Sun Sentinel:

But most of the 10,000 or more construction workers at Broward County schools still have not been fingerprinted and screened, district officials said.

“I anticipate that 75 percent to 80 percent of our [building] projects will stop,” said Michael Garretson, the School District’s deputy superintendent of facilities…

The delay could stretch into November, meaning projects would take longer and cost millions more to finish than originally negotiated, Garretson said. The district already is under pressure to build hundreds of new classrooms to meet the state’s class-size reduction rules.

Construction workers are active at 211 sites, including most of the district’s 262 schools, Garretson said. Mainly they are repairing roofs and air-conditioning systems, renovating restrooms or fixing mold and mildew damage, he said.

Damage from Hurricane Katrina, which left some schools closed, will be left unmended, and kids will just have to wait until the massive investigation can begin. But since when has education taken a front seat to public hysteria?

The district plans to use Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, McFatter Technical Center in Davie and the downtown K.C. Wright administration building as the sites for fingerprinting.

Broward is buying four fingerprinting machines and hiring eight more clerical employees for the fingerprinting of thousands of workers.

The district is charging construction workers $47 for the service, but it is likely that general contractors will pay the fees and add the charges to the final price of each project.

Let’s just hope none of those workers ever got caught having sex with their high school sweethearts. “Sex offenders” include anyone of majority age (say, 18) prosecuted for having sex, consensual or not, with any minor (say, 17).


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