School board talks sex offender

RANCHO SANTA FE — The subject of a registered sex offender being allowed to come on the campus of the R. Roger Rowe School came up again at the March 12 meeting of the school board meeting.
Parents Dr. Jonathon and Ashley Haynes, who brought the issue forward in November, again asked the board to adopt a policy that would give clear direction about how to deal with the problem in the future.
The couple believes the district is dragging its feet in deciding whether to adopt a policy and that Superintendent Lindy Delaney let the woman in question come on campus several times unsupervised.
“This was not meant to be a butting of heads,” said Ashley Haynes at the meeting. “I keep saying, this is the last school board meeting I’m coming to (about this issue). My voice just isn’t being heard.”
Delaney describes the issue as “emotional for all parties.”
“We take these matters extremely seriously and I believe I have acted appropriately,” Delaney said.
The school board supports Delaney in the matter.
“The superintendent did nothing wrong in this case,” said Scott Cheatham, school board president.
Delaney said the item of adopting a policy is not off the table.
“We are going to look at board policies from other districts and we will evaluate the information we already have and what we obtain to see if a board policy will work in our district,” she said.
The controversy centers around a female sex offender, who has four children in the school district, who came on campus several times, once in November on a back-to-school night. According to published news reports the woman, a teacher at a private school in the Denver area, had sex with a 15-year-old student. She was convicted of sexual assault on a child by someone in a position of trust.
She continues to be on probation, said Richard Currier, general counsel for the school district.
He said when she moved to the district in 2007, the superintendent was notified.
After meeting with the woman and her husband, the superintendent contacted the probation officer assigned to the case who told her the woman was on probation, but she said that the conditions allowed her to come onto campus, and although Delaney requested them, was not given the conditions of probation, Currier said.
In November 2009, Haynes who had concerns about seeing the woman on campus at school functions, had a conversation with the probation department, which reinterpreted the conditions and decided the woman could no longer come onto campus, Currier said.
In a letter of Feb. 5, Delaney again wrote to the probation department asking for copy of the probation conditions. A response on March 8 stated the department could not accommodate the request, but did confirm the woman should not be on school grounds or attending school functions were children were in attendance, Currier said.
“My response is that it is not the superintendent’s role to say ‘Stop! You can’t come in,’” he said. He added that what the district can do is stay in touch with the probation department to determine if the offender is in compliance with probation conditions.
Still some parents wonder.
“If you’re going to have a policy (for example) of not allowing students under a certain age to wear makeup to school, can’t you have a policy to keep registered sex offenders from coming on your campus?” asked Robert Kenyon, a member of the district’s parents advisory committee who was at the meeting.
He said he highly respects Delaney, and knows she does not want any danger to come to her students, but he thinks the issue is that some parents believe the woman was given a lot more latitude on campus than should have been allowed.
Kenyon said perhaps there should be a school policy separate from the probation department.
“Can there be overrides of the probation department?” he asked. “It may be that the problem goes back to the original question, they have the power to make the policy, but do they have the right?”

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