Policy To Ban Student Sex Offenders From Washington County Public Schools Under Consideration

They would get their education in by other means.

Hagerstown, Md. (KM) – The Washington County Public School System is considering a policy to ban registered student sex offenders from public school facilities. Board of Education member Pieter Bickford says adults who are registered sex offenders are prohibited from school property, and the same would go for students who are in a similar situation.

But he said the School System is required by law to provide all students with an education. “This policy lays out how we’re still complying with the law–we’re still providing them the education that the law says that we have to provide them – but they’re not allowed in our buildings,” he says.

Bickford says other ways for these students to get their education will be set up, which could include individual tutoring, or even on line. “We already do provide education to people that are in the prison system. Normally, that’s a one-on-one tutoring situation if I understand it currently, and I think it would be something similar,” he says.

Under a law signed by Governor Larry Hogan in 2021, students who are registered sex offenders are prohibited  for entering onto a property that’s used for elementary or secondary education.

Bickford was asked if Washington Count Public Schools has students who are registered sex offenders. “I don’t know of any specific minor sex offenders that are attending our school system. That ‘s not something that came up in the meeting,” says Bickford. “So it’s not like this policy was put in place to target a specific person or specific people in our school system currently. It’s more to set up a practice so that it’s very clear we’re following state law.”

The Board of Education discussed this policy  last Tuesday.

The public can comment on this policy on or before May 20th. The Washington County Board  of Education is scheduled to vote on this policy at its next business meeting on May 24th.

By Kevin McManus