Borough BOE proposes policy to ban sex offenders from school grounds

NAUGATUCK — The Board of Education is proposing a new policy that would prohibit registered sex offenders from being on school property, with a few exceptions.

The proposed policy comes from the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, and is intended to provide greater clarity and increased safety measures for all schools in the district, Assistant Superintendent of Schools Christopher Montini said.

Under the proposal, registered sex offenders would be allowed on school property to vote and to attend a public meeting. Registered sex offenders who are parents and guardians of students would also be allowed to transport their child to and from school, and attend a conference about their child, as long as they have prior written approval from the superintendent of schools, the proposal states. The superintendent could also approve other exceptions for parents and guardians on a case-by-case basis.

If a registered sex offender who isn’t a parent or guardian tries to electronically communicate with a student while the student is on school property, the person will be considered to be on school property without permission and in violation of the policy, according to the proposal.

If a student is a registered sex offender, the superintendent or a designated administrator will determine where and how to educate the student, under the proposal.

The superintendent will contact police when someone violates the policy, according to the proposal.

The Board of Education unanimously approved the first reading of the policy at its Dec. 12 meeting with little discussion.

“It’s always important to review our policies and develop new ones if need be. If it helps to keep our kids safer or even just feel safer, it’s always good to do that. They need to feel safe in their learning environment,” said Board of Education Chairman Jeff Litke in an interview after the meeting.

The proposed policy is expected to come up for approval at the board’s January meeting. Litke said he’s confident the policy will be approved.

There were 37 registered sex offenders with Naugatuck addresses as of last week, according to the state sex offender registry.

The borough sought to implement an ordinance that would ban registered sex offenders from public places, but it sits in limbo.

In January 2018, the Board of Mayor and Burgesses approved an ordinance that banned registered sex offenders from designated child safety zones, which included borough-owned or borough-operated parks, schools, sports facilities, trails and open space areas, with a few exceptions.

In April 2018, officials introduced an amendment to the ordinance that would allow a sex offender to receive a waiver from the ordinance from the police chief, granted the offender meets certain criteria.

Officials have yet to enforce the ordinance or take action on the amendment due to legal concerns about the ordinance.

Montini said the school board’s attorney vetted the board’s proposed policy.

“There is a provision in there which basically says that sex offenders are allowed to be on property, if it’s a place where they’re voting or if it’s an open meeting,” Montini said.