School bus stops; school boards shall develop policy for stops located near sex offender residence. (HB1369)

Introduced By

Del. Bob Marshall (R-Manassas) with support from co-patron Del. Brenda Pogge (R-Williamsburg)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

School bus stops; sex offenders. Provides that local school boards shall develop and implement policies for minimizing the number of school bus stops located within 500 feet of the residence of a registered sex offender and shall notify the parent of each student enrolled in the school division of any school bus stop located within 500 feet of such a residence. Amends § 22.1-79.3, of the Code of Virginia. Read the Bill »

Outcome

Bill Has Failed

History

  • 12/07/2012 Committee
  • 12/07/2012 Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/13 13100424D
  • 12/07/2012 Referred to Committee on Education
  • 01/11/2013 Assigned Education sub: Teachers and Admin. Action
  • 01/24/2013 Subcommittee recommends laying on the table (7-Y 0-N)
  • 02/05/2013 Left in Education

Comments

stephen writes:

This Bill will be a nightmare for schools and tax payers. If this bob Marshall cared about kids like he claims then why is this limited to just sex offenders, why not the drunk drivers that he takes campaign contributions from. Nobody harms more kids than drunk drivers. When will bob Marshall put kids rights before drunk drivers rights. How many kids will his lack of action get murdered this year.

Mary Devoy writes:

http://www.nvdaily.com/news/2012/12/proposed-sex-offender-legislation-would-affect-school-bus-routes.php

Delegates Marshall and Gilbert already jumping on the bus (no pun intended) to push fear based legislation for 2013.

There has not been a case of a registered sex offender approaching any child at a bus stop in Virginia.

2013 is an election year for the VA House and bills targeting RSO’s make the best campaign material. Hype and hysteria for a hated segment of society is always a sure winner. Well, we’ll see.

stephen writes:

Why not add Known crack dealers and owners of automatic weapons to this bill. Can't wait for the school board to start getting phone calls to move bus stops. Do your research Bob before writing stupid bills to make your self look good.

Catherine writes:

This is terrible. It is duplicating the registry. There are many RSOs living peaceful lives among their communities. This will further ostracize and punish RSOs and their families.

ACLU-VA Criminal Justice, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

The ACLU of Virginia is monitoring this legislation that requires notification to parents when any school bus stop is located within 500 feet of the residence of a registered sex offender.

Mary Devoy writes:

The issue is not whether children need to be protected, of course they do. The issues are
1. whether the danger to them is great
2. whether the measure being proposed will ensure their safety.

“Feel Good” laws that add no additional protection and further prejudice aspects of our citizens’ might be nice resume material for an upcoming campaign but they have no place in a civil society.

Fact: There has not been one case of a registered offender approaching or luring any children from a bus stop in Virginia. This bill would add absolutely no additional safety, it will however, quite possibly put children more at risk. How many additional intersections or busy roads will children need to cross or stand on the side because of a relocated bus stop?

Hysterical assumptions are what led angry parents to wrongfully identify and accuse a Bedford County, VA registered sex offender last October (2012). An unidentified man had been approaching children at a bus stop, attempting to lure them to his home. The local police and the parents concluded that “the creep” must be a registered sex offender so they went to the registry and picked a photo that came close as the bus stop “troller”. The man identified through the registry was then picked up and held without bond for trespassing on school property, a felony charge even though a bus stop is not school property nor is it marked with a sign stating “bus stop”. Only when the “creep” re-approached the bus stop days later with the registered offender sitting in a Bedford jail cell did the authorities conclude they had the wrong man. It didn’t matter that when questioned the man listed on the registry had an alibi for the times he was supposedly at the bus stop; he is a registered sex offender that was proof enough! Meanwhile the actual perpetrator who was repeatedly approaching the children at the bus stop was not a registered offender and it was determined he could not be charged with ANY crime in the Commonwealth for his behavior. The guilty person suffered no penalty, while the registered sex offender who did nothing was jailed, his face, name and address broadcast on the television and printed in the newspaper as the guilty party.

This is where assumptions and myth about those listed on the sex offender registry have led us. We incarcerate the wrong person, deny them bond because of the label and we charge them with a felony that doesn’t apply to other citizens. Imagine had the actual perpetrator realized that the police had been notified and simply disappeared. The innocent man would have been convicted of a new felony and imprisoned for many years all because of the assumption that he must be the one because he’s on the registry.

The fact is that 9 out of 10 sexual offenses that will occur this year will be by someone the victim already knows, not a stranger AND not by a registered offender.

When it comes to the Sex Offender Registry the Virginia Legislatures attitude over the last 15+ years seems to be that verified knowledge is irrelevant or at least not essential in the formulation of policy

Parents already know who the registered offenders on their street are and they can look them up anytime and for no cost. The registry information is revised EVERY day so a weekly, monthly or every other month search by the school districts would be old news. Expecting the school districts to perform searches and notifications for address changes in every zip code is overly arduous. This all requires additional time and money.

If Virginia School’s want to be proactive instead of reactive; educating the parents and guardians of the real risks, dangers and signs of sexual abuse would be a much better use of resources.

Wendy writes:

Virginia needs to realize the number of lives they are ruining with these laws out numbers all statistics on sexual abuse of children. Not all offenders are dangerous. In face most offenders are not dangerous and never to on to reoffend. Plus many offenders are under the age of 21 and involved boyfriend/girlfriend scenerios and pronography. Let's stop spreading ignorance and hysteria.