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School boards control admittance of sex offenders

The Virginia Constitution gives school boards the final say on the circumstances under which a sexually violent predator can be admitted to school property, the Supreme Court of Virginia ruled today.

The offender had served a prison sentence and completed supervised probation and sought permission to attend school functions for his child under Virginia Code Sec. 18.2-370.5, which sets up a procedure for a court to grant such permission after notice to the commonwealth’s attorney and the school superintendent.

A judge entered an order under the law, but the school board contended that the offender’s interpretation of it took away its ultimate authority to manage the school system accorded it by Article VIII, Section 7 of the Constitution.

Writing for a unanimous court, Justice Barbara Milano Keenan agreed. “This construction ensures the constitutionality of the statute and preserves the sound legislative purpose of involving both the courts and the affected day care and school authorities in these decisions of manifest public importance,” she wrote.

By Alan Cooper

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