Brown Deer updating school visitors policy
New rules include how to handle registered sex offenders
Brown Deer — The Brown Deer School Board on Tuesday dusted off its visitors policy and discussed updating it to include how to handle registered sex offenders among other revisions. The board has not modified the policy in 22 years.
"It's a five-year recommendation that once the board approves it that Dr. (Deb) Kerr will set up a meeting with the principals and...police officers to go over it and let them know what policy we have adopted and are familiar with our rules and expectations," said Kim Chizek, a retired district staff member who now assists the district with special projects and policy changes.
The last visitors policy from the School District's Board Policy Manual was approved in June 1977. Portions were revised in February 1992. This older policy dealt with problems of the time such as loitering on school grounds and making prior arrangements with the office if intentions were to visit the schools.
"Updating this policy was necessary to include the new law regarding sex offenders in the schools," district officials said.
District rules for sex offenders
The new language addresses both state statutes and the village of Brown Deer ordinances for sex offenders.
Currently, sex offenders are prohibited from entering or being present on school premises except as specifically authorized by state law. The statute stipulates the administrative person or body must be "notified of the specific date, time, and place of the visit and of the person's status as a registered sex offender."
According to the recent draft of the new visitors policy, the building principal shall determine whether the sex offender will be allowed to be present on school premises for the proposed purpose or event. The principal will determine any conditions that may be placed on such permission for the safety of other persons present in the school environment.
Further, the administrator may exclude from the school premises any person who the School District determines has no legitimate and approved purpose for being on school grounds, disrupts or appears likely to become a disruption to the educational program or threatens the health or safety of students, staff or others in the school.
The village of Brown Deer has established "child safety zones" at public places and facilities, with some exceptions.
"What allows sex offenders to enter the building?" board member Michelle Schofield asked.
According to state statute, a registered sex offender may enter the building if he or she has a child in the school. The individual must notify the school administrator of the specific date, time and place of the visit and his or her status as a registered sex offender.
A sex offender can also access school premises if the school is a polling place; or a person can attend an event or activity in the school that is not sponsored by the school.
Visitors expected to obtain passes
The newly worded policy also provides additional guidance regarding protocols for any visitors to the schools such as having visitors sign in at the office and giving principals authority to limit visits and/or visitors access to the school including student visitors and sex offenders.
"All visitors are expected to report to the school office for a visitor's pass before going anywhere in the building during the school day," the policy says.
Exceptions to the requirement that visitors report and register in the school office is if an individual is connected with a school performance, an assembly or a similar event that is open to members of the public and that occurs during the school day.
Board members will also follow the same rules as other designated visitors, unless the board has specifically approved or directed the visit.
District staff will revise some language and the board will review the policy changes again at an undetermined date before voting on whether to accept the new rules.
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!