Senate Bill 26 (Leyva) would prohibit any registered sex offender from volunteering at K-12 schools and further restrict their access to school campuses in California. The bill addresses loopholes in state law that have allows registered sex offenders to be left alone with children on school campuses and allows them to volunteer on school grounds in direct contact with kids.
The issue was raised when parents at Fontana Unified School District protested a policy that would put the district in compliance with a state law that was passed in 2013. Senate Bill 326 added a 14-day notice requirement for any registered sex offender coming to work on a school campus. Prior to this bill, registered sex offenders were able to come onto school campuses with written permission from the principal of that school. The 14 day rule was added, without controversy in Sacramento and passed with broad support from both Democrats and Republicans 77-0 in the Assembly and 37-0 in the Senate.
It only made the news because the Mayor of Fontana made it a political issue when she was trying to get rid of board members and accused them of supporting sex offenders on school campuses, even though the other school districts in her jurisdiction had already passed the exact same policy.
Current law still allows a school administrator to grant a registered sex offender access to a school campus as long as the parents and staff receive a two week notice. Registered sex offenders are also presently allowed to volunteer at schools as long as they are not acting in a supervisory role or in constant interaction with children as part of their volunteering.
The author of the bill, Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino), recently published an opinion editorial on the bill and why she believes it is needed. We will continue to monitor the status of the bill.
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