FDLE Urges Web Check

By Julie Montanaro
August 24, 6:55 p.m.

Now that school is back in session, children are apt to be waiting at school bus stops or walking home alone.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says it's the perfect time for parents to get on line and make sure they know if any sex offenders live in the neighborhood.

Anthony Washington says he won't risk having his little girls walking home from the bus stop alone.

"You're kind of amazed sometimes how many people on your own street or in your own neighborhood are actually sex offenders. It makes you keep your guard up more, that's why my kids don't ride the bus. I come and pick them up; there's that fear," Washington said.

Experts at FDLE say parents should know if there are any sex offenders living near your child's bus stop or route home.

A feature added to Florida's Sex Offender Registry last year allows parents to search specific neighborhoods or within a certain radius of their home or school. Some parents say they know the site well. Others admit they’ve never seen it.

Sheila Dulin says, “I have not unfortunately. In my particular situation, I pick them up after school or they attend after school.”

There's been at least one incident in Tallahassee in recent years in which a man approached a child on her way to school.

FDLE's Donna Uzzell advises, “Make sure they have the abilities and the tools they would need if someone tried to grab them. They would need to scream, they would scream, “I don't know you!” We would want them do so if they ever found themselves in that unfortunate situation.