Sex Offenders

Pedophiles were once stereotyped as raincoat clad "dirty old men" lurking near schools, but we now know sex offenders come from all walks of life, and that's why Leon County schools are taking steps to inform parents.

Leon County is possibly the only district in the entire state to provide every school with an updated list of all the sexual offenders and predators in our area.

More than 300 sexual offenders and predators call the capitol city home, and many of them have children in Leon County schools, which is why come Monday morning white binders will arrive at every school in the county.

"This is another tool used to protect our young people to ensure the safety of our students and make sure they are aware the danger may exist," says Bill Montford, Superintendent of Leon County Schools.

The binders bear the names and pictures of all the sexual offenders and predators in the county, listed by name and zip code. Each school will keep a copy in the front office for parents seeking information.

"This is nothing new on line by FDLE, we are just taking it a step farther," Montford adds.

Besides binders in schoolhouses, the district's transportation office will also keep a copy on hand.

"Bus transportation use on route to see where sex offenders and predators are located," says Ron Steverson, Director of Safety and Security of Leon County Schools.

School officials say the notebooks aren't meant to frighten parents, but to inform them. Whenever new predators and offenders register with local authorities their names will be added to the manual.

What happens when a person listed as a sexual offender or sexual predator is also a parent or guardian of a student at the school?

School officials realize that is a tough topic because you want to protect the child, but when that happens the principal requests a private conference. At the conference the principal tells the offender they are not allowed on school grounds without notifying the office.