Parents shocked to learn sex offender lives near school
Published Monday, November 26, 2012 6:45PM AST
Last Updated Tuesday, November 27, 2012 4:45PM AST
Parents in a Nova Scotia community are shocked to learn a convicted sex offender has moved across the street from an elementary school.
Police were concerned enough to inform staff at the South Woodside Elementary School in Dartmouth, but no one told the students’ parents.
Some of them found out anyway, and they are concerned for their children’s safety.
The Halifax Regional School Board confirms a police officer dropped by the school about a week ago to inform staff a sex offender had moved into the neighbourhood.
The officer also dropped off a photo of the man. However, when the principal asked if she should inform parents, or if police were going to, she was told there were no plans to inform the public.
Today, some parents spoke to CTV News about the issue, on the condition of anonymity.
“They only house those children for seven hours a day. We have our children the rest of the time. We have them on weekends,” says the mom.
“Our children live in this area. He obviously lives in this area, so I don’t think it’s safe for our children to be playing outside, even being on that street.”
“My biggest problem is the lack of knowledge, is not knowing,” says another parent. “Nobody is willing to tell us anything.”
Halifax Regional Police says it has an agreement with the school board to exchange information, but the information can only be provided to the school.
Police don’t notify the public unless it’s recommended.
“When correctional services deem some offenders to be at high risk to reoffend, a public advisory committee is put in place and then looks at the circumstances surrounding the incident,” explains Const. Pierre Bourdages.
While both mothers understand everyone has rights, they say the way the situation is being handled is just not good enough.
“What about our rights? Who is going to stand up for the rights of my children?”
Both mothers say the school is doing the best it can, but they take issue with the justice system.
Police are planning to visit the school Tuesday to discuss stranger danger with the students, but some parents feel that should have been done before a sex offender moved into the area.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kayla Hounsell