Monday, December 17, 2007

Boy Suspended For Warning Students Of Sex Offender On Campus

Posted at KIRO Seattle.

Often, in the interest of protecting one person, the general pubic is put at greater risk. This is especially true in our school systems who have been tasked with protecting our children. In this case, school officials were trying to protect a registered sex offender rather than the children that have to interact with him on a daily basis at school. When one of the students found out and tried to inform the rest of the student body, for their own safety, he was reprimanded and suspended for three days. I suspect that he was punished more for pointing out the schools lack of forthcoming and less for misuse of school property, which was the stated offense.

GIG HARBOR, Wash. -- A Pierce County High School student is back in school after a three-day suspension for warning classmates about a sex offender on campus.

Last week, Raydon Gilmore found a 16-year-old fellow student at Gig Harbor High School at the Washington State Sex Offender Information Center, a Web site that lists the state's level 2 and level 3 sex offenders.

"Then it hit me that I was in P.E. freshman year, and this kid was there for a while and he was my neighbor at my locker," Gilmore told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News.

The 16-year-old was convicted of indecent liberties and using force.

Gilmore made copies of the announcement and started handing them out to classmates "to let them know that we're going to school with dangerous people and to be more aware." Three other students helped create and distribute fliers. He said minutes later, the school's principal caught up with him.

Gilmore was suspended for three days. School officials said the fliers amounted to harassment and he was interfering with other students' education, according to school documents.

"I'm frustrated that my son does something right and good and something I'm proud of, and he's being punished for it," said Meloney Garthe, Gilmore's mother.

Gilmore said he believes he did the right thing, and would do it again.

The school's principal told the News Tribune of Tacoma that the students should have brought their concerns to a teacher or an administrator. He said the students misused school property and they violated a rule that state officials must approve any materials that students post on campus walls.

So now that Mr. Gilmore has been allowed to return to school, I'd like to see him follow the recommendations of the principal and request approval to post this information on the campus walls.

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