Lakeside Parents, School Leaders Fight to Keep Sex Offenders From Areas With Children

School board members are now using a van to transport children directly to school from home, so the kids don't have to walk to a bus stop past the home on Sesi Lane

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Lakeside parents and school board members said they were outraged Monday after they found out that a group of five sex offenders had been placed in a home on Sesi Lane by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Neither the Lakeside Union School District nor the neighborhood homeowners association was ever notified by the state, they said. Now, they are calling on the state lawmakers and Gov. Newsom to expand restrictions on where sex offenders can be placed.

“To not be able to know who these men are and to have it snuck in underneath basically the shade of night and no one knows, it’s just ridiculous, it’s very upsetting -- is probably the best way to put it,” said Dave Wagner, a Lakeside parent and neighbor.   

The parents and school board members said sex offenders should not be allowed to live within 2,000 feet or 1 mile of a school, bus stop, youth sports field or park. In 2006, California voters passed a proposition known as Jessica’s Law that limited sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park, but in 2015 the California Supreme Court invalidated that restriction, saying that it eliminated most rental options for people in San Diego County.

“My main concern is that these men are safe inside this home to watch and prowl on these families,” said Katie Wheeler, a Lakeside parent and neighbor.

Lakeside School Board member Andrew Hayes said in addition to reinstating those previous restrictions, they also want the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to partner with local school districts to create Sex Offender School Safety and Transparency Committees made up of school board members, district administrators and community members like youth sports coaches. They would like to be notified one month prior to a sex offender placement in the community and be allowed to give the state feedback in the form of a rating scale about the appropriateness of the placement of the offender in a particular neighborhood.

“We want to increase local control and protect public safety. Our neighborhoods, our school zones deserve transparency when serious sex offenders are placed within their community,” Hayes said.

Neighbors said they found out that the sex offenders had moved into the home after looking up who was living in that address on a Megan’s Law map. Megan's Law is a federal law that requires law enforcement agencies to make information available to the public regarding sex offenders.

School board members are now providing a van for children located near the home on Sesi Lane so that the van can pick up the kids directly from their home and take them to their school, instead of the kids having to walk to a bus stop past the home housing the sex offenders.

State Sen. Brian Jones, who represents Lakeside, said in a statement to NBC 7: “Governor Newsom’s CDCR poorly handled the placement of these sex offenders. They do not belong in a family-oriented community with kids. The community, including the HOA, should be more involved in this entire placement process. I am exploring different avenues on how we can fix this issue and make government work for California residents. Whether it’s introducing new legislation, facilitating negotiations, and/or working in a bipartisan manner with the Governor, I am committed to finding a solution.”

Assemblymember Randy Voepel, who also represents Lakeside, said in a statement to NBC 7: “I fully support the legislative proposal made by members of the Lakeside School Board to expand the current prohibition of serious sex offenders from being placed within 2,000 feet to one mile of a school and include school bus stops, youth sports fields, and parks. It’s disgusting that current California law allows for 5 sex offenders, with charges ranging from rape to indecent exposure, to live together in a family neighborhood full of children, near a school bus stop and a school. This proposal made by the Lakeside School Board will help strengthen community safety and I will do everything I can to make this a reality.”

A spokesperson from Gov. Newsom’s office referred any questions relating to the current laws and concerns from Lakeside parents to the area’s state lawmakers.

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