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Juvenile's sex crime conviction doesn't take away right to school

The criminal justice system can be complicated. It doesn't exist to simply punish people for their crimes; rather, it is meant to rehabilitate convicted offenders. That is generally true for adults convicted of crimes in Colorado, and most definitely true for juvenile crimes in Colorado.

Therefore, it probably shouldn't be the big surprise that it is to the public that juveniles with sex crimes in their pasts are allowed to attend school. Fox 31 Denver put together a report that estimates at least around 300 registered juvenile sex offenders are in classrooms across the state.

The sex offender registry is part of being convicted of a sex offense in Colorado. It doesn't matter whether a defendant is 35 or 15, he or she will become part of the controversial registry. While a convicted juvenile is required to register as a sex offender, that status doesn't change the fact that the system often wants to give them the best chance at a promising future.

Education is part of that promise, which is why the Arapahoe County District Attorney says juveniles still have the opportunity to attend school like any other kid in their class. If there is a specific safety concern in certain cases, the convicted juvenile offenders might have limits placed on where in the school building they can go and what activities that they can participate in.

When it comes to juveniles in Colorado schools, the sex offender registry poses a confusing situation. Parents might feel like the point of the registry is to know who might be a threat in the community. But with a minor, getting details about offenses and offenders identities isn't so easy. Not even teachers will have the information about their students' sex offender classification, though other administrators in the school will.

Some in the community might be worried or even angry to find out that their kids are sharing a classroom with registered sex offenders. Behind every juvenile who was convicted of a sex offense, however, is a person, story and set of potentially difficult or misunderstood circumstances.

Most parents would probably want what is best for their child if he or she were charged with a sex crime, and school tends to be the best path for a child. A criminal defense lawyer is also important to that best path when a child is accused of a sexual offense and faces the threat of the sex offender registry.

 

Source: Fox 31 Denver, "Hundreds of sex offenders inside schools across Colorado," Tak Landrock and Chris Koeberl, Nov. 12, 2013

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