Some parents frustrated after sex offender moves next to local school, no laws to prevent it

HAMPTON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Parents are frustrated after learning a sex offender recently moved next door to an elementary school in Hampton Township and there is no law against it.

“They can live next to a playground, next to a school, next to a day care and I’m hoping to change that,” said parent Katie Wyward. “I have three little kids that attend Central Elementary and it’s very concerning.”

Katie Wyward is one of many parents who are upset and angry that a registered sex offender, who is deemed by the state to be a sexually violent predator, is allowed to live next to the Central Elementary School. Now parents are pushing for change.

“I was surprised to learn that he moved close to the school and there were no laws prohibiting that,” said Wyward.

Currently in Pennsylvania, there are no laws restricting where registered sex offenders live once they serve their sentence and are released from probation or parole.

Back in 2017, a bill was introduced that would prohibit sex offenders under Megan’s Law from living within 2,500 feet of any school or daycare. But the bill did not pass.

“To have a potentially dangerous individual that close to our neighborhood, to our school was very alarming,” said Bethany Blackburn, the vice president for the township’s council.

Parents in Hampton Township made a petition demanding a law be put in place to stop sex offenders from living next to schools. They want to protect their kids. They also plan to write letters to the governor’s office with their concerns.

“I would feel much more secure if he was required to live a certain distance from the school,” said Wyward.

Wyward said community members had a meeting last week with police and school representatives on this matter. They plan to meet again at the Hampton Community Center in Great Room B on Dec. 13 at 7 p.m.

“I think it’s really scary. I think our local police are doing what they can to be proactive,” said Wyward.

The Hampton Township police chief said after hearing the parents’ concerns, officers will be extra vigilant in this area during school drop off, pick up and recess.

The Hampton Township School Superintendent said HTSD was notified by the Hampton Township Police Department that a Megan’s Law offender moved into an area close to Central Elementary School.

He said the school will maintain a very close working relationship with the Hampton Township Police Department. The safety of our students and staff will always be our top priority, he said.

Petition: https://petitions.sumofus.org/petitions/protect-pa-school-children

People who wish to write a letter to the Governor’s office on this matter should send it to kwymard.hamptonletters@gmail.com by Dec. 15.

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