Last Updated on July 27, 2022 by Michelle Ball
By Michelle Ball, Sacramento California Expulsion, Special Education, sports/CIF, College, Education and School Attorney/Lawyer for Students since 1995
Parents are always parents- whether they have a criminal record or not. Can parents who are registered sex offenders under Megan’s Law, be banned from school campuses, or do they have rights as parents to be at school? This is a touchy area and not all questions may be answered by our current laws.
Sex Offender Parents May Have Limits
Per California Penal Code, section 626.81, people who are registered sex offenders may be on school campuses if:
- They have lawful business AND
- They have written permission from the chief administrative officer with dates
This means that parents who are sex offenders with lawful business at school, such as a parent teacher conference, or attending a special education meeting, may be able to enter a school. However, sex offender parents must coordinate an anticipated visit to school in advance. If they don’t, they may be charged with a misdemeanor.
School Policies That Ban All Sex Offenders
Could a school just ban parents who are sex offenders from any campus visit?
Once in a while there are stories about school districts banning all registered sex offenders from all schools. Sounds great to parents who are not sex offenders, but what about a father who is registered who has 3 kids at an elementary school? What is he to do?
All parents have legal rights AS PARENTS in the state of California. Their ability to attend parent teacher conferences, special education meetings, or to pick up or drop off a student, etc. should not be prohibited just “because they are a sex offender.” I thus don’t think a blanket ban can simply be issued legally.
Reasonable Not Capricious Basis for Exclusion
There would have to be a reasonable, not capricious, basis to ban a sex offender parent from participating as a parent from school events that all parents attend.
As such, bans would need to be narrowly tailored to the individual parent themselves, showing some specific present time reason for banning a parent from a school where their children attend.
Offenders who are not bound by a court order to stay off campus continue to have rights as parents. A blanket ban with no further inquiry nor review of a parent’s individual situation would likely be a tough policy to uphold if challenged.
A Restraining Order Could Be Pursued
If a school wants to ban a parent longer than fourteen days, they need to seek a court order to do so.
The Penal Code allows exclusion of a parent or other person for disruptive conduct for a maximum of 14 days with no court order.
If a court order is granted, a parent may be excluded longer.
Unreasonable Schools Should Be Addressed
A parent has parental rights, and these cannot just be taken away. If a school is unreasonably or improperly banning a parent, this should be addressed via contact with the school or school district.
Student lawyer Michelle Ball has assisted parents throughout California since 1995 with access issues, records problems, and student problems. She may get involved statewide, including in Carson, Burbank, Nevada City, Lodi, Sausalito, Elk Grove, and many others.