DEXTER – A significant number of parents of fifth- and sixth-graders recently expressed concerns to SAD 46 officials about the distances that some children have to walk and the houses they must pass where registered sex offenders reside on their way to school.
One parent supplied the policy committee with a list of registered sex offenders and their addresses, all of whom live along the child’s route to school.
That information was “fairly sobering for the committee,” Superintendent Kevin Jordan said Wednesday.
Maine’s sex offender registry on Wednesday listed 15 people who live in Dexter.
“Society is presenting some stumbling blocks for education, and unfortunately, we hear about it every other day in the national news,” Jordan said.
Based on the concerns expressed, SAD 46 directors on Wednesday voted to extend bus transportation to fifth- and sixth-grade pupils at the district’s approximately 14 designated stops in the village area. While the move will affect about 45 pupils, it will have a “very minimal impact” on the district, according to Jordan.
Students in grades seven through 12 will continue to walk if they live within a mile of the school, he said.
Past practice has been for students in grades five through 12 to walk if they live within a mile from the school, Jordan noted. He said the board’s policy on the matter was last reviewed in 1996.
Jordan said the route that particularly bothered parents is Pine Street where some registered sex offenders reside and there is no sidewalk.
Dexter police Chief Art Roy said Friday that he had not been contacted by any parents or the school about the matter. Had he been approached about the issue, he would have addressed it, he said.
“The parents made the school board policy committee aware of the concerns of walkers, and the policy committee listened,” Jordan said.