GCSD to reevaluate policy regarding sex offenders

GOSHEN COUNTY – The Goshen County School District No. 1 school board discussed District Policy 1260, which concerns sex offenders on school property, at their regular meeting on Oct. 13. 

The board opted to schedule a policy meeting to evaluate the current policy adopted in 2012, which requires registered sex offenders request permission from administrators to be on school property for an event. Superintendent Ryan Kramer said this year, four individuals have requested permission to attend eight events, a higher number than he’s previously seen, which indicated the board needed to review the policy. 

Until the policy is either updated or finalized as is, the district will deny all requests from registered sex offenders to attend events on campus. 

Kramer suggested the policy be consistent for all schools in the district. 

“There isn’t necessarily guidance for a consistency across the district relating to what would constitute a need for further investigation of an individual,” he said. “There is very little guidance for administration to determine, yes I can allow this individual and no, I should not allow this individual, other than their own individual interpretation.”

District 5 State Rep. Shelly Duncan (R) addressed the board on the issue, saying the legislature amended House Bill 68 in February.  Registered sex offenders are now allowed to pick up their children from school or attend extracurricular activities they are involved in with written permission from an administrator, according to the bill. 

Duncan disagreed with Kramer’s sentiment that the district should be consistent across all schools.

“I don’t think in this situation we can have a blanket policy,” she said. “Each school or each principal should dictate the ideas. The circumstances are different for each school.”

Board member Mark Jespersen said they will invite Duncan to the meeting in which they discuss updating this policy to be sure it is consistent with Wyoming state statutes.

In other business, the board voted unanimously, with board member Kerry Bullington abstaining, to temporarily combine Southeast High School and Lingle-Fort Laramie High School wrestling teams. 

The merger will benefit both teams amid COVID-19, according to Southeast Athletic Director Tim Williams. Per WHSAA guidelines, wrestling teams will not participate in tournaments but duals. With small numbers on both teams, it makes sense for them to merge, he said.

“We’ll be more competitive. We should be able to fill most of all, if not all weight classes,” Williams said. 

This season, Williams said SEHS and L-FL will have co-head coaches and teams will practice together the majority of the time, which will require bussing. The team will wear the same uniforms at matches, alternating between Southeast singlets and Lingle-Fort Laramie singlets, so as not to incur a cost for new uniforms. 

LaGrange Elementary teacher Matt Daily presented on the robotics program that takes place at the school on Fridays. Student representatives to the board provided input on recruiting the next round of students from each high school for their positions.

Board member Christine Miller recommended the board return to scheduling more regular work sessions when the new elected officials join in December, following the Nov. 3 general election.

Board members Zach Miller, Ryan Clayton and Katherine Patrick suggested the board hold a work session regarding mental health of both students and staff amid the pandemic. 

In his report, Kramer thanked all staff, administrators and educators for their work in navigating circumstances presented by COVID-19. 

“The stress level for almost everyone in our community is extremely high and it is very important for us as leaders of our community to provide as much grace as possible in these difficult times,” he said. “We’ve held those expectations extremely high and still implemented a lot of things that we feel will make a significant impact on academic success.”

The board approved the consent agenda as presented.

The board will convene for its next regularly scheduled meeting Nov. 10 at 7 p.m., and for a work session Nov. 2 at 6 p.m.


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