It's not the kind of subject line you want to see in your inbox, but it may be crucial information for your family. A dozen states across the country are now alerting residents via email when a sex offender moves into their neighborhood. Already several states sponsor search engines that allow residents to pull up names, addresses and photos of level 2 and 3 sex offenders (at higher risk of violence or repeat crimes). But the new email alert system notifies residents when a new offender moves into their designated home, school or day care area.
It's a technological breakthrough that's particularly relevant on the heals on a new study stating more sex offenders are infiltrating schools. The study by the General Accountability Office found that almost 75 percent of school abuse cases involve an employee with a prior history of sex offenses. The researchers point fingers at school officials covering up for fellow colleagues and poorly executed background checks.
That puts more of an onus on parents to monitor their child's safety, even at school. The new email alert system will aid in the research. Already implemented in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Ohio and South Carolina, additional states like Illinois and Indiana are preparing to adapt the electronic alert system.
But is it putting to much responsibility in the hands of local residents, or paving the way for possible witch-hunts and paranoia? And what does it really feel like to send your kid off to school and then open your email only to find out a new sex offender with a history of violence or pedophilia has moved into your school district? And how do you keep your kids protected once you have the information? Technological advances still can't answer those kinds questions.
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