Ban uplifted from Jessica’s Law: Why should it be dangerous to go to school?

Rachel Chistyakov

Voices Editor

I’m scared to go to school.

Jessica’s Law is the name given to a law that punishes sex offenders and restricts them in several ways. One way the law used to restrict them is by forbidding registered sex offenders to live within 2,000 feet of a park or a school. Recently, a judge in Los Angeles ruled this portion of Jessica’s Law as unconstitutional, claiming that this made sex offenders homeless. This would heighten the risk of them attacking a child.

For a moment, I didn’t believe that this was true. I don’t see how preventing registered sex offenders from living near a school would make them homeless. In all honesty, 2,000 feet is not that big of a distance: as an example, the Mirman school is about 2,640 feet away from Milken. Why would anyone want to live so close to a school where there are noisy teenagers, loud bells, and constant traffic? To me, this seems like a lame excuse for withdrawing this ban. It simply makes it easier for a sex offender to be near children.

What about my Second Amendment right to protection? What about the promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? How can I live a happy and healthy life if there are sex offenders living next door to my school? How can I live a normal life if I’m afraid of going to school?

There are 92 teachers and approximately 576 students at Milken. This means that there are 6 students per teacher on campus. This does not count many other faculty and admissions members at Milken, but that would only lower the ratio by a few students. How can I feel safe with this small ratio? There are simply not enough adults on campus to protect every single student. Although our security is very efficient, and no one would be able to get onto our campus, what happens when I’m leaving the school? What about the days that I have volleyball practice and have to leave by myself at 6 PM? I’m alone, walking through the Skirball parking lot and driving onto Sepulveda with barely anyone around. Anything can happen now that this ban has been abolished, and it terrifies me. I’d like to state that I am not judging the security at Milken at all; my point is that there is not enough protection in the world to keep every child safe from sex offenders.

Yes, extra security could be suggested. There could be certain measures taken to help protect the students even more. But nothing will help stop a sex offender from getting what he or she wants. People who commit sexual crimes against children are mentally impaired, and no amount of security can contain them if they are allowed to live so close to a school.

Jessica Lunsford
Jessica Lunsford, a girl from Florida for which Jessica's Law was named, was kidnapped, assaulted, and murdered in February of 2005.

Some say that it is actually safer to allow sex offenders to live by schools because they wouldn’t be homeless. I tried to see the validity in this argument, but I couldn’t agree with it. In Los Angeles, parents don’t normally allow their children to walk around the streets by themselves. Anyone younger than 18 has a strict curfew and has to be off the streets by 11 PM. This significantly lowers the risk of a child being attacked on the streets. Plus, if someone was being attacked on a public street, they would receive plenty of attention and the police would be notified. By allowing sex offenders to live close to schools and parks, the risk of children being attacked is heightened because children go to school five or more days a week, and the park is where many children go for recreational purposes. And, now that sex offenders are allowed to own homes nearby, they have a private place into which to bring children so the attack is no longer public.

I wish the world were a peaceful place. I wish some people weren’t evil and that sex offenders weren’t dangerous people, but this isn’t the truth. It’s a shame that restrictions must be set regarding where certain people can live, but it’s for safety purposes. This case comes down to a matter of prioritizing the people who deserve more security and freedom: children or sex offenders. To me, the answer is obvious, but apparently, not everyone in Los Angeles sees this case the same way I do.