Iowa City school board to debate placement of student sex offender
19 currently on Iowa Sex Offender Registry are underage
IOWA CITY — The Iowa City school board will hold an unusual meeting next week to discuss where a student who is a registered sex offender should receive schooling.
Superintendent Stephen Murley, citing a federal student-privacy law, declined Thursday to provide information on the student and said the school district will not reveal in which building the student will be taught.
The school board is meeting Aug. 26 to consider the “enrollment or educational placement” of someone required by Iowa law to register as a sex offender.
The meeting, which is required by the state, will occur in closed session, meaning the public cannot attend. The vote on the placement will occur in open session, according to the agenda, but what exactly will be said besides each board member’s “yes” or “no” vote is not clear.
Murley said he’s confident an arrangement will be made that keeps other students and staff safe and benefits the subject of the session, who is new to the district.
He said he has a recommendation for the school board that has been agreed to by the student’s guardian.
“Hopefully we get a chance to get that student into an educational setting that helps them meet their needs and move forward with their life,” Murley said.
The Iowa City Community School District has two comprehensive high schools, an alternative high school and individualized programming at the Theodore Roosevelt Education Center.
There were 5,327 people on the Iowa Sex Offender Registry website as of Thursday. Only 19 of them were age 18 or younger.
It is not clear how many students in Iowa’s K-12 schools are registered sex offenders. The Iowa Department of Education does not track that, and the Iowa Department of Public Safety could not immediately give an answer late Thursday afternoon.
It’s very rare for a student to be a registered sex offender, Department of Public Safety spokesman Alex Murphy said.
This is the only hearing of its kind to have occurred in the Iowa City Community School District in the past several years, if not longer.
Juvenile sex offenders must register, but Iowa law allows a judge to waive that requirement.
Iowa law bans sex offenders from elementary and secondary schools without the written permission of a school administrator, unless that person is enrolled as a student at the school.