Give tools to keep kids safe

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Valley Grande officials have identified five sexual offenders living in the community. They have handed out photographs and information about these men.

All sexual offenders listed on the state&8217;s Web site have stood trial or admitted their guilt and have served time. Now, they exist in a state of permanent probation by registering as sexual offenders.

Most of society will view their debts to society as unpaid. Forgiveness comes grudgingly to the thief, the dope fiend and the alcoholic. But society does not pardon sexual offenders, especially those who have preyed on children.

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While it might not seem fair to these men or their families, consider the victims. Some of the sufferers have yet to reach the teenage years.

The Alabama House Judiciary Committee has considered limitations on where registered sexual offenders could live.

The committee has a bill passed by the state Senate that would prohibit convicted sexual offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a college or university.

Recently, the House Judiciary Committee removed language from the measure that would have prohibited sexual offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a bus stop.

State Rep. Yusuf Salaam, D-Selma, pointed out some sexual offenders&8217; convictions could be reversed if they don&8217;t have a legal place to live when released from prison.

Some cities across the United States have restricted where registered sexual offenders may live. Some of the restrictions have faced court challenges.

The issue with the restrictions rests in a false sense of security created by them. The problem with sexual predators centers on where they commit the crime, not always where they live.

A sexual predator would not pay attention to some false barrier. What would prevent the sexual predator from living two miles away from a bus stop, but accosting a child there anyway?

The key to security lies in remaining vigilant. A registered sexual offender might not live near the playground or school, but do not assume safety.

Make it your business to know where your children are and whom they are around.

Be involved in your children&8217;s activities.

If you are concerned about someone&8217;s behavior, take it up with an authority figure.

Let children know that sexual activity between children and adults is wrong.

Stress to your child that he or she should feel comfortable telling you anything, especially if it involves another adult.

Teach your children to say no if they are uncomfortable with touch or actions by others.

Teach them to tell you immediately if this happens. Reassure them you are there to help.

Above all, be aware.

Listen to your children.