The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TCC: Sex offenders must remain 1,000 feet from NE

By Shelly Williams/editor-in-chief

Sex offenders can no longer attend school on NE Campus.

A week before spring break, law enforcement officials informed the TCC district that it must be in compliance with sex offender laws regarding the proximity of offenders to children, said vice chancellor of administration Bill Lace.

With a child care center associated with the child development program on NE Campus, registered sex offenders can no longer enroll in courses there. Whether on parole or probation, offenders must be 1,000 feet away and must let TCC’s police department know they are registered.

“This is virtually the whole NE Campus,” Lace said. “NE had four [offenders], but only two were affected.”

Lace said that other arrangements were made for the students, such as distance learning. The same policy goes for students on other campuses during summer enrollment because of TCC’s College for Kids program.

“This is just being brought up because we are a licensed child care facility,” NE assistant professor of child development Pati Cates said. “Our licensing representative was visiting with me the last time, about gang-free zones — there’s a new policy on that. We were discussing that, and at the time, he brought up the sex offender zoning as well.

“When he did bring that up, I brought the information up to our police department and my president to make them aware of it.”

After the information was brought to the school’s attention, it was then given to TCC’s legal department, which made the recommendations for the policy established on the campuses, Cates said. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety’s sex offender registry, 24 registered offenders are listed within the college district.

“When we’re open from 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m., they can’t be on our campus. When we’re closed or through online classes, they [students] have every opportunity to go to school,” Cates said.

Lace said the school is trying to find the best way to raise awareness about this new policy to students on probation or parole as well as to probation and parole officers before students try to enroll.

“We’re afraid that they’d do all they’re supposed to do and then not be able to go to the NE Campus when they’ve already bought books and paid tuition,” Lace said. “We certainly want to be a part of helping people turn their lives around, but, at the same time, following the law.”

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