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Parents Mad About Sex Offenders on School Parade Route

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A couple in Detroit says that their son's school, P.D. Graham Elementary, put the boy in danger when a school parade route led the kids through an area where sex offenders live, reports Click on Detroit.


When mom Elizabeth Dunham found out that her son's school was going to host a parade Tuesday for students in its accelerated reader program, she cross-referenced the route with the state's sex offender registry -- and discovered that two registered sex offenders live on the parade route.

She and her husband then sent the following e-mail to the school principal:

As the educators, it is your responsibility to ensure the safety of the children that attend your school. I fear this is not the case. I cross-checked the parade route with a listing of registered sex offenders in the area. Is it really your intention to parade the children in front of the homes of pedophiles? I, for one, will not stand for this. I refuse to let my child take part in such egregious activity. Nor do I plan to keep this information from the other parents. Please contact me with a solution for this dilemma.

When school officials saw that the Dunhams' son was present at school before the parade, they allowed him to participate in it -- and the Dunhams are FURIOUS. But school officials say it was simply a matter of miscommunication.

School administrators also insist that the parade was safe. "Local streets are shut down; a fire truck actually leads the parade, and a police officer in a patrol car ends the parade," Wayne-Westland Deputy Superintendent Charlotte Sherman told WDIV. "The teachers and the children all participate, and it's just a wonderful celebration of reading."

Do you think the parents are overreacting ... or do they have a right to be mad?

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10 comments so far | Post a comment now
Matt June 9, 2010, 12:25 PM

Your kidding right? How is this dangerous unless the kids are unsupervised, this is not dangerous at all. This is a classic case of a mother over reacting, because when you get the route to your child’s parade, the first thing that goes through your mind is let me check for sex offenders.

Charla June 9, 2010, 1:45 PM

I don’t know the woman in question, so I won’t say she’s overreacting. She may have had an experience that causes her to be more protective than others. (I’ll admit, I’m a mom of a 4-year-old girl, and I wouldn’t have thought to check the parade route against a map of known sex offenders. We also haven’t had any problems with children being harmed in our neighborhood or in the neighborhood around our daughter’s school.)

The bottom line, however, is this: You can take children anywhere in a community and be at risk of “parading” him or her in front of pedophiles, kidnappers, murderers, and others who often mean more harm than good. If this mother was that concerned about the sex offenders along this parade route, she could have walked the route with her child or kept him home from school. Ultimately, she has more of a responsibility for her child’s safety than the school does.

Christi June 9, 2010, 2:42 PM

I don’t think she’s over reacting at all. As a parent it is the ultimate responsibility to protect your child, and checking for sex-offenders who would have a front row seat to children on parade was a smart move on her part - just because others didn’t think of it doesn’t mean she is overly cautious. Yes, in public, sex offenders may be everywhere, just like germs are, but why take the risk and bring your child to a place where those germs are known to be more prevalent than other places?
The letter the parents sent to the school stated that unless there was a different route (or another solution that the parents agreed with) they did not want their child participating in the parade. That the school disregarding the parents’ wishes and allowed the child to go makes me angry as a parent as well. The parent shouldn’t have had to keep her child out of school for the entire day - perhaps missing work they couldn’t afford to miss. And how many schools have very strict attendance policies on these matters? Perhaps she was hoping her child would be one among few with perfect attendance for the year? It was always quite an honor when I was young. The schools have a responsibility to follow the wishes of the parents where practicable, safe and easily accommodated. They do not have the right to make parenting choices they way the did.

Rachelle June 9, 2010, 2:45 PM

I agree with Charla to an extent, but I would also add, that if this mother was concerned enough to contact the school, the school should have taken better action and acknowledged her, instead of just letting her kid go anyway. That’s what I would be furious about. She doesn’t have to make her child stay home if she still wants him to attend school. The school should be responsible enough to make other arrangements for the child during that class (like study hall, etc.). As far as the route, it’s not something I would have thought to check normally, but it sounds like a good idea, and something I may consider when my child is school age. I believe she is right. If she found info that potentially puts our children at risk, then the school either SHOULD notify parents, or work to revise the route for future parades. This is one of the reasons I thought schools had PTAs. Don’t they do that anymore? A group of parents who work together at the school to organize events, check for safety issues, go to the school board over serious issues the parents have concerns about, raise money, etc.

Anonymous June 9, 2010, 3:00 PM

Sex offenders live everywhere. There is no such thing as a neighborhood or a parade route without them.

Nantucket Cat June 9, 2010, 4:35 PM

I agree with the previous anonymous poster. Also, do you even know why these people are on the sex offender list? Not all registered sex offenders are pedophiles; many people are on the list for tamer offenses like public urination. Don’t make assumptions without doing all the research.

scaredofthemom June 10, 2010, 12:07 PM

I find the MOTHER’s reaction to be frightening. Has she been checked by CPS as having a mental issue?

it is obvious you would not allow your kids to walk down a street you don;t know without an adult walking with them. her level of extremism is unfounded, and her attitude to sex offenders seems to be generated due to the media hype surrounding the registers offender population. With the 2nd lowest re-offense of all criminal elements, people are driven more by fear then by intelligence.

less than 7% of ALL registered offenders will re-offend after they are caught. Read a little instead of believing the idiots in media. good grief.

GaB June 11, 2010, 11:47 AM

I am genuinely surprised at the level of maturity in this comments section. It’s nice to see that level heads can prevail.

Rita June 16, 2010, 2:52 PM

If you go to , you can search by your town or neighborhood, you can see who it is, their name, the victim’s age (if there even was a victim), and it’s color-coded to make it easy to understand.

Not all sex offenders are pedophiles.

schoolmarm June 18, 2010, 7:01 PM

If the parent was so concerned why didn’t she call the school? Instead she sent an email to the principal over the weekend. He responded & asked her to call him or come in to discuss this. She did neither—and her son was in school. She didn’t read the principals email until later in the day. So who’s fault is that? Something that important to you should not be left to email! He joined the police supervised parade - and his parents want the principal arrested for abduction? Get real!!

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