When should ex-cons be allowed around students?
Peter Hermann has this blog item about our coverage Saturday of Black Guerrilla Family lieutenant Rainbow Lee Williams doing gang de-escalation work at Harbor City and four educators endorsing the Black Book. Peter mentions a case he covered at Northern High School in the late 1990s where a former criminal was working as a school counselor, under the theory that because of his troubled past, kids would be able to relate to him. Then a new regime came in and got rid of the counselor, also because of his troubled past.
I do understand the theory that ex-cons can relate to a vulnerable population of kids, perhaps better than most anyone else. But how do you determine which ones are safe to be in our schools? Though Williams supposedly wasn't left alone with students, his case is troubling on two counts: 1) He just had gotten out of prison on a murder charge a few weeks before his work at Harbor City began -- so he hadn't had any time to prove he had turned himself around, which, as it turns out, he hadn't. 2) (Did I mention?) He'd just gotten out of prison on a murder charge. Shouldn't the standard be different for murder than lesser crimes? Why is it that sex offenders can never go back into schools, but there can be an exception after you've killed someone? (I'm not endorsing sex offenders in schools, either.)