Schools do in-depth background checks to make sure that their teachers, administrators, volunteers, coaches, and bus drivers are safe and trustworthy enough to work with kids on a day-to-day basis. But can schools always keep dangerous individuals outside the walls, or are there other factors at work beyond their control?
That's a question being asked in Haysville, Kansas, after it came to the attention of the local school district that the United States Postal Service had a sex offender on their staff with two schools on his daily mail route. The two schools in question, Campus High School and Ruth Clark Elementary School, are both a part of the USD 261 Haysville School District.
The superintendent for the district was the first person to hear about the issue, after receiving an email from a "concerned citizen" informing him that a sex offender had been assigned to the mail route that included the two schools. He subsequently contacted the Regional Director for the USPS, and made sure that the mail carrier in question would not deliver to either school going forward. Parents were notified of the incident via email, though there is no evidence at this time that the sex offender had any contact with students.
USPS also issued a statement, writing that, "the Postal Service examines the facts and circumstances surrounding each individual case, including whether the employee complied with the requirement to notify management that he/she is a registered sex offender." The response is a bit cryptic, but it does hint that the Postal Service both ran the necessary background checks on the mail carrier in question, and knew that he was a registered sex offender. The question, then, is about how this particular individual could have possibly been assigned a route that included school buildings.
Another question begged by this situation is whether or not sex offenders should be barred from working as USPS mail carriers. When asked a similar query by a CBS News affiliate in Haysville, many parents, grandparents, and other family members expressed shock and dismay that sex offenders can indeed be hired as mail carriers. As one grandparent noted, mail carriers get to know the neighborhoods where they work quite well, and a sexual predator could easily use the job to pick out his or her next victim.