LANCASTER – A judge Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit filed by an admitted registered sex offender who sued the Lancaster School District, alleging he was being wrongfully denied access to his child’s school and the opportunity to be involved in his son’s education.
The man, identified only as John Doe in the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit he filed in February 2019, wanted a judge to declare that the state Penal Code does not deny the plaintiff and other registrants access to school grounds for “lawful business.”
However, after no appearance by Doe or a representative for a scheduled hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court, Judge Daniel S. Murphy dismissed the suit “without prejudice,” meaning the defendant is not barred from refiling it later.
The plaintiff is the father of a boy who was 5 years old when the suit was filed. The boy attended kindergarten at El Dorado Elementary School and was being assessed for special education needs, according to the complaint, that said the plaintiff “seeks to be actively involved in his child’s education.”
Doe wanted to direct the education of his child and accompany the boy to and from school to protect him, according to his court papers, which stated he also desired to attend parent-teacher conferences, ceremonies and other “milestones” in his son’s learning process.
But in January 2019, the district, via an email from an administrator, denied Doe’s request to enter the campus, according to the suit, which stated the “rejection did not include a reason for denying plaintiff’s access to the school campus.”
The Penal Code states that a registered sex offender who goes onto school grounds without a lawful reason and written permission is guilty of a misdemeanor, the suit says. Doe said he disclosed to the district that he was a registered sex offender and requested permission in writing to enter his child’s school in order to take him to and from home to his classes, as well as for other purposes allowed under the law.
The Penal Code does not give school districts the discretion to deny registrants such as Doe permission for any and all purposes to go onto his child’s campus and exercise his rights under the state Education Code and the Parents’ Bill of Rights, according to the suit.
The district’s refusal to allow Doe onto his son’s school grounds for lawful purposes “is both inconsistent and in conflict with California law” and “an abuse of discretion,” the suit alleged.
Doe was acting as his own attorney in the latter stages of the case because his lawyer, Janice M. Bellucci, requested and was granted a request by Murphy to be relieved as plaintiff’s counsel in January.