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New tool tracks sex offenders on college campuses

6:35 PM, Dec 18, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Florida State College is home to more than 60,000 students and 51 of those enrolled, are registered sex offenders. Students on campus are able to use a new tool to check the number of sexual offenders on campuses.

Florida State College at Jacksonville is just one public college that has an open access program, which allows offenders to take any classes. College officials are discussing whether to keep the current policy or change it.

"We are really concerned about the safety and students but also about giving open access to all citizens who want an education and that's the mission of our college," acting FSCJ President, Doctor Judith Bilsky said. 

Students want to see change, too. 

The sex offender crimes range from rape, kidnapping to possession of child porn. First Coast News took to the streets and knocked on some doors of registered sex offenders living in Duval County. 

Wilford Chason, 46, opened up saying he wanted a fresh start after spending 13 years behind bars for kidnapping. He says he wants to turn his life around working towards a degree in computer technology information.

"I want the school to do what's best for the community as a whole," Chason said. 

For the next three months school leaders and community members will decide on three options -- ban admission for registered sex offenders, no ban at all or enact a partial ban making offenders go through an interview process before enrollment.

The other possibilities may include stopping offenders from taking classes or to allow partial access, which would give them the ability to take online classes or go through an interview before attending a class.

College officials are expected to make a decision by March 2014.

First Coast News

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