Plainfield Township Sex Offender Policy

Schools ban field trips until township sets sex offender policy

November 25, 2009 // 0 Comments

Rockford Superintendent angry over proximity of offender, school by BETH ALTENA Rockford Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Shibler had harsh words to say about Plainfield Township officials’ failure to notify him that a convicted sex offender was working practically within arm’s reach of elementary students. Forty-year-old Jeffrey Hawkins was fired from his job as firefighter and deputy clerk for the township after a Friday, November 6, incident when the convicted sex offender was accused of soliciting a teenage boy on the Internet for immoral purposes. Hawkins allegedly used Facebook to contact the youngster. Hawkins had been convicted in 1997 of criminal sexual conduct with a 12-year-old family member. In a letter to the media released November 10, Plainfield Fire Chief Dave Peterson stated, “At the time of his prior conviction, steps were taken to limit or eliminate the possibility of him being alone with a minor child. At the time of his prior conviction, considerations for continued employment were taken concerning the employment record and attitude of Mr. Hawkins, the family members who were involved, and the recommendation of his mental health professional. Based on that information I felt that with proper safeguards his continued employment with the fire department did not constitute a threat to the public.” Chief Peterson said the latest investigation was the result of activities outside his position as a firefighter but nonetheless reason for termination. He also said the township personnel are deeply concerned for the victims and family members involved in this unfortunate incident. He fired Hawkins effective November 10. In 2000, Hawkins was appointed as deputy clerk for the township. Shibler sent a letter to the township, backed by similar sentiments from Northview and Comstock Park schools. Shibler’s letter informed Supervisor George Meek that no field trips will be allowed to the Plainfield Charter Township until a sex offender policy is implemented. “As I am sure you can appreciate, one of the most important duties I have as superintendent of schools, is to ensure the safety and security of the children entrusted to our district,” he stated in the letter. Shibler also questioned whether the township broke the law by allowing Hawkins to work within 1,000 feet of a school. “The law is very clear that a sex […]