Registered sex offenders could soon face some admissions roadblocks at Florida State College at Jacksonville.
A new search feature on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement website allows users to search which college a registered sex offender attends. FSCJ had the highest number of sex offenders enrolled in the state.
The college has an open admissions policy which means anyone who applies can get in, regardless of grade point average, test scores, arrest record or sex offender status.
But when FDLE started the new search feature, FSCJ officials asked lawyers to look into the school’s admission policies where sex offenders are concerned.
College Vice President Judith Bilsky said it’s all about keeping students safe.
“We have not seen a problem, even though we have some known, enrolled sexual offenders," she said.
"But it’s time for us to take another look at our policies and see if, perhaps, we need to amend them in any way.”
According to Bilsky, FSCJ has three options: keep admissions open, admit known sex offenders only after a formal interview with school administrators or bar all registered sex offenders from attending.
Kevin Gay with Operation New Hope said the school needs to proceed with caution or risk doing more harm than good.
“We’ve got to do something different than just wanting to write everybody off," he said.
"That’s why this whole idea of precluding folks to be able to get an education is absolute insanity. "
Operation New Hope helps people who’ve spent time in prison re-enter society.
According to FDLE, the University of North Florida and Jacksonville University have no sex offenders enrolled. There is one registered offender listed at Edward Waters College.