Of course, we want to keep all students as safe as possible at all times – and that includes keeping sex offenders away from them. …The school yard is likely one of the most supervised areas in town. …It seems that, further away from the school, there is less supervision for students that are walking or biking home, playing in the neighborhoods, etc. I’m not sure an ordinance to restrict residency would have the impact (absolute safety for our kids) that we might be seeking, and may create a more harmful situation further away from the school, where less supervision is present….
Andrew R Dolloff, Ph.D., Superintendent of Schools, Yarmouth School Department in a written statement to the Yarmouth Town Council
This ordinance would restrict people who are rebuilding their lives by limiting safe places to live. They should be with family during a time of rebuilding. To judge sex offenders without knowing the entire story is callous; not all sex offenders are the same.
Andrea Elfring, Yarmouth Resident, family member of convicted sex offender
We believe that child sexual offenders should not live within close proximity to schools or daycares and that their access to children in general should be limited. However, after careful consideration we do not recommend the implementation of statutory or ordinance-based residency restrictions for sex offenders on either the state or local level. We do recommend increased periods of probation for sex offenders, increased use of residency restrictions as part of conditions of probation and increased community education.
Cara Courchesne, Communications Director, Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assualt
These [sex offender residency restriction ordinances] codes feed on the misinformation that sex offenders all have many victims and feel no remorse, that they are incurable terrorists who prey on strangers. Prosecutors, police officers and victim advocates in New Hampshire widely oppose these restrictions because they erode safety.
Chris Dornin, Citizens for Criminal Justice Reform – New Hampshire; Concord, N.H.
This policy doesn’t sound unreasonable until you realize that if passed as worded that it will not allow any discretion and does not differentiate between offenders or assess the individual’s risk of re-offense. All sexual offenders pose different risks and the origin of their behavior stems from different dynamics. Those convicted of the same level of felony crime can have different levels of risk.
David Craig, Yarmouth Town Councilor, resident,