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,

The professionals charged with enforcing these laws—those who have the most sophisticated experience supervising and interacting with convicted sex offenders—recognize significant problems with residential restrictions and their likely collateral consequences. In conjunction with the lack of evidence of the effectiveness of residential restrictions, the ACA’s [American Correctional Association] position forms a strong basis for reconsidering these laws.  (Exile at Home: The Unintended Collateral Consequences of Sex Offender Residency Restrictions – Richard Tewksbury)

I am a survivor, and fully understand how society and the system failed me. I have been through it, I understand it, and  want to make change happen. Opposing this ordinance is not saying we agree with abuse of our children, it says we give into our fears without factual basis and create policies based on emotion while ignoring the root cause of sexual assault.
The reality is there is no residency restriction ordinance that would prevent sexual assault or abduction of a child. The reality is you have a legitimate reason to have fear, because while you are looking in the other direction for strangers, the one closest to your family is likely the one hurting your children.
Melissa Dunn, victim