Fulton County Schools is reassessing its screening process for volunteers after it was discovered a registered sex offender was a volunteer with the Bear Creek Middle School band programs.
A parent of two Bear Creek students discovered Demetrius Thompson — who was convicted in 2004 on two counts of aggravated child molestation — when he recognized Thompson’s photograph on the online Georgia Sex Offender Registry after doing a search for ZIP codes in his area.
“My daughter said that’s the guy who was passing out pizza at the football game,” said parent Bobby Wilcox, who had conversations with Thompson in recent months and had seen him around his neighborhood. “He seemed like a nice guy.”
Wilcox notified Bear Creek principal Darron Franklin on Monday morning, and the district banned Thompson from all school property and notified his parole officer. An arrest warrant was issued against Thompson for violating the conditions of his parole. He turned himself into the Fulton County Fugitive Squad on Tuesday night, Channel 2 Action News reported.
Fulton schools spokeswoman Samantha Evans said Wednesday that Thompson passed the background check because he falsified information on his application, changing his name so it didn’t match the sex registry information.
Wilcox said that kind of slip-up is inexcusable.
“They asked his name and all he had to do was write it on a piece of paper?” Wilcox asked. “It seems like they should have to have valid ID, don’t you think?”
Evans said the school system is investigating what happened, and “it appears that staff followed all procedure and protocol was followed. … The priority now is to re-evaluate the process so that this doesn’t happen again.”
The school district sent out an automated telephone call and email to parents Monday night telling them it had confirmed that one parent volunteer was on the sex offender list, and the parent had been banned and his probation officer notified. The district said its staff checked the sex offender registry for all surrounding municipalities for all guardians and emergency contacts at Bear Creek.
According to Evans, school administrators said the district is in the process of getting equipment that will scan the IDs to enter all school buildings.
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