GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) — Fifth graders at Woodland Elementary went on a field trip to Charleston, along with chaperones of course.
Shortly after the buses left the school, Woodland Elementary received an anonymous tip that one of the chaperones was on the South Carolina sex offender registry.
As soon as the tip was confirmed, law enforcement was called.
Greenville County Schools spokesperson Beth Brotherton says that registered sex offenders are not permitted to serve as volunteers or chaperones in GCS.
Brotherton said that the chaperone was never alone with any students, and he was immediately removed from the trip.
She also stated that all children were checked into hotel rooms before the chaperone was approached by police, so they were unaware.
The students will continue their field trip as planned.
With background checks of every parent who chaperones by the School District, parents are left with unanswered questions.
“They really enforced all year long that they were going to check everyone’s driver’s license and do background checks to be allowed to be a chaperone, so it was really shocking that something like this could slip through the cracks,” says Kristen Newman, a parent of a student on the field trip.
“I feel confident that they’ll work through that and it will never happen again,” says Paige Smith, a parent of a student on the field trip.
Brotherton released a statement on behalf of GCSD saying,“we are extremely concerned that this individual was allowed to participate in this field trip. Our failure to identify this chaperone’s status as a sex offender is being investigated so that any error in following our protocols can be corrected immediately.”
7 News asked GCSD for the name of the registered sex offender, but officials refused to release it, saying it was a parent.
We also wanted to know why there were no charges in this case, an official referred us to the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office.
Authorities claim an arrest would depend on the severity of the initial offense.
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