Sex Offender Allowed to Watch Graduation in West Burlington - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Sex Offender Allowed to Watch Graduation in West Burlington

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It started in March. 

David Almendinger, 31 year old who's been a sex offender since he was 14, approached the West Burlington High School principal. 

He was asking permission to see his girlfriends son, graduate. 

"Mr. Alemendinger came in and introduced himself and told Mr. Snodgrass (the high school principal) very directly that he was on the sex offender list," says Superintendent David Schmitt.

The school leadership had a decision to make. 

Under Iowa law, "The sex offender may not be present upon the real property of an public or nonpublic elementary or secondary school without the written permission of the school administrator."

"We decided that we would allow him to attend, under some conditions," Schmitt explains. 

The conditions?

Almendinger had to check in with the principal when he arrived. 

He had to sit with an administrator in the back, throughout the entire ceremony and he couldn't go anywhere besides the hallway and the gym, not even the restroom. 

Lastly, he was only allowed to be in the school for 20 minutes, just enough time to see his grad walk the stage. 

Something people in West Burlington, have mixed decisions on. 

"If it was my grandchild, I was dead set against it," says Mel Adams. "I believe the school district did the right thing, the process they went through but a child molester is a child molester. 

Amy Russell, disagrees:  "My feelings is, that the guy done the right thing by notifying the school in the first place because he could have just went and not told nobody(sic)."

But even with differing community and parent opinions, Superintendent Schmitt believes he made the right decision by letting Almendinger attend, and stands by his decision to not inform them he was coming before the ceremony.

"We were concerned that it would cause an uproar if we did that," he explains. "We felt everyone was safe and secure."

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