Franklin, Waynesville OK anti-loitering laws for schools after man’s visits

Move comes one month after Dayton man went to multiple local schools, attempting to videotape on campus

Franklin City Council enacted an emergency ordinance last week to prevent people from loitering or trespassing on school property if they are not there “in connection with duly authorized school business or activity.”

City Manager Jonathan Westendorf said the city prepared the ordinance in response to incidents last month in which a 25-year-old Dayton man attempted to walk into multiple Miami Valley school buildings last month to record video and ask questions.

The man called himself a “first amendment rights auditor,” and the school districts, including Kettering, West Carrollton and Miamisburg, requested that he leave.

When the man pushed back, the schools turned to school resource officers and law enforcement involvement. The incidents raised the question of what access rights the general public has to buildings such as public schools and government offices, which have increased their safety protocols after years of mass shootings nationally.

At a recent work session, Franklin council members discussed the proposed ordinance and were informed that Franklin City Schools Superintendent Michael Sander fully supported the proposal and requested that council proceed.

Sander told the Dayton Daily News that the district had no problems with the new ordinance.

“They were doing it to be proactive to deter people from coming on to school property and deter any safety concerns,” Sander said.

The ordinance prohibits presence on school grounds if a person is not there in connection with lawful school-related activity; and/or there without the consent of school administration.

In addition, the ordinance defines school grounds as any real property owned or leased by a public or private school and used for educational or other school-related extracurricular purposes. The measure applies during times when school is in session or other organized school-related activity is taking place on the premises.

A violation would be a fourth-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $250.

Waynesville Village Council also approved an emergency ordinance at its Oct. 16 meeting regulating loitering on school grounds.

The village ordinance says no person, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on days when school is scheduled to be in session, shall trespass, loiter, or remain in the building or upon the grounds of any public or private school in the Village at which such person is neither enrolled nor employed unless such person shall have entered such building or grounds in connection with duly authorized school business or activity.

The Waynesville ordinance defining “school grounds” also includes the area bounded by the Bicentennial Park on the northern school grounds.

Violations of Waynesville’s ordinance would also be a fourth-degree misdemeanor with a possible jail term of up to 30 days and a fine of up to $250.

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