Registered Sex Offender Denied Class Enrollment

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WASHINGTON COUNTY-- Those lifetime sex offender and sexual predator labels are hard to overcome. Just ask a Washington County man who's been denied enrollment at a local vocational school. School administrations refused his admission application because minors also attend the school.

Brian Anderson has spent the past four years trying to turn around his life.

"Statistics say we don't make it six months,” he said. “Well you're looking at one that's been out four years and hasn't re-offended."

Anderson spent 16 years in prison for lewd conduction with a minor under the age of 16. He's the father of four children and he wants to learn a trade to support them. That's why he tried to enroll in one of the programs at Washington-Holmes Technical Center in Chipley.

"I was trying to go to school for cosmetology, so I could, at home cut hair. I'm being refused my opportunity to go to school because they don't want a registered sex offender in their school."

Anderson says school officials cited the Jessica Lunsford Act as the grounds for denying his application, because high school students are enrolled in the cosmetology class.

They did offer other adult programs like truck driving or public safety.

So Anderson appealed to the Florida Department of Education.

"After talking with the people there, it ended up that they can't stop a registered sex offender from going to school," he explained.

Anderson says he plans to apply again, and if denied, will file a lawsuit.

Washington-Holmes Technical School officials say they do offer night and off-campus classes to sex offenders.