Parents discover registered sex offender a volunteer at Fort Worth school



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Posted on February 25, 2011 at 10:39 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 25 at 11:17 PM

FORT WORTH - East Handley Elementary School in Fort Worth needs involved parents just like any other school.

Except, at East Handley, one parent volunteer turned out to be a registered sex offender.

It didn't take a thorough background check to learn Jon Coots served eight years for a 1996 sex crime with a child since it can easily be found on the state's sex offender registry, which Sean Young and his wife were shocked to discover.

"I recognized him because I'm also in the PTA," Young said. "He's a very active member at the school. He's a member of the PTA."

Young immediately printed off the registry information and took it to the school's vice principal and principal. 

"She just said, 'We should have caught it before now and we apologize,'" Young said.

Young had to fill out forms for a background investigation to volunteer, which is district policy. He said he asked the principal what happened to the paperwork on Coots.

"I think she said they had sent it to his house and that he never complied," he said.

A Fort Worth Independent School District spokesman, who declined to appear on camera, said school officials should have followed up. He also added that Coots was never alone with children in classrooms and did not go on field trips.

That doesn't impress Young. 

"I've seen him alone in hallways during school hours," he said.  "To me that's alarming."

The district said Coots will still be allowed into the school, but only under escort and to see his own children.

There are no new criminal allegations against him and police say no laws were broken because sex offenders who complete parole are not prohibited from helping out at a school.

But Fort Worth ISD spokesman Clint Bond told News 8 that all principals are being notified about the mistake so they can double check their own procedures.

Young said he believes the district should have sent letters home to East Handley parents. Bond said that at this point, there has been no incident involving children that would require parent notification.