A local mother says she is stunned to learn a sex offender took part in a recent high school performance involving her child and dozens of students.
The parent, who wished to remain anonymous, says Battle Creek Public Schools willingly put her child and others at risk and she wants to know why.
Battle Creek Central High School's Band Follies has been a tradition for the district for decades at W.K Kellogg Auditorium, but the latest performance is stirring up controversy.
A parent reached out to Newschannel 3 after she discovered that a registered sex offender, who is also an alumni of Battle Creek Central High School, had performed at last weekend's event as a magician.
Jeffrey McGinnis, 42, is listed as a tier three offender on the Michigan public sex offender registry. Tier three is the most serious designation and includes people who have been convicted of offenses, including criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping and gross indecency between at least two people, if the victim is less than 13 years old.
McGinnis was convicted in Illinois in 1994 for criminal sexual abuse.
Newschannel 3's Brittany Gray reached out to Battle Creek Public Schools to find out why McGinnis was included in the program.
The superintendent sent a statement:
The Michigan Department of Education requires that both employees and volunteers who come into contact with students be subject to criminal conviction screenings, and BCPS complies with this policy in full. The individual in question was not an employee or a volunteer, but a participant in a community event held at the district’s high school. State policy does not require background checks for participants, performers, vendors, or presenters at community events. No students were harmed and no incident was reported in conjunction with the event. Safety of our students is our number one priority at BCPS. We look to the state for guidance and diligently follow all legal requirements for background checks and criminal conviction screening.
As for the parent, she says she can't believe the district would willingly allow this to happen.
She says, “What happened to background checks and knowing who you're putting around your students.”
The Battle Creek Police Department had not heard about the incident.
An officer tells me they will look into it and work with the prosecutor's office to determine if a violation occurred and how to proceed.