Don’t turn paranoia into policy! That’s the plea of this phenomenal Globe & Mail editorial. It was written because the Toronto District School Board is considering requiring background checks for all volunteer, a move the paper calls —
…a classic case of policy overreach preying on parental fear that eclipses common sense.
Schools depend on volunteer parents to function. Parents, in turn, are eager for the opportunity, and raise their hands in droves. There are currently 32,000 on the TDSB’s volunteer lists. Tens of thousands of parent volunteers have passed through school hallways since amalgamation. The proposed new rule implicitly suggests that child predators lurk among them. Yet, according to a TDSB spokesperson, there has never been a single incident involving a volunteer threatening the safety of a child at TDSB school. Not one. Not ever.
There is no crisis of parents posing a threat to kids in schools. The TDSB’s proposed rule is designed to solve a problem which does not exist. But a TDSB spokesman says that all of these precautions are necessary, because, after all, “you can’t be too careful.”
That line of argument is deeply unhinged from reality. It feeds on irrational fear, rather than fact. And it ignores the obvious costs of these ridiculous rules. Requiring every parent to submit to a police check will discourage parents’ involvement in schools, turn some school trips into logistical nightmares, and infringe on privacy to an unprecedented degree. Yes, we can be too careful. …
Here’s the whole piece.