Meitivs Face a New Battle at School, And So Do Other Maryland Families

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Danielle Meitiv, the Free-Range mom investigated by Child Protective Services twice for the unconscionable crime of letting her kids walk home from the park in  Silver Spring, Maryland, has a new paranoid entity to deal with:

The Montgomery County School District.

Starting this year, every parent who wants to volunteer, even for a one-shot deal like a party, must undergo mandatory training in child abuse recognition.

I guess that way, when they’re handing out cupcakes they can also quickly and accurately identify all those terrible parents who deserve a knock on the door from CPS.

As Danielle wrote in an email (boldface mine):

Hi Lenore

You’re going to love this. We have a new policy in Montgomery County Public Schools. All schools volunteers, including those who come in for 45 minutes to help with parties or the classroom, etc., must complete mandatory online training in identifying child neglect and abuse. I can only imagine how the # of completely unfounded calls is going to skyrocket after this! (Kid’s hair isn’t combed? Doesn’t have the right clothes? Hungry because s/he skipped breakfast? Call CPS!)
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But the best part is that anyone who might have “unsupervised access” to kids – including in the hallways – must undergo fingerprinting and background checks. Has there been a rash of abuse by unsupervised adults in the recent past? Of course not, but you can NEVER BE TOO SAFE.
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Needless to say, my volunteering days are OVER.
Another one bites the dust. I’d be curious to hear if any of you have quite volunteering due to onerous, insulting “safety” requirements, too.
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This normalization of background checks for any and every adult interacting with kids is based on the assumption that everyone is a child molester until proven otherwise. And yet, what is that “proving” worth? The vast majority of the 850,000 people on the Sex Offender List will not commit a new sex crime (and many didn’t even commit one in the first place, but that’s another story).  At the same time, Jerry Sandusky would have passed any background check with flying colors.
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Remember this story? A mom wrote to say that HER mom — the kid’s grandma — wasn’t allowed in to a Read Aloud morning when grandma was visiting from out of state because, of course, she didn’t have a background check. And then there was this one: No, Ma’am, You May Not Chaperone Your Son’s Field Trip Without a Background Check , which happened to my very own speaking agent!
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We all share the desire to keep kids safe from predatory adults. Treating all adults as predators is not the answer. – L
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More Meitiv family distrust.

More Meitiv family distrust.

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94 Responses to Meitivs Face a New Battle at School, And So Do Other Maryland Families

  1. Papilio August 29, 2016 at 11:45 am #

    “Starting this year, every parent who wants to volunteer, even for a one-shot deal like a party, must undergo mandatory training in child abuse recognition.”

    That is so ridiculous, I actually laughed. What more could satire possibly add to this? A medical degree before you’re allowed within 100 feet of a minor, perhaps…?

  2. theresa August 29, 2016 at 11:47 am #

    Unless these volunteers have access to the kids that could actually cause problems I see no real need.

  3. Qute August 29, 2016 at 11:52 am #

    So schools first complain that parents aren’t involved in the school and now they pull this sort of thing.

    I’d be with Danielle. Sorry school, I’ll pass.

  4. Brooks August 29, 2016 at 12:03 pm #

    This is most likely driven by the legal department, not that anyone really believes in the risk. School board lawyers are some of the most dangerous lawyers in the nation.

  5. J August 29, 2016 at 12:15 pm #

    I wonder what would happen if you just got the time and place of these volunteer gigs, told the teacher you’d ‘be sure’ to do the mandatory training and then just . . . didn’t. Just didn’t go through it, just showed up and helped without bothering with the stupid rigmarole.

    I’ve been sort of experimenting with something similar: It seems to me that more and more companies, agencies and so forth are demanding your social security number, even in contexts where they have absolutely no need for that sort of info. So I just don’t put it down. Just write nothing.

    Likewise, for some jobs in the health field, I’ve been asked to provide not only the date of my last vaccination but my doctor’s signature attesting to it. I happen to know exactly when my last vaccinations were and they are all fully current. But rather than try to get my doctor to sign the form, I just put an ‘X’ through the signature block and hand it back. I’ve never faced a problem for it.

  6. Filioque August 29, 2016 at 12:19 pm #

    It was bad enough that we were treated like criminals in the process of adopting our children. I refuse to continue this treatment in order to volunteer with my own kids. I too have declined this background check nonsense, and none too politely.

  7. Kathea August 29, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

    I have to say as I went through elementary school in the mid-late 80’s, I don’t ever remember parents being in the classroom. I really don’t. The field trips we went on were few and far between due to how poor our school system was and the distance to anything fun. The nearest zoo was 3+ hours away. I’m sure there were parents there but I don’t remember them at any other time.

    I also don’t remember the plethora of parties and such that seem to go on in school requiring all these parents helping out. Both of my parents worked FT. It just wasn’t an option. I don’t even remember them coming to field day.

    If we are so concerned with the education our children are receiving in US schools, then perhaps we cut back some of the extraneous stuff that requires all these extra adults and go back to teaching what needs to be taught.

  8. Sophia August 29, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

    I’m beginning to think schools actually don’t want parents to be involved. Rather than outright ban them from campus, they create a million hoops for parents to jump through in the name of safety.

  9. Workshop August 29, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

    Thus far, my son’s school does not require a background check in order to volunteer.

    I’ve already explained to my wife that should such a thing be required for any school activity in the future, I will not be participating.

    We’ve already received the first fundraiser activity this year (magazines). Since I don’t participate in popular culture, nothing holds any interest for me. I am curious, though: if the school is so desperate for money, why don’t they just train the kids in sales techniques instead of trying to guilt parents into bringing those order forms into work?

    Ah, because guilting parents is far easier than actually teaching the kids something.

  10. J August 29, 2016 at 12:29 pm #

    @Kathea – Wait, sorry I’m getting a little dizzy: I’m used to being told, nonstop, that the biggest problem with American schools is lack of parental involvement in their children’s education. Which is it? Not enough or too much?

  11. J August 29, 2016 at 12:30 pm #

    @Workshop –

    “why don’t they just train the kids in sales techniques instead of trying to guilt parents into bringing those order forms into work?”

    Or, y’know, adequately fund the schools so the kids can be taught actual knowledge and not have to spend time selling overpriced candy bars. That might also be good.

  12. Vicki August 29, 2016 at 12:31 pm #

    I used to volunteer at my kids’ public school, both in the reading program and on field trips, but when the school board implemented a policy whereby I needed a CPIC (background check), I stopped volunteering. I didn’t see why I needed to be treated like a potential criminal, when all I wanted to do was help out my kids’ school. What I would like to see is a change to this policy after the schools are severely hit by a volunteer shortage due to parents not wanting to volunteer under the current circumstances. Unfortunately, what would probably end up happening is the schools will stop offering extra programs and field trips, which means it’s the children who will ultimately suffer.

  13. bluebird of bitterness August 29, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

    How times have changed! When my eldest child (who is now middle aged) attended a small private school near our home, every parent who had a child in the school was REQUIRED to put in a minimum number of “volunteer” (euphemism for unpaid) hours each semester. All of the art and music teachers, athletic coaches, playground monitors, library workers, and so on were actually parents pretending they knew what they were doing. (In fairness, some of them did.) This was how the school kept tuition low and affordable for everyone, and it worked very well. No one had to undergo any kind of child abuse prevention training or criminal background check. Astonishingly, there were no problems of the sort that those abuse prevention training sessions and background checks are allegedly designed to ward off.

  14. Peter August 29, 2016 at 12:36 pm #

    I’m not a parent. An elementary school near my engineering job was working with my employer to find Reading Buddies, so I volunteered. I was matched with a child I met with once a week at lunchtime. We ate lunch and chatted in the library while the rest of the class was in the noisy cafeteria, then the student would read to me for the rest of the hour. (Or we would play board games.) Over 10 years I was matched with 6 or 7 different kids and the last match went the full 5 years he was at that school. Every kid in the school knew me (“that Reading Buddy guy”) and many wished I was their Reading Buddy. I walked the halls unaccompanied and nobody batted an eye. I was part of that school environment for more years than many of the teachers and staff, including principals. After 10 years, the school decided all volunteers need a police background check. I never went back.

  15. Nadine August 29, 2016 at 12:41 pm #

    Hello school county district of scary mary, From the beautifull country of the Netherlands where girls can go to school in hotpants in the summer without being wrapped in a burqa by teachers and parents can still talk to kids not their own about things like puppydogs and flowers without being branded a childmolester and yes!! …home of the happiest kids in the world. Y’all are nuts!

    My worthless contribution. 😉

  16. Katie August 29, 2016 at 12:41 pm #

    I’m required to have a background check every three years to volunteer at my child’s school. Seeing as this is a great example of “guilty until proven innocent” I’ve yet to pay the $17.00 for the honor of proving my innocence. Of course I wonder if I’ll fail the background check and be denied access because I have a license to carry a weapon and therefore I will not freak out if a child pretends his finger (or peanut butter sandwich) is a gun and confuse the situation as an actual threat to the health and safety of all mankind.

  17. BL August 29, 2016 at 12:43 pm #

    “Are your papers in order, comrade?”

    Sheesh!!

  18. Bill August 29, 2016 at 12:43 pm #

    “Mandatory online training”.

    This is a virus which has long infected the corporate world. It exists not to actually teach anything – the multiple-choice tests included in the courses are usually easy to bluff you way through with a little common sense – but to serve as a documented “I told you so” which will perhaps make it legally easier to throw an employee under a bus in the event of an incident.

    Not surprising that it has spread to public schools.

  19. fred schueler August 29, 2016 at 12:49 pm #

    bureaucracy loves “guilty until proven innocent” and we really need constitutional challenges to this in both Canada and the US

  20. JC Bowers August 29, 2016 at 12:51 pm #

    I’m sure the new policies implemented by Montgomery county are related to an incident that happened in Prince George’s county which is a neighboring county and which is implementing similar policies. See article linked below…

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/school-system-adopts-new-policies-after-sexual-abuse-case-roils-community/2016/07/20/5810cf40-4e06-11e6-a7d8-13d06b37f256_story.html

    The “solution” these schools have arrived at does not solve the problem; as Lenore has pointed out, Jerry Sandusky would have passed any background check.

  21. J August 29, 2016 at 12:55 pm #

    @JC Bowers – Right on. I’ve never understood the reach for ‘better training’ in the case of wrongdoing by public servants. If you need ‘special training’ not to indulge in child pornography then there is no hope for you, none at all.

  22. JJ August 29, 2016 at 1:03 pm #

    Knowing Montgomery County to be an extremely wealthy area makes me wonder if this is not so much to protect the kids as to protect the status of the A-list parent volunteers. Another way to separate the haves from the have-nots. The working mom who only has 45-minutes every year to help out won’t think its worth it to do the screening (I’ve done it and you need to take a half day off work to wait in line to be fingerprinted). That way, all the volunteering can be left to the parents who have the time and inclination to both jump through the screening hoops and the time and inclination to be at school volunteering on a weekly or daily basis.

  23. Laura August 29, 2016 at 1:17 pm #

    A parent volunteer is not a mandatory reporter (meaning they are not bound by their occupational duty to report suspected abuse), therefore, this training for volunteers is overkill and wholly unnecessary.

  24. Beanie August 29, 2016 at 1:24 pm #

    Sophia, yes. I believe that it is no accident that parents are being pushed farther and farther away from the schools. The belief that parents get in the way of children’s education/plans of the administration is entrenched. I saw the look of fear on the administrators’ faces when I scheduled a PTA meeting for parents to ask questions about what’s going on at school. THREE administrators showed up, I assume for damage control.

    I submit to the biannual background check and also am run through the sex offender registry each time I visit my children’s school. I know at least one administrator would have been happy if I’d stopped turning up. But there I was, helping the teachers, sneaking in sugary treats, and causing a ruckus with the district administrators when necessary. No way will I stay out. At our school, parents are not privy to the goings-on. The way to find out what is actually happening is getting to know the teachers.

    I don’t really know what to do. I am frustrated with our school system beyond belief. It’s all about technology and “safety.” The changes in the five years since my son started kindergarten are amazing, and saddening.

  25. lollipoplover August 29, 2016 at 1:58 pm #

    Our school now requires mandatory background checks for all volunteers, even party parents.
    I’ve volunteered at this school for almost 10 years yet if I don’t get the necessary vetting, I’m not allowed in school.

    Guess what?
    They just lost a great veteran volunteer.
    Why do we allow our precious education funding to profit background check companies?!
    None of this will make our children safer. Keeping parents out of schools with bureaucratic nonsense will destroy the very community fiber that makes schools great for young children. There are already too few volunteers, now there will be even less.

    Can we take the absurd amount of money it costs to check all of these parent volunteers and put it into WORKING family/child support programs that identify and help at-risk families? Our current system is underfunded, understaffed, and broken. Child abuse happens to children every day, mostly in their own homes at the hands of their own parents, most who would pass these background checks.

    Stand up and speak up to your local school administration and let them know they’re wasting our time and money! Tell them you won’t be part of this and let them know what they are losing.

  26. Alanna August 29, 2016 at 2:28 pm #

    I’ve been substitute teaching in a particular school district for years and all of a sudden I had to get fingerprinted. And who do you think had to pay thirty five dollars for it? Me!

    One thing that boggles my mind was that when I worked for a company two years ago as an assessment administrator for the National Assessment of Educational Progress, I had to be fingerprinted, too, but I was able to do it at a local police department that charged me only six dollars and the company reimbursed me. When I went in for the fingerprinting for the substitute teaching I had to go to this special business that seemed to specialize in security checks, fingerprints and TSA stuff. And why the huge difference in price?

    When I was there, there was a couple there who was trying to arrange for the expedited service through the TSA line at the airport. They couldn’t do it because they didn’t have an appointment. Good thing I made an appointment for the fingerprinting.

  27. Bill Dyszel August 29, 2016 at 2:30 pm #

    I remember being at a New York City arts in education conference some years back, and the representative from the Metropolitan Opera asked if they were able to bring Placido Domingo to a New York Public School classroom, would he have to be fingerprinted. The answer was yes, they’d want the world’s most famous opera singer to be finger printed before allowing him through the doors of a public school.

  28. Jen August 29, 2016 at 2:51 pm #

    Just read the new school handbook for this year. Our school has several in-school assemblies during the year — presentation of good citizenship awards, academic achievements, veterans day assembly, thanksgiving dinner for seniors — the community is invited (it’s even handbook worthy). The stipulation is that guests should check in at the office — but having been to some of these events, I have not seen this check-in policy enforced. I would imagine, one unknown person walking around the halls would be suspicious, a bunch of people looking for a classroom or the cafeteria would not. And, at least for now, our school doesn’t do background checks for chaperones — I’ve chaperoned the ski program for 5 years now and to my knowledge, there is no place on the intake form that even asks if the volunteer knows how to ski (maybe there should be!). I’m sure that this will all change in the future, but for now, I’m happy our school seems to exercise some common sense.

  29. Andrea August 29, 2016 at 2:55 pm #

    Background checks for this type of thing are dumb, and sell the idea that if someone has a criminal violation in their past they are a bad person and a threat to everyone, especially our children. What if a background check comes back for parent who had a drug and theft conviction 15 years ago when they were dumb and in college, but they have since married, had children, started and run a successful business? Are they banned from volunteering?

    It seems like in America = committing a crime means we get to treat you as lesser than and discardable goods. It’s taking us down a very dangerous path when our legal and penal code is as extensive as ours is. I would wager that everyone on this post has committed a crime at some point this year, and most probably didn’t even know it.

    I’ve never been arrested and my background check would come back clean, but I refuse to buy into this nonsense. If volunteering requires me to do anything other than show up (or provide my contact information if it is a more than one-time thing), then I don’t bother. I’ve got other things I can do with my time than subject myself to this nonsense system.

    I hate to sound like that paranoid person in the corner of the room, but I’ll be damned if 1984 isn’t closer than we think.

  30. BL August 29, 2016 at 3:18 pm #

    “I remember being at a New York City arts in education conference some years back, and the representative from the Metropolitan Opera asked if they were able to bring Placido Domingo to a New York Public School classroom, would he have to be fingerprinted. The answer was yes, they’d want the world’s most famous opera singer to be finger printed before allowing him through the doors of a public school.”

    So any schoolteachers who want to attend an opera should be fingerprinted.

    (Yeah, as if a schoolteacher would ever attend an opera …)

  31. SKL August 29, 2016 at 3:43 pm #

    Yeah, in scouts, you aren’t allowed to volunteer to work with the kids unless you do all sorts of things that are supposed to prevent child abuse. Strange and sad. It would be different if this actually prevented problems, but I’m not so sure it does.

    I think that even if someone has made a mistake in the past, it is probably still better on a macro basis to have that person active in the community. Policies that make people hide in their homes and take their kids out of activities are not better IMO. Kids who are most at risk should be out in the community where they can see how normal people behave, they can talk to someone if they need to, and others can notice if something isn’t right. When you look at the cases of kids most failed by adults, these kids have been isolated and thus denied help. Policies that isolate families are generally bad.

  32. Michelle August 29, 2016 at 3:54 pm #

    This requirement, along with a host of ridiculous rules regarding interactions with children, is already in place in my church. Which is why I went from being the lady who runs the whole nursery, to never ever ever volunteering with the children. Even helping out occasionally would have required continual education and certification in “child abuse awareness.

  33. lollipoplover August 29, 2016 at 3:55 pm #

    “If we are so concerned with the education our children are receiving in US schools, then perhaps we cut back some of the extraneous stuff that requires all these extra adults and go back to teaching what needs to be taught.”

    AMEN.

    The older my kids get and the wiser I become as a parent, the less I want to be a part of the more is better extracurricular school activities and volunteer opportunities at schools. More is more.

    Those “Celebrate Education Week” activities asking for parents to attend drive me nuts. You really need me to take time off work to help them glue strips of paper into a pumpkin? You know how I celebrate education? I make sure my children are up and out the door with a good breakfast and hopefully all of the tools they need for a day at school. I make sure they are doing their homework and help them get supplies for the ridiculous amount of projects assigned each year. Do we really need them to dress as Nicholaus Copernicus go give a speech? But we make one, and damnit if that kid isn’t a fine looking 14th Century astronomer.

    Why do we need so many parents for school parties?
    How hard is it to put some music on, play some games (kid led), and eat pretzels and water?
    School trips that want 1 to 4 parent to student ratios?
    Are kids today just friskier and less trustworthy vs. previous generations that didn’t require such high level supervision?

    My parents never volunteered to go on any of these trips nor were they asked to do so. They only came into school when something was wrong (sick kid) or someone got in trouble (my brother, usually). I do question if many of these activities are more for the social lives of the parents and less for the education of our children.

  34. Avin August 29, 2016 at 4:20 pm #

    Unfortunately, this article isn’t surprising to me at all. My son attends 3rd grade at a private Catholic elementary school here in New Orleans. Since pre-k if we’ve wanted to help out in the classroom or chaperone a field trip we’ve had to submit to the whole background check/fingerprinting thing. Like this article mentioned, we also have to attend a religious-based anti abuse class called “Safe Environment Training” .
    We do it every three years so we can go on the occasional field trip, but your post just alerted me to the fact that this isn’t common practice everywhere these days. I know private schools are notorious for instilling overly cautious policies, but I attended a private Catholic school pre-k-12 and my parents never had to do anything like this. It makes me wonder when the tipping point was?

  35. Kaaren Sipes August 29, 2016 at 4:43 pm #

    I went through with the fingerprinting, but stopped volunteering at my children’s elementary school last year. First the district installed twelve foot high security fencing around the entire school while somehow never getting around to building the new multi purpose room that was part of the most recent parcel tax. Then they instituted a new security policy that each parent had to feed their driver’s license into a reader, which would scan it and print out a specialized name tag bearing your driver’s license photo. This at a school where I had volunteered for eleven years over three different kids, where I have worked on the PTA and site council and where I knew the secretaries presiding over this contraption, as well as most of the teachers!

    The impersonal implication that I might still be a predator was more than I was willing to face. I stopped volunteering for anything after that.

    Interestingly, the only incident that I have observed at our school arose through a volunteer with mental health issues, but no background check. When I asked our school principal what authorities will be checking the fingerprints, and what past offenses they might catch, she didn’t even know. She just shrugged it off as a district requirement.

    Meanwhile, my husband, a board-certified pediatrician, wasn’t allowed to volunteer even for school parties because he hadn’t been fingerprinted. Never mind that he has been fingerprinted for his medical license, never mind that he has that child abuse training schools seem to seek in lay parents who can’t understand what they might be seeing, if he isn’t fingerprinted through the district he is not safe.

  36. Cedric August 29, 2016 at 4:46 pm #

    “I wonder what would happen if you just got the time and place of these volunteer gigs, told the teacher you’d ‘be sure’ to do the mandatory training and then just . . . didn’t. Just didn’t go through it, just showed up and helped without bothering with the stupid rigmarole.”

    Doubtful in many schools I would suspect. My kids’ elementary school requires us to check in at the office, and we have to actually type our name into a computer that runs it against ‘something’ (they have never been clear exactly what, not due in any way to my not asking, several times, up through the district level). Among other things it flags those parents that have the requisite ‘whatevers’ for volunteering.

  37. JulieC August 29, 2016 at 5:02 pm #

    But, but its for the children! Don’t you care about your children? My God, what kind of monster are you? Do you WANT your kid to be molested? Don’t you want to protect the children?

    LOL.

    Do a “Bad Moms” here and just say screw it. Don’t volunteer at all.

  38. marie August 29, 2016 at 5:03 pm #

    SKL said:
    I think that even if someone has made a mistake in the past, it is probably still better on a macro basis to have that person active in the community. Policies that make people hide in their homes and take their kids out of activities are not better IMO. Kids who are most at risk should be out in the community where they can see how normal people behave, they can talk to someone if they need to, and others can notice if something isn’t right. When you look at the cases of kids most failed by adults, these kids have been isolated and thus denied help. Policies that isolate families are generally bad.

    I don’t know how to say how much I love this comment, SKL. Not just for the kindness in it but for its solid good sense.

  39. Donald Christensen August 29, 2016 at 5:10 pm #

    I don’t believe this is a push to increase tattletaling on parents. I think this new regulation is driven from the insurance company. I think it’s more of the ever increasing insurance policy restrictions. I don’t even believe that in the insurance eyes, that they believe that, ‘nothing is safe enough’. I think this is more of a ‘rubber stamp’. They have to be doing something-anything. Whether or not it is logical or deeply insulting is irrelevant.

    They have a department that are unable to stop reducing risks. The insurance isn’t even in control of their own business! They are unable to stop insulting people like this. Of course people will stop volunteering and this will ‘hurt the school’. However it will reward the insurance company.

    BTW what is the name of the school’s insurance? I think name and shame is what’s needed.

  40. Avin August 29, 2016 at 6:03 pm #

    Forgive me as this is rather unrelated, but this article of interest just showed up in my news feed. On the bright side the fugitive was arrested and the children are safe. Also, the article re-enforces the truth that most abductions are not perpetrated by strangers to the children. In this case it seems that the mother took her kids when she went on the run with the offender, probably her boyfriend. Terrible judgement call on the mom’s part to be sure—It’s just unfortunate that the headline is rather misleading too. It makes it sound as if the sex-offender fugitive snatched four random kids in Cali and took them on some perverse road trip.

    http://www.wdsu.com/news/local-news/new-orleans/louisiana-state-police-arrest-wanted-california-sex-offender-find-4-missing-children/41422754?src=app

    No wonder our schools and many parents are so on edge given the way these stories are manipulated in the media.

  41. Margot August 29, 2016 at 6:20 pm #

    Yawn! Yes, pretty similar in Australia. I teach ethics in primary school as a volunteer. Not only do I need a background check, but I have to repeat the Child protection training module every time they update it. Which is downright tedious, since in my day job, I AM a child protection worker so I’m fairly confident I could write the module. (No exemptions, ever, ever!) On the upside though, once parent volunteers have done training, they are very unlikey to report to CPS a child whose hair isn’t brushed or who skipped breakfast.

  42. Buffy August 29, 2016 at 6:30 pm #

    Do these schools ever tell the parents what kind of “background” they’re opposed to? Is it just crimes against children, or is it any crime/arrest/conviction or charge?

  43. Kathy August 29, 2016 at 7:07 pm #

    Our school district in Texas has done background checks for volunteers for over 25 years.

    The year preceding the change the district’s Volunteer of the Year was a married couple. The dad volunteered as a coach, the mom volunteered making copies and helping on the playground and both volunteered in classrooms at parties and listening to kids read, etc.

    So why the change? Well, mom carried a knife in her boot every day and was known to slash a person or two when she got angry or got into a fight with dad and dad had a rap sheet as long as his arm…drugs including drug trafficking and use, child abuse (his own kids), grand theft, money laundering, along with your garden variety bad checks and gun violence.

    I had volunteered in the copy room with mom in a former school. Dad was in prison that year so he wasn’t volunteering with her. I knew their background as we had children in the same class and lived in the same general neighborhood. I heard other parents and teachers talk about them, their background, and watched their kids go in and out of In-School Suspension and HomeBased assignments. I am reasonably certain Admin knew about their background since teachers did. The next school year we moved our kids to different schools. Their kids went to a brand new school due to a boundary change so, although we heard about them from time to time, we didn’t see them anymore.

    That next May I was startled to see them on the front page of the local paper as Volunteers of the Year for the new school. A few days later I saw a small comment about them being stripped of their title and then a few weeks later we had a new volunteer application, which included background checks, for the upcoming school year.

    After nearly 30 years as a school volunteer I know this family is not the norm but it *does* (and *can*) happen and I do see why school districts are doing background checks on volunteers even if they are only there for a short party.

  44. Jessica August 29, 2016 at 8:03 pm #

    Nadine–
    I promise, this is largely an Internet problem. I volunteer at a school here in Connecticut (like the Reading Buddies someone mentioned) and all they asked for is my name. It’s through the United Way.

    All of these articles are exactly the same as the “one time, this one kid got kidnapped” articles. “One time, this one school did something crazy.”

  45. Forrest August 29, 2016 at 8:24 pm #

    The Catholic school here in town does this. So far, the public schools haven’t followed suit.

  46. Kim J. August 29, 2016 at 9:22 pm #

    We had to fill out a form which allowed the background check agency to interview neighbors and bosses, as well as look into our “lifestyle.” They took our social security numbers. This is needed for any field trip driving, although I think it won’t be required for just coming in to read in the classroom. My husband refused and isn’t volunteering this year, as are some of the other parents I know. What a mess.

  47. James Pollock August 29, 2016 at 9:24 pm #

    If you dig deeper, I suspect you’ll find that someone who offers background checks at a nice markup lobbied for the background check requirement.

    As to the other, it’s kind of hard to condemn it without knowing what’s in it. For example:
    “Kid’s hair isn’t combed? Doesn’t have the right clothes? Hungry because s/he skipped breakfast? Call CPS!”
    might be exactly the sort of thing the online training FIXES, by saying that calling CPS for uncombed hair or mismatched clothes wastes resources that are needed by children who are actually abused. Obviously, I don’t know what’s actually in the training any more than you do, but I think my assumption is more reasonable.

    If these folks are mandatory reporters (or even if they aren’t, but think they are), getting them some training about what is, and what is not, evidence of child abuse just seems like a really, really good idea.

  48. Donald Christensen August 29, 2016 at 9:52 pm #

    “If you dig deeper, I suspect you’ll find that someone who offers background checks at a nice markup lobbied for the background check requirement”.

    James and I agree! Wonders never cease!

    The Safety Industrial Complex has the top priority to create work, implement more regulations, conduct training, and sell safety gear. I think there is more to this story than ‘the big bad school board’.

    It’s almost a waste of time to contemplate whether or not this new law is logical or if it’s security theater. Actually, it’s not a waste of time. However I don’t want it to distract us away from the real problem. The Safety Industrial Complex is holding the country for ransom!

  49. JL August 29, 2016 at 10:28 pm #

    Oh, this is nothing. Not only do our local schools require parents to pay for background checks before they are allowed the privilege of volunteering in their child’s school, the schools now have a system where EVERY VISITOR must show an ID and be checked to make sure they aren’t in the sex offender database. They justified the tens of thousands they spent on it by saying that once, in the past five years, a roofing contractor had an employee listed on the database. They didn’t think it through before they installed the system, because the visitor has to go inside the building to show the ID.

  50. Renee Anne August 29, 2016 at 10:51 pm #

    This drives me nuts. In order for either Husband or I to volunteer at school, including field trips or any other instance where we could be with the children (classroom visits, art or music programs or extra curricular things), we have to be fingerprinted. I’m doing it because we are required to have 30 hours/year per family of “volunteer” work for the school and I don’t know how all those hours are going to be done. Husband, however, cannot be fingerprinted (military), which is going to not only severely limit how much of the volunteer work he can do, but is also going to limit his ability to go on field trips. I don’t ever want either of my boys to think that daddy never wanted to go….but I cannot get anywhere with the school district about how to proceed. Obviously the military has cleared him so I don’t know why they just won’t accept that…but he’s basically not allowed and that breaks my heart for our boys.

    I understand why they do it. We live in a large (HUGE) urban area where people are constantly moving in and out, circumstances change left and right…but, really, you have no policies in place for what to do in the odd event? Really? I’m so frustrated that I’m not sure what to do anymore.

  51. Beth S August 29, 2016 at 11:07 pm #

    @J: The problem with parental involvement in school is that the teachers and admins don’t want parents in the everyday business of the life of the school, they really want parents to be involved with their individual kids’ school work and to be guided for their kids’ social lives so if there is a problem they have someone responsive to help support at home what they are working on at school–both academically and socially. Somehow this turned into endless bake sales and volunteer slots.

  52. Crystal Kupper August 29, 2016 at 11:58 pm #

    My son’s American school in Europe required background checks (which is ridiculous, because I live on a military base, which requires about the most extensive background check you can imagine!) even for school field trips. I told the teacher thanks but no thanks, since it required hopping around to multiple security forces offices and was a waste of my time. She said, “Well, I can’t stop you from ‘coincidentally’ being at the museum at the same time….” She got it, in other words. Too bad other educators don’t.

  53. J August 30, 2016 at 12:27 am #

    I missed out on an awesome job last month because Orientation ended before my fingerprint check and BCI cleared. Orientation lasted an entire month and I was fingerprinted about ten days before it started.

    If one hasn’t lived in my Midwestern state for at least five consecutive years good luck on getting a background check completed in fewer than five weeks.

    I hate it here.

  54. sexhysteria August 30, 2016 at 2:03 am #

    I suspect that in many cases schools are merely terrified of damage suits and false accusations if volunteers didn’t undergo clearance and bogus “training” to show the school’s conscientiousness (i.e. politically correct hysteria).

  55. Mike in Sweden August 30, 2016 at 5:40 am #

    So much for parental involvement…

    Although, my wife and I are leaders in an outdoors association similar to the Boy/Girl Scouts, and his year we’re being asked to order a document from the government showing that we have clean criminal records. This doesn’t involve anything more than downloading and mailing in a form, but some of the other leaders are annoyed, not for privacy reasons, but because they have to do paperwork!

  56. SteveS August 30, 2016 at 8:06 am #

    The child abuse training seems a bit overboard and this is the first I have heard about it for school volunteers. I am not aware of any districts around me that have gone this route. It would seem to create more problems, in that you would get a situation where you have a group of people with minimal training “assessing” potential abuse. I’d think you would get a fair number of false accusations.

    As for background checks, I would be interested to see how many schools are really losing volunteers. I’d suspect this number is pretty low. Background checks are everywhere. People undergo them for employment. People undergo them when they want to volunteer at church. People undergo them to get a CPL. We aren’t going to be getting rid of them anytime soon and it is probably too late to even entertain the possibility.

    As for why, I’d say that it is probably simple risk management. In my state, the checks are done by the state and are free for schools and non-profit groups. It is standard practice to do a check. If something were to happen and the group/school didn’t do a check, they could be exposing themselves to a great deal of liability.

  57. SteveS August 30, 2016 at 8:16 am #

    I would also note that background checks in Michigan are pretty easy and quick. As I said, they are free to schools and non-profits. They typically take a few days. This probably makes them more palatable to most people.

  58. BL August 30, 2016 at 8:45 am #

    @SteveS
    “We aren’t going to be getting rid of them anytime soon and it is probably too late to even entertain the possibility.”

    You could have said the same thing about the 55 mph speed limit.

    And Prohibition.

    And slavery.

  59. SteveS August 30, 2016 at 9:11 am #

    Which is why I said probably, instead of undoubtably or something similar.

    Thise things that you mentioned didn’t enjoy the same broad based support that background checks seem to enjoy.

  60. James Pollock August 30, 2016 at 9:25 am #

    ” It would seem to create more problems, in that you would get a situation where you have a group of people with minimal training “assessing” potential abuse. I’d think you would get a fair number of false accusations. ”

    Except… you already have these people assessing “potential abuse”, and at present, they have no training at all.

  61. lollipoplover August 30, 2016 at 10:02 am #

    “I promise, this is largely an Internet problem. I volunteer at a school here in Connecticut (like the Reading Buddies someone mentioned) and all they asked for is my name. It’s through the United Way.

    All of these articles are exactly the same as the “one time, this one kid got kidnapped” articles. “One time, this one school did something crazy.”

    Not just an internet problem:

    http://www.keepkidssafe.pa.gov/clearances/index.htm

    So all school volunteers need clearances…to volunteer at their own child’s school in the state of Pennsylvania, public or private.

    I used to be like you and thought this wouldn’t happen to us. It did, and our school has to follow this as mandated by the state. I truly wonder if our legislators who pass these laws don’t realize that these checks will keep out more good people than bad, and the best way to know the parents and families of the children in the community is to meet them and welcome them into our school communities.

  62. BL August 30, 2016 at 10:17 am #

    @lollipoplover
    “So all school volunteers need clearances…to volunteer at their own child’s school in the state of Pennsylvania, public or private.

    … the best way to know the parents and families of the children in the community is to meet them and welcome them into our school communities.”

    I live in rural Pennsylvania, and they’re doing this crap here in small communities where everyone knows everyone and is related.

    I think I’ll ask my sister for proof of identity next time I see her (probably this week). You can’t be too careful.

  63. ChicagoDad August 30, 2016 at 10:25 am #

    In addition to background checks and whatnot, I attended a 3-hour child abuse prevention training session so I could volunteer at the kids’ school to do things like be a lunch monitor or chaperone field trips. The training was fine, and not too inconvenient really. Really nice people at the session too.

    A part of the training session was a small group discussion with other parents at my table where we were supposed to discuss some of the things we learned. I remember saying to the other parents at my table something like, “These points about spotting and preventing individual cases of child abuse are helpful, but let’s talk about the institutions and practices that create an environment where abuse is more likely to happen.” I continued by saying something along the lines of, “It seems like institutions that have a problem with abuse are places where there is no transparency, where there is no way to hold authority figures accountable, where parents’ concerns are disregarded, where there is a real barrier between the parents and the classrooms, and parents and staff are sent the message, ‘Do what you are told and don’t question it’.” I finished by saying, “Doesn’t it make sense for us to learn to spot the kinds of places and practices that create an environment that abusers are attracted to? Where their abuse is sheltered from view and accountability?” I got blank stares from the other parents.

    When the message is “Look for suspicious activity and report it to authorities” people don’t like it when you say that the authorities might be part of the problem. Oh well. I got my certificate anyway.

  64. SteveS August 30, 2016 at 10:39 am #

    James, my concern is that they will now be actively looking for abuse or trying to find it where it is not. It is like when psychology undergrads see everyone as mentally ill when they first start learning about symptoms and diagnoses.

    Regardless, is this really needed?

  65. lollipoplover August 30, 2016 at 10:40 am #

    @BL-

    Yes, I’ve lived in the same town for 15 years, know almost everyone in my neighborhood, coach youth sports, and have volunteered in school for 10 years! But without a background check, I am not welcome.
    It’s insulting.

    It infuriates me that the State of Pennsylvania spends our educational budget on these background checks for parents. We have no air conditioning or bus service at our school (no budget). I am not complaining about no air or bus, but why waste our money on security theater? Put the money towards the family court system if you want to really impact child abuse. Keeping kids from their own parents (or other parents) in the classroom is nonsense.

  66. MS August 30, 2016 at 12:12 pm #

    http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/08/30/491810422/a-new-school-year-brings-renewed-focus-on-attendance?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20160830.
    I wonder if any of the parents in this article need fingerprinted or background checks. It doesn’t say, but it seems the schools are just happy to get the parents to participate.
    This seems to be a very socio economic problem….

  67. Beth August 30, 2016 at 1:23 pm #

    “All of these articles are exactly the same as the “one time, this one kid got kidnapped” articles. “One time, this one school did something crazy.””

    Except for all the people posting here whose schools are doing the very same thing. Did you happen to read anyone else’s comments?

  68. Gina Badalaty August 30, 2016 at 2:12 pm #

    Not only is that terrible paranoia, what will happen is that field trips, outings and other events that require volunteers will disappear. Additionally, only the few that have the training (and thus, the time and money for it), will be the “go to” chaperones, and inevitably form a click, giving them unprecedented power. (I actually saw something like that play out at my own school for different reasons.) Bad idea all around and the kids will pay the price for it.

  69. nathaniel August 30, 2016 at 3:49 pm #

    I am often curious with these background check requirements, has anyone ever thought about how you would actually adjudicate the results? So now you know I have a conviction for shoplifting, what does that exactly mean in terms of being able to volunteer? I would doubt very few of these districts have explicit guidelines of what type of conviction is disqualifying and if they do, how does it compare to the the potential criminal background of the teachers themselves.

  70. EricS August 30, 2016 at 3:54 pm #

    Perhaps parents need to stop involving their kids in everything and anything. Just let them be kids. Let them decide what they want to do. And remember, this is easier if you start them on the right path at a very young age.

  71. Mel August 30, 2016 at 4:03 pm #

    Seattle Public does a similar thing. Paperwork, copies of IDs, background checks, adult sexual misconduct training class. This is for all volunteers and must be done every school year by October.

    It’s ridiculous.

  72. Juluho August 30, 2016 at 4:39 pm #

    Apparently this is going on in PA too, from what I’ve heard from friends.
    Besides all the great points you’ve made, I’d add that many schools suffering budget cuts and cutting back on ‘part time workers’ really depend on volunteers. PTO/PTAS are providing funds for things that are *needed* not necessarily ‘fun’ things, and parent volunteers are running libraries, etc. Here in GA, many of the substitute teachers are parents (or were) and they’re almost volunteers, they don’t get paid very much!

  73. Donna August 30, 2016 at 5:28 pm #

    “Wait, sorry I’m getting a little dizzy: I’m used to being told, nonstop, that the biggest problem with American schools is lack of parental involvement in their children’s education. Which is it? Not enough or too much?”

    You, and most of the rest of America, are confusing parental involvement in their children’s education and parental involvement in their children’s schooling. Kids don’t need parents to volunteer at their school. Kids need parents who provide a home environment that is conducive to educational success.

    I can’t remember a single parent volunteer in the classroom during my entire 13 years of sub-college education in the 70s and 80s. Not one. Not for parties. Not for special activities. Not for field trips. Parents didn’t come to field day or anything else that went on during the day either. The once or twice a year school play or concert and parent/teacher conferences were the extent of parent presence in school unless there was a problem.

  74. Warren August 30, 2016 at 5:58 pm #

    Really, they use parent volunteers for substitute teachers in the states? That’s insane.

  75. SteveS August 30, 2016 at 7:45 pm #

    Warren, I think that is pretty rare. I have never seen it.

    As for people stopping volunteering, I don’t think that will happen unless it gets especially expensive or difficult. If I had to guess, I have probably undergone 30+ background checks, with most being fairly brief.

  76. Mom in MoCo August 30, 2016 at 8:16 pm #

    It’s an online training module, took me just over 30 minutes to complete and was well done. Maybe if you took the training that it’s not telling parents to call CPs for every little thing, and to look for multiple things in combination. But then if that’s really there, yeah, report…but is that really a problem? You’re worried someone might notice and get help for the kid with multiple indications they could be neglected? Free range parenting should be about letting kids be able to develop independence not about wanting other adults to ignore children who really need help.

  77. Mom in MoCo August 30, 2016 at 8:26 pm #

    One other thing — the only volunteer role I’ve seen that required more than the online training (the background checks and fingerprinting) is if you would like to be a chaperone on an overnight field trip. Wow, a limited policy that makes sense to protect kids without restricting volunteer involvement in schools! Where did I learn that? Oh yeah, in the online training module.

  78. Mom in MoCo August 30, 2016 at 8:36 pm #

    Another thing covered in the training that you should LOVE – it explicitly talked about the clarification to Maryland Law that children can legally walk to and from school unsupervised, even under the age of 8 and that CPS or the police should not be called unless they are in imminent danger. The more parents who take the training, the fewer “concerned citizens” to be reporting children walking alone!

  79. James Pollock August 30, 2016 at 8:54 pm #

    “James, my concern is that they will now be actively looking for abuse or trying to find it where it is not.”

    Steve, my concern is that they (well, some of “they”) are already doing this.

    “It is like when psychology undergrads see everyone as mentally ill when they first start learning about symptoms and diagnoses.”

    Or is it like later on, when psychology majors are taught how to tell that they (nor anybody else they know) do not have real, previously undetected symptoms.

  80. Ravin August 30, 2016 at 8:55 pm #

    My daughter’s public school district-run homeschool enrichment program has new 12 foot fences that give the campus a prison yard air. I had to sign a special form for them to let my 7th grader walk off campus to catch public transit home after her classes instead of making her stand in a pickup queue like the kindergarteners. No children of any age are allowed on the playground equipment, including before or after school, unless there is adult supervision. And while in previous years that my daughter attended this program, students are no longer allowed to go use the school library before school, after school, or during lunch. She used to be able to go during lunch. The same set of rules apply to 8th graders as to Kindergarteners. Thus, the only students who can use the library are ones whose parents have time to escort them, and the students in the primary classes for whom “library” is a scheduled activity.

    Fortunately, she can still go to the Public library “unsupervised”!

  81. Warren August 30, 2016 at 10:08 pm #

    Mom in MoCo

    The general and valid complaint is that background checks and fingerprints were already too much and useless. Now they are adding in more crap.

    And yes here the school pays for the check but you do not get paid for the time off work to get the check done. Which for most people comes to a full days pay.

    I have gone through some of the most rigorous security checks including being printed for my job. These checks allow me into secure areas of international airports, military bases, nuclear facilities and the like. Only had to do it once and have it for life or until I do something that gets it revoked. Yet I have to redo one every year for the school. So I don’t officially volunteer.
    I still use my service truck regularly to help with maintenance issues, inflation of sports balls and the annual strong man competition at the fall fair. Still the champ by the way. The principal just lies to any busy body that thinks of questioning my clearance. I’m not the only one she does this with.

    And her and I have discussed this issue and the background check has been negatively affecting volunteer numbers. Many people cannot afford the time off.

    Now I pay my people but they are on the road anyway so they get it done more conveniently. I even pay them for one day a year for going on a school outing. That way they do not have to dip into vacation time. As far as we know no other company does this.

    We try to make helping out at your kid’s school easier. But the schools are trying to make it more difficult.

  82. Bella August 30, 2016 at 10:37 pm #

    I have done the online child abuse recognition training required by my church before doing youth ministry. You know what it teaches? That sexual abuse is usually perpetrated by family members or by the Sandusky-like creeps who patiently groom children. I don’t recall it ever mentioning that a parent providing cupcakes once a year was potentially going to do something lewd in a 45-minute event. It was actually really helpful in understanding what really happens in the real sexual abuse situations. If one were a Sandusky-like creep, it could also be viewed as providing helpful tips on how to to proceed.
    By the way, my husband had to have two background checks (State Police and FBI) because he supervises the acolytes (the volunteer background checks are required by the State of Pennsylvania due to the real Sandusky-creep). My husband is never alone with any of the acolytes, so exactly how those background checks protect either the acolytes or the church is mystifying.

  83. SteveS August 31, 2016 at 8:21 am #

    Or is it like later on, when psychology majors are taught how to tell that they (nor anybody else they know) do not have real, previously undetected symptoms.

    Except this isn’t really a thing. It has been many years since I was an undergrad, but at that time, students in psychology, social work, and similar fields, were instructed on how to use the DSM-IIIR. They were told, somewhat jokingly, to not diagnose their friends or selves, because there would be a tendency to see mental illness where there wasn’t. Eventually, experience and additional training would help them to be able to pick out actual illnesses.

    As for this program, I could well be wrong. Maybe a 30 minute video can turn an otherwise uncaring, oblivious parent into a person that helps a child get out of an abusive situation.

  84. James Pollock August 31, 2016 at 9:33 am #

    “Except this isn’t really a thing.”

    Really? Let’s just see what you have to say just two sentences later…

    “They were told, somewhat jokingly, to not diagnose their friends or selves, because there would be a tendency to see mental illness where there wasn’t.”

    So… I guess it IS a thing, then. (Both of my parents were psychology majors).

  85. SteveS August 31, 2016 at 2:27 pm #

    Oops. James, I should have read it closer. I thought you were saying something different. Disregard what I said.

  86. EB August 31, 2016 at 5:41 pm #

    I’ll second the comment by Brooks. School Board attorneys are at the bottom of this, and beyond that, it’s our very litigious society at large. What a shame. I will still volunteer, but fortunately the mandated on-line training in recognizing child abuse (how effective could that really be, anyway????) does not exist here.

  87. Uncle Albeit's Nephew August 31, 2016 at 6:39 pm #

    Just a background check? Just saw on the TV news today that ANYONE who enters school property in Charlottesville VA has to have his ID scanned and checked against the sex offender registry. Even if it’s just to pick up his kid. Every time.

  88. JT September 1, 2016 at 8:14 am #

    @J ” told the teacher you’d ‘be sure’ to do the mandatory training and then just . . . didn’t.”

    You’d lose credibility. I don’t lie. We shouldn’t unless really forced to. Lying to be able to volunteer is a terrible idea.

  89. Beth September 1, 2016 at 9:01 am #

    The point isn’t how easy this is, or how little time it takes to fill out the form, or how many other businesses require background checks. To me, it’s “what disqualifies me and who has access to it?” Maybe I got a ticket for marijuana possession back in the day, or a DUI, am I unable now to attend a class party? Maybe there IS something in my background that I just don’t want the school board or staff to know about, which doesn’t affect my ability to parent or hand a kid a cupcake.

    And remember, the school is happy to send my kid home to me at the end of the day, clear background check or not.

  90. Red September 1, 2016 at 11:15 am #

    I’ve skimmed the responses below, and the other thing I haven’t seen pointed out is that the cheap background checks that the school districts does are just about worthless.

    I have to have background checks done regularly as part of my job. What my job does is an extensive and expensive background check, which actually will turn up any dirt including years old speeding tickets.

    I’ve also had the school background check done. It’s the $25 dollar version where the state police simply look in their database and tell the school if they can find you have any criminal record IN THE STATE. It explicitly states multiple times on the form that criminal offenses committed in other states will not be found by this background check.

    The first time I had this background check done, I’d lived in the state for about four weeks. Even a sexual offender with mandatory registration who moved to the state could get around it for at least one year–move, enroll your kid, do the school background check and have it be clear, then do your mandatory registration.

  91. BL September 1, 2016 at 12:17 pm #

    @Red
    ” It’s the $25 dollar version where the state police simply look in their database and tell the school if they can find you have any criminal record IN THE STATE. It explicitly states multiple times on the form that criminal offenses committed in other states will not be found by this background check”

    I didn’t know the details, but I’d have been shocked to learn if it was anything more than security theater.

  92. Katie September 1, 2016 at 4:28 pm #

    Home schooling sounds better all the time.

    Someone earlier commented it’s “like they don’t want the parents in the classroom”. With some of the parents in the DC area, I can’t say I blame them. The problem is some of these parents, they aren’t there to help they are there to helicopter over their child and try to win favors for their child. these people are more of a headache than help. Unfortunately, these though won’t be the parents persuaded not to help due to ridiculous regulations; instead they will loose the people looking truly to volunteer.

  93. Dasy2k1 September 2, 2016 at 11:09 am #

    I like how here in the UK it is actually illegal to run a background check on people unless the nature of their work or volenteer work falls under the restricted category that makes a background check mandatory….
    In the case of volunteering in a school provided you are never unaccompanied and are not volunteering more than 3 times per month (or on a residential trip) then you don’t need a background check (and it would be illegal for the school to subject you to one)

  94. Another Katie September 4, 2016 at 10:20 am #

    Our Girl Scout council requires that for a parent to accompany a troop to activities or events the parent has to become a council-approved adult. It’s basically becoming an adult member and then going through the criminal/sex offender registry background check and reference process that’s required of all volunteers. Even then, adults are not allowed to be alone in a room with scouts; two approved adults have to be present at all times.

    Yes, to go with our own 5 year old and her troop on a hike with 15 other scouts and their parents required that I pay $35 a year to be an adult member and then submit to a background check and ask several people to provide personal references. For the younger ages (Daisies and Brownies) many events REQUIRE that a parent accompanies the scout, meaning that pretty much every scout has to have at least one parent go through the process above or they just can’t participate in those events. I very quickly went through the process and will maintain an adult membership for as long as our daughter participates in scouting, just because it’s basically essential for her to do activities.

    My concern is that this makes it hard for girls whose parents may have had run-ins with the law in the past to fully participate; they’ll either fail the background check or will be afraid of embarrassment if they do apply and their child’s leaders find out about a history they left behind. Think of a scenario where dad isn’t in the picture and mom spent 6 months in prison for check kiting a decade ago and is afraid to apply to be an approved adult because of her past – that girl won’t be able to go to many activities because she doesn’t have an approved adult to go with her.