Beware The Ice Cream Man (Because He’s Male)?


Hey Readers — So I’m starting to “vlog.” Be gentle! Meantime, here’s the zfyyryshas
piece about the town
that just voted to require background checks for those nefarious ice cream men, and here’s a note from the post about “If You are Male You are Under Suspicion” that shows how background check mania is spreading:

My hubby who has been coaching our boys hockey for 16 years just received a letter from our police to come in and submit fingerprints in order for him to continue coaching.  The new policy requires this. Fingerprinting!! Never mind that we already have ‘safeguards’ in place.  Each team has at least 3 coaches and there must always be 2 coaches present with the players at all times if parents aren’t there.  Now they have to submit to not only a background check but be fingerprinted in order to ascertain that you haven’t changed your name after a conviction.  What can you do? If you want to keep involved in your child’s sport you don’t have a choice.
Sad that volunteers are under constant suspicion and offensive to have to be treated this way.

Sad and offensive it is. All because our culture LOVES its “worst-first” thinking: A man who likes being around kids? Think the worst. – L. (who asks you to  forgive me for the ads that run before my video. I have no say over what they are, but I do hope they bring in a little revenue.)

75 Responses to Beware The Ice Cream Man (Because He’s Male)?

  1. Jet June 14, 2012 at 4:46 am #

    Great vlog Lenore. That’s an immediate share to Facebook from me. Two small recommendations: You might consider filming an opening/closing sequence to put on each of your videos, like a mini TV show. I’m imaging pictures of kids doing some “shocking” things by themselves, like playing outside, walking to the corner store, or riding a bus/subway and then a Free Range Kids TV logo. Also, the lighting in this vid was just a bit too strong, which caused overexposure on your face, so you may want to get a filter for that light, just to make it a little softer. So glad to see you vlogging. Anything to get the word out there!

  2. Ann G Morrone June 14, 2012 at 4:59 am #

  3. octavio June 14, 2012 at 5:00 am #

    Sadly this is not new. There is a company in British Columbia called BackCheck that sells a criminal background check service to various sports organizations in Canada (Skate Canada is one such example). It is mandatory for all volunteers to complete this background check, complete with an ID check (a notary public must verify your ID). They used to perform what was called a “vulnerable section searches” which would flag certain criminal convictions. Applicants required to submit fingerprints for this process. This process is no longer allowed and BackCheck cannot perform this specific check any longer, but it still performs a criminal records check, which basically says whether someone with the same name and DOB as the applicant has a criminal record in Canada (all criminal convictions in Canada are stored in a central database managed by the RCMP called CPIC, which makes the search easier than in the USA)

  4. Beth June 14, 2012 at 5:32 am #

    I don’t even understand the “3 coaches required and 2 coaches with the kids at all times” rule. When was it decided that all FATHERS are pedophiles and can’t be trusted around a whole group of little boys? Where and when is all this molestation going to take place with the whole team around, and probably some parents?

    And if the police are so worried about these volunteer father-coaches, seems odd that they let the sons go home with their father-coach every night. Shouldn’t every child just be yanked from their home at birth if there’s a male living in it?

  5. backroadsem June 14, 2012 at 5:42 am #

    I work for the Boy Scouts. Right now we’re investigating a possible sex offender… and it’s troublesome because he successfully passed the background check two months ago. All these things only mean he hasn’t done anything… yet. I get it for my organization, but why do the littlest things need it?

    On another note that is only BSA related… today an 11-year-old boy came into my office and asked for a list of merit badge counselors near him. He was confident, knew what to say, and apparently interested in attending a merit badge class. I think his mom (necessary for driving him to my office, I assume) was elsewhere in the building, doing her own business. All I know is she wasn’t with her kid.

    Why I mention this? I usually have mothers in my office attempting to do everythiing for their boy scout–whether the child is eleven or eighteen!

  6. Shana Rowan June 14, 2012 at 5:42 am #

    In NY registered sex offenders aren’t allowed to be ice cream truck drivers, even if their charges didn’t involve children, or they were children themselves at the time of the offense. Apparently, this protects children from being victimized by people who simply have no previous convictions (which overwhelmingly, is who victimizes children.)

  7. Shana Rowan June 14, 2012 at 5:44 am #

    @ Backroadsem, the issue you are dealing with is precisely the problem with sex offender hysteria. Overwhelmingly kids are victimized by people that are known to them and their family, as well as by someone who isn’t on the registry. Unfortunately what began as a true desire to protect children has mushroomed into a never-ending cycle of uninformed hysteria and politicians looking to cash in on it.

  8. becky June 14, 2012 at 5:49 am #

    Nice job on the video (how’d you get your fan to turn on when you mentioned the AC! brilliant! or a brilliant bit of serendipity!)

    In the west coast cities I’ve lived in, the ice cream man drove a three wheeled scooter. I guess you can’t lure a kid into something without an inside (of course, you don’t get soft-serv either.)

  9. Jen June 14, 2012 at 6:08 am #

    Am I the only one who has grown to hate the icecream man constantly roaming the streets playing annoying music? When I was a kid the truck had a bell and would pull up to the school or parks usually driven by a high school or college kids. Now days the guys that drive the trucks in my area are simply gross fat overweight and poorly groomed no way am I spending money in this. For the same price as one icecream come I can buy an entire box of the same brand at the store. I am all the DMV checks for anyone driving a motor vehicle for a profession.

  10. Ben June 14, 2012 at 6:08 am #

    The problem with these background checks is that although they’re well intended, they don’t help. A truly dangerous wouldn’t submit themselves to a background check if something would turn up, and dangerous people without a record would pass the check but be no less dangerous.

    I also despise how the sex offenders registry works. Everyone on the list is treated the same — badly, but someone on the list could’ve exposed themselves to rid their bladders in a drunken stupor or they could’ve sexually attacked an adult. Neither would be a threat to children, yet if a sex offender listing turns up in someone’s background, they’re invariably treated as a child molester.

    The justice department should list the actual offense on the registry and not include everyone and the kitchen sink. A list with less people is more meaningful.

  11. Ben June 14, 2012 at 6:20 am #

    I’d hate to disagree with you, Lenore, but you’re making a sweeping generalisation at 1:04 in your video. Pedophiles are not all rapists by definition as you state. The dictionary defines pedophile as “an adult who is sexually attracted to young children.”

    A rapist forces someone to have sexual intercourse.

    Although I agree that pedophilia is creepy to say the least, as long as the adult in question does not act on their sexual attraction, it would be wrong to call them a rapist.

    This is exactly the sort of thinking that got Gary Lee Blanton shot by a vigilante.

  12. Sara June 14, 2012 at 6:33 am #

    This is timely for me. I am extremely frustrated with my kids’ school right now. They have lost my background check that I submitted over two years ago and now I can’t go on my daughter’s trip to the Science Centre tomorrow. (Just to be clear, I don’t care that I can’t go so much. I would rather have root canal done than spend two hours (one way!) on a school bus full of ten and eleven year olds, But my daughter wanted me to go so what are ya gonna do?)

    I have been volunteering at the school for over seven years now. I have never had a complaint brought against me. I am there every Wednesday to hand out pizza to the classes (unattended even!). I have gone on three other field trips this year alone but now that they’ve lost a piece of paper that says I am a safe person, I am no longer a safe person.

    My daughter cried when she found out I wasn’t going (I did my happy dance behind her back). She’s over it and will have a good time, but I am still fuming that I am treated as a criminal without cause. The school claims their hands are tied, but I think otherwise. Who exactly is going to find out that I don’t have a piece of paper that claims I’m safe on file at the school?

  13. Pamela June 14, 2012 at 6:56 am #

    Adam Carolla has been ranting lately about not wanting to do the fingerprinting required so that he can coach his kids baseball team. I’m not sure if he’s being purposefully free-range or just ornery, but it’s a new voice against the hysteria (and one with a large audience) so I hope it helps.

  14. Paul June 14, 2012 at 7:10 am #

    I took my son (13) to a wakeboarding park today. when I was in line at the concession stand there were two other boys about his age in line ahead of me and they asked for a slushee to be split into two cups — clearly sharing it — I don’t think their parents were there. So my first instinct, having a lot of memories of counting my coins at the store to split a soda with a friend, was to tell the concessioner to give them both a whole one and put them on my tab. But, being a 45-year old male in 2012, I kept my mouth shut.

  15. are we there yet? June 14, 2012 at 7:56 am #

    I have been fingerprinted twice to work in jobs related to kids (once as police dep’t employed school crossing guard, with a detailed background check, and also as a classroom assistant). What’s interesting about these “safeguards” is how meaningless they are or in a more charitable light, how much commonsense is used in practice. There are no rules or policies about how many or where or anything. Often it’s one on one — the horror! I don’t want to trivialize this, with the Penn State trial in the news, but that was a clear systemic breakdown with a massive coverup. Institutionalized abuse is probably not too strong a word.

    If people are really worried about their schools and who works in them, they should show up and volunteer. They’ll see both the bureaucratic headaches and the risks, such as they are.

  16. Jespren June 14, 2012 at 8:07 am #

    We had a neighbor with an ice cream truck that we were pretty sure was a front for *something* illegal (drugs was our guess). He never went out during the day, only well after when you’d expect an ice cream truck to be on the road, and every time we saw the doors open the inside was filled with unrefrigerated plain cardboard boxes. My point? Our red flags were raised not by an ice cream truck driver…but by someone *not* acting like a normal ice cream truck driver. A normal ice cream truck driver is about as fright-inducing as a kitty. Really have to wonder if the people proposing these type of laws are the real sickos, who looks at an ice cream truck and immediately thinks: Pervmobile!

  17. Yan Seiner June 14, 2012 at 8:10 am #

    @Paul: this is what really bugs me about it. It’s the whole thing that I myself limit my own actions because of other people’s paranoia, and my own fear of being swept up in this witch hunt.

    There are things I’d like to do but don’t because I’m afraid of a false accusation, and in this environment, even a false accusation can destroy your life.

    I do a lot of backpacking, and I often backpack with my kids. I’ve mentioned taking some of their friends to their friends’ parents but too often there’s that catch of suspicion, the pause, the hesitation, the drawing back of the other parent. So I no longer ask. Both I and the other kids miss out.

  18. Jespren June 14, 2012 at 8:16 am #

    Btw, background checks are just annoying ‘guilty until proven innocent’ intrusions. Despite that (most) places ask for full name, bdate, and ssn, many background checks actually get ran using only the name and bdate. Ok, not a big deal if your name is Rynmisen Pulitockis born on 2/29…but for all the people who actually share names and birthdays with, you know, another of the many millions in their country, mistakes are common. My husband had 2 jobs pull back a multi-felon with his same first and last name and bdate, different middle name, different ssn, different state. But the jobs didn’t care that we had his birth certificate to verify his full name or his ssn card to verify a completely different ssn. Nope, only way to get considered for the job was to contact the background check people directly and get them to update their system, which took almost two months. There are a lot of John Smiths running around out there (not my husbands name, but his name is very common) and when places run background checks many people are guilty of nothing more than having a common name.

  19. Rachel June 14, 2012 at 8:31 am #

    I love the vlog!! Sara – that is truly unbelievable about not being able to go to your daughter’s school b/c they lost your background check. I am horrified. This is such an awful feeling to pass onto our kids – danger is everywhere – you never know where a criminal might be lurking. God, it’s terrible!!!

    Lenore – you have such a great delivery.

  20. Rita June 14, 2012 at 9:16 am #

    Oh, Lenore! Reading you is always pure pleasure (well, except for the raised blood pressure part, and the outrage) but watching your vlog is even better!!!! I agree wholeheartedly. I have three kids, well adults, son, 44, daughter, 28, son, 26. I raised them all to love kids, and they do, better yet, kids love them. My younger son worked as a lifeguard and swim instructor before he joined the Marines. My daughter has been a lifeguard, swim instructor, now swim program manager since she was 15. She’s the first to say how good her brother is with kids, and how glad she was when he worked for her.

    This same young man, when we are out in a restaurant, will catch small infant and toddlers’ eyes and make faces, wave, and otherwise make them laugh. I am appalled at the number of parents who get upset when they notice him doing so, especially since he is in the company of his mother, and often his sister as well. What can possibly be going through their minds that they cannot see the sheer delight he takes in making kids smile? How cmaped and constrained the worlds they must inhabit, and into which they will cram their kids. It does a disservice to us all, but especially to children who are trained to be afraid, and who lose the wonderful interactions most of us had with men who weren’t family, the grocer, the butcher, the guy at the newsstand, the ICE CREAM MAN, in my case the man who came around in the summer with a pony cart and took us for rides for a nickel, and talked with us about ‘the old country,’ growing up.

    As for the picnic, I don’t have little people to bring, but I may stop by just to hug you and thank you for being the kind of mom/woman you are.

  21. AW13 June 14, 2012 at 9:32 am #

    I might have missed this in an earlier comment, but I, for one, would be THRILLED if some sort of legislation were passed limiting the number of times that d@mn ice cream truck jingle could be played on repeat within a city block. Ugh. I hate that music. Other than that, I think it’s pretty kitsch that our neighborhood has an ice cream truck in it. There wasn’t one here when I was growing up, and I get a kick out of it. My husband once bought our son and the other little boy who was playing with him an ice cream treat from the truck. I guess maybe he (my husband) should have submitted to a background check first.

  22. BPFH June 14, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    Frankly, crap like this is why, even when the VP for baseball of the local Little League group called me out on the fact that I haven’t done all that much with my son’s teams, I still haven’t volunteered. IIRC there’s a requirement that I submit to a background check… and sorry, no, I won’t submit to something that assumes that I’m one of *them*.

    You know what I mean. 😛

  23. oncefallendotcom June 14, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    The Ice (cream) Man Cometh.

    How are those Alcatraz Parenting Tshirts coming along, by the way?

  24. ank June 14, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    Love the vlog! I wish we could join up with a free range picnic next Saturday but we will be camping with a bunch of friends and their kids (our kids are all friends, we’re all friends, it’s the best). I’m expecting the most free-rangey thing to happen for us is our daughter (who will have just turned 4) will be sleeping in a tent BY HERSELF. However, this is not news; she did it last year when she had just turned 3! We put up our old 2 person tent for the kids to play in, we never thought she’d actually want to sleep in it. Now all the other kids want to share our daughter’s tent! We’ll see how many parents actually let them…none of them are very keen on the notion of free range (at least not yet :D)…

  25. Rebecca Menes June 14, 2012 at 10:30 am #

    I love the way Jerry Sandusky gets dragged into the argument — I think he would have passed any back ground check with flying colors. Oops.

  26. Charles Lamb June 14, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    When I was 20 years old I spent a summer selling Ice Cream from a truck. The kids I saw on my route were too knowledgeable to be caught by a pedophile and were also rarely alone. I would’ve been glad to have a cop observing because many was the time a kid tried to steal from me–and sometimes succeeded.

  27. Julie June 14, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    Jen asks: Am I the only one who has grown to hate the icecream man constantly roaming the streets playing annoying music?

    Oh, Jen. You should live in my neighborhood. I live quite literally across the street from a community pool. Every hour on the hour at the pool, it is adult swim for the first 15 minutes, and ALL CHILDREN are required to get out of the pool. And so, every hour on the hour of every afternoon all summer long, the ice cream truck is in front of my house. I hear Turkey in the Straw many, many times a week.

    Annoyances aside, the ice cream truck guys are fine. They are too many people around the pool for them to even contemplate trying to snatch a kid. (Besides, the ice cream truck is sorta conspicuous!) And they’d have to get out of the truck to do anything pervy, which would bring a bit of attention. As if ice cream trucks are calling attention to themselves by their very nature.

  28. Donna June 14, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    A friend of mine had a shaved ice truck for a couple years. Not the kind you ride around neighborhoods but the kind you use at festivals. He did the local music festival for a couple years. He is a very nice, non-pedophile guy with a wife and two kids.

    As others mentioned, a background check does nothing but weed out the convicted child molesters. The previously convicted child molester again charged with child molestation is a rarity. Our Public Defender office almost never saw it. And we had plenty of registered sex offenders as clients so it wasn’t that they are all in prison. They were just sex offenders now charged with non-sex crimes. Frequently nothing more than failure to register as a sex offender.

  29. Ben June 14, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    Rupert Grint of Harry Potter film fame has an ice cream truck. Good thing he is in the UK or he’d be required to have a background check done.

  30. Lin June 14, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

    I better lock up my child next time I hear that Greensleeves tune (or is it only in Oz that icecream trucks play Greensleeves??).

  31. Buffy June 14, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

    backroadsem said ” Right now we’re investigating a possible sex offender… and it’s troublesome because he successfully passed the background check two months ago. All these things only mean he hasn’t done anything.”

    I don’t understand; how do you know he’s a possible sex offender when he hasn’t done anything?

  32. Heather G June 14, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

    Sara, it seems that my flippant comment a few posts back about parents needing to get the school to sign forms in triplicate saying they’ve received and filed the forms parents signed and turned in might be more necessary than my sarcasm would like to believe.

    I’m not a fan of background checks as they tend to be pretty useless. I’ve worked for companies that have required them and we still had the problems with the same frequency that companies that didn’t do them had. In my area both the public and private schools require them of all volunteers. While a measure that only makes people think they are protecting the children at least it is evenly applied among the sexes. As my kids aren’t old enough extracurriculars I can’t say whether or not female oriented activities like dance classes are checked as often as male oriented activities like sports. I hope so. Paranoia is bad enough but sexist paranoia is more than I can take.

  33. Katie June 14, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

    How do we fight this beyond on a micro level?

  34. Jay June 14, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    The funny thing is that when I was 10 my mother said have a great day be hme by 5 for dinner and off we went on our bicycles stooping and the local pool or at the ice cream truck. Now kids don’t leave their homes all they do is play video games and do not interact with other people. It is sad to see less kids playing outside and at the playgrounds. I wish things didn’t change because the kids today have low self esteem, conversation issues, or can’t even do things on their own.

  35. Emily June 14, 2012 at 9:26 pm #

    Do they require female hockey coaches to go through the same procedure? If not, this is blatant sexism.

  36. Suzanne June 14, 2012 at 9:26 pm #

    I loved your vlog!!! I agree with those that said background checks give a false sense of security because anyone who wouldn’t pass won’t fill it out and most people who are going to hurt someone haven’t been caught in the past. I think the background check overkill is ridiculous but like everyone else (whoi wants to volunteer) submit to it. Not long ago there was a mix-up in some of our schools, a background check form intended for people who volunteer to coach/go on overnight field trips got handed out to regular volunteers and there was a huge outrage among parents. They wanted information about work and credit history and a drug test. I don’t care what you are volunteering to do in the schools I do not understand what your work history and credit report/score has to do with it. The drug test I guess I can understand to a point.

    Fingerprinting, background checks, all of it is useless the rule from hockey coach’s wife is probably the best preventative for anything untowards happening. 2 non-related adults present with a group of children at all times. More to save the adults from false accusations than anything else.

    I also wonder what we can do to help stop this craziness. What about an article showing the thousands of parents who have volunteered and not molested anyone?

  37. Terry June 14, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

    We were at the playground last Saturday with our two boys. A little girl we did not know was not quite tall enough to reach the rings that she wanted to swing from. My husband was standing right next to her, and she was looking to him for some help. He looked over at me, and was clearly uncomfortable with touching a little girl he didn’t know (on a playground FULL of other parents and kids). I got up and went over and helped her up, and wondered what can be done to make everyone realize how absurd this is? I’ve said it before…I don’t want my boys to grow up and feel the way my husband felt on Saturday. That simply being kind could make you seem suspicious.

  38. Neil M June 14, 2012 at 10:55 pm #

    Thanks for vlogging! Ironically, the ad that played before the video starts with a woman watching kids playing basketball outside her window, and I thought, “My…these days that lady would have to undergo a background check.”

  39. Sarah June 14, 2012 at 10:58 pm #

    Yes, background checks are useless, but the first thing parents demand when something does happen is “WHY WASN’T THERE A BACKGROUND CHECK??!!” Often, there actually was one, but of course it’s useless.

    Through news reports, I’ve heard parents rant and rave about how “the school should have done more” if nothing appeared on the background check. Really? Like what, exactly? People still do have rights and we’re supposedly still a country of the innocent until proven guilty. The schools can’t raid people’s homes and look for evidence of some deviant behavior. Nor should they.

    So many people forget that school resources are limited, especially these days. If the school spent all its time and money on background checks and otherwise investigating staff, there’d be nothing left for the actual education of the students. (Imagine that! Schools focusing on education!)

    Be a parent. If an adult who is around your child does something that concerns you, speak up. Do NOT launch a witch hunt right out of the gates, but be calm and rational about it. (Crazy thought, I know.) Communicate. Work WITH the school staff. Don’t expect schools to be this iron-clad tomb of safety. Of course schools take safety measures, but we can’t prevent everything and no one should expect that.

  40. kevinhallinfinite June 14, 2012 at 11:15 pm #

    @Emily, everyone knows girls can’t coach hockey. That’s silly.

  41. Lollipoplover June 14, 2012 at 11:17 pm #

    My husband was “flagged” when he didn’t pass a background check for our local softball organization. He has been coaching our kids sport teams for years and is the mellow, fun coach amid the competitive sports parents.
    When we received the paperwork for the background check, we died laughing. Seems my husband was somehow “mixed up” with a sex offender in Florida who was currently incarcerated for 20 years and was of a different race and extremely obese. The only thing they shared was the same name. But he was flagged! Way to go, background check company.
    We love our ice cream man!
    Ivan is a hard working immigrant with a thick accent and patience of a saint (yes, he takes pennies!). He’s worked our neighborhood for years. He passes MY background check, and that’s all that matters to me.

  42. Kelly June 14, 2012 at 11:50 pm #

    Re: Institutions wasting money on background checks – I’d like to point out another major one that has risen in recent years. Many colleges and universities are now doing it more heavily with their faculty and staff – representing another waste that many students’ hard-earned tuition dollars are being spent on (don’t get me started on other ways tuition money is being “wasted”). (If they’re so worried about safety, why don’t they require the students to get a background check as well?)

  43. Kimberly Herbert June 14, 2012 at 11:51 pm #

    We can’t get rid of the annoying music. Don’t you know that the purpose of ice cream trucks and their annoying music is to lure child demons into the truck. The truck then magically sends the to the playground where the Nothing destroys them. (Unless of course 3 magical sisters release them thinking they are mortal children.) 😉

  44. Amanda K Rogers June 15, 2012 at 12:14 am #

    Lenore, your v-log is fantastic. You have so much energy and passion, your delivery is excellent and smooth, and you’re just really adorable. I hope you do more of these!

    And yes… this background check nonsense is ridiculous, especially in light of Lollipoplover’s comment about her husband being flagged as a sex offender for *gasp* sharing his *name* with an actual sex offender. I can just imagine plenty of normal folks getting pegged as a sex offender as a mix-up, just like the countless people wrongfully on a do-not-fly list.

  45. Sarah June 15, 2012 at 12:15 am #

    Kelly, that is truly ridiculous! The vast majority of college and university students are adults! Can’t they be somewhat responsible for their own safety? And you’re right, if the staff needs background checks, then to be fair they should have students be checked, too. They are adults, after all. What a waste!

    Should we all get background checks just to be out in public?!

  46. marmitesarah June 15, 2012 at 12:16 am #

    @ lollipoplover: He passes MY background check, and that’s all that matters to me.
    Sums it perfectly. I’m going to remember that one.

  47. Kelly June 15, 2012 at 12:26 am #

    Sarah who replied to my post: The reason higher ed institutions are now obsessed with “safety” is the kids who were the first focus of “helicopter parenting” are now there (if you search online you’ll find articles on how some parents of adult children are now hovering over their kids into college and even into the workforce, and how as a result we now have a generation coming of age who lack the skills of being able to manage life on their own). I think when these “kids” become parents themselves we’ll start to see Free-Range-like parenting becoming more mainstream, when they realize how ludicrous all these “precautions” are and desire to give their kids the childhood they never got to enjoy.

  48. Amanda Matthews June 15, 2012 at 12:48 am #

    “What can you do?” Move your kids and yourself to a team that doesn’t require this bs, and make it clear why you are moving them. If you just sit back and take it, it will only get worse.

  49. Donna June 15, 2012 at 2:37 am #

    College and universities requesting background checks is nothing new. Many businesses have been doing it for years. All background checks are not for potential child molesters. They don’t want to employ ANY convicted criminals and not everyone is honest about their background.

    I have a problem with volunteers being asked for background checks and the self-employed needing background checks to run their own business. I understand companies not wanting to HIRE convicted criminals. While you do want to weed out those convicted of sex crimes, it is also about not wanting to hire someone convicted of theft to run the school store or someone convicted of tax evasion to be your accountant.

  50. nosyparker June 15, 2012 at 2:39 am #

    @Amanda Matthews: I agree with you on principle. If only it were that simple. It’s not. For one, all the hockey associations in our area require coaches to submit to a background check (I don’t know about fingerprinting). Secondly, we can only register our child to play for the city in which he lives. They are very strict about this and require report cards as proof of residency. If you wish to play for a different city you must obtain a “release form” from your association. Believe me, they are not obligated to give you one for any reason and they usually don’t.
    Not to mention that ultimately the child pays the price for this nonsense. He has spent years playing and making friends with the same teammates and would now have to start new elsewhere. That’s not right.
    The only real option is to choose not to be a coach. Either way you can’t win. You are assumed a predator until you prove otherwise and you’ll still be assumed a predator if you decline to submit to this ridiculous policy. People will think you have something to hide.

    I am amazed that people don’t realize that the only way to eliminate all bad/negative experiences is to eliminate ALL experiences altogether. Definitely throwing the baby out with the bathwater……

  51. Marlet June 15, 2012 at 4:49 am #

    I am happy to say that I managed to avoid the background check “required” by the county rec office. I volunteered to coach my 5 year old daughters soccer team. This involved running one, ONE, weekday practice, as well as six Saturday practice/games. At every one of these soccer games, there were at least 6-7 parents around, usually more. I found the request an asinine waste of resources. Thus, I simply did not fill out the form authorizing the county to run the check. Nobody ever mentioned it again.

    My thought is that you can let your lack of paperwork get lost in the shuffle. If it is brought up again, clearly state your reasons for not submitting to such a request. The county has their reasons; you have yours. Let them be heard!

  52. Tara June 15, 2012 at 6:40 am #

    On your note about the ads before your vlog. The one I got was for a Hebrew National hot dog. Don’t they know hot dogs are dangerous? 🙂

  53. Really Bad Mum June 15, 2012 at 6:58 am #

    The music only plays when they’ve run out of ice cream…. 13 years old and she still believes me lol no wonder her teacher told me she was the blondest brunette she’d ever had in her class, I sided with the teacher lol

  54. ru June 15, 2012 at 8:01 am #

    My wife has recently finished teacher’s college, and has had to get criminal records checks done in order to become a full-fledged teacher. The best part? Records check for provincial certifying body. Second (same) records check for organization governing the distribution of pay. Third (same) records check for the school board in which she will be employed. And we had to pay for all three of them. And the best part? Her birth certificate has three given names plus her surname. The third is a cultural name, given to all girls born in the province in which she was born. But because she failed to put all three given names on the application for the criminal records check (even though all her other government documentation doesn’t have it), we have to pay for a FOURTH one of these stupid things.

    It infuriates me to the ends of the earth and back. If you submit a valid criminal records check to the certifying body, it should be sufficient for ALL PARTIES.


  55. Merrick June 15, 2012 at 8:23 am #

    It’s a good thing I’m not concerned about our ice cream man — who parks in front of our house and waits because he knows my kids and I will come out with the “Quarter Jar” — which exists solely for the purchase of ice cream purchases and is the receptacle into which all quarters in our house go. My kids get pissed when they see me put a quarter into my change purse! He knows what we like — he comments on how much the kids have grown…

    To be fair, we also know where he lives, since he parks his ice cream truck in his driveway LOL

  56. Jen Connelly June 15, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    Gawd I hated the ice cream man when we lived in Chicago. they’d drive so slow down the street and the one had this annoying song that was just this repeating beat like doof, doof, doof, ding, ding, ding. I’d rather listen to Greensleeves or Turkey in the Straw.

    Where we live now our neighborhood is kind of isolated from the rest of town and the only reason the ice cream truck comes by us is because he’s friends with the people that live next door. He’ll park out front for a good 30 minutes sometimes to chat. Luckily he turns his music off and it’s no where near as loud as the trucks in Chicago. He also gives away free ice cream at the end of the day.

    I also hate background checks. I have never volunteered at any of the schools my kids have gone to because of all the hoops they make you go through. At the Catholic school in Chicago not only did you have to submit to a full criminal check but take a 3 hour course before you could even pass out cake in your kid’s classroom. You couldn’t even volunteer in the church on Bingo night because there was a chance a kid might be there despite the fact that Bingo started after 7pm and wasn’t in the school. It was so stupid. And they were always complaining about the lack of volunteers.

    At their school here there is just a form you fill out to give your permission to the check. It takes 2 weeks to process and then you can forget about it for 2 years and it’s good at any of the schools in the district. I still haven’t done it.

  57. Really Bad Mum June 15, 2012 at 10:33 am #

    these checks only work if the persons been caught. Most jobs in Australia want a “police clearance” and if you work with kids you need a “Working with children check” which is a card saying you passed a criminal check, ( yet again only works if they’ve been caught) also there is mandatory reporting….

  58. carol June 15, 2012 at 11:45 am #

    love it. love you. don’t love the paranoia!

  59. Jen June 15, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    I’ve had to have background, criminal record, and fingerprint checks just to get a teaching degree. In PA, it’s a total of $70 per year of school, sophomore through graduation. Then the same again every year you sub. Yet once you have a permanent position, you don’t have to resubmit anything. (At least, that’s what it was 5 years ago before I quit to be a mom.) I hated having to do it, but shrugged it off as a price of being a teacher. Since then, I’ve given it more thought, and realized just how intrusive and insulting it is to be assumed guilty until you can prove otherwise.

    As for the ice cream truck, our neighborhood has TWO that drive around randomly. Last summer, we had my then-2-year-old convinced they were “music trucks” that just played music for the kids. This summer, the neighbor has already blown it, as he bought his kid and Gwen treats one Saturday. I mostly object to it on basis of cost vs volume, though. I hate to spend $4 on a single treat she’ll eat 1/4 of when I can spend that same $4 on a box of the mini treats that she’ll finish.

    The man who drives one of the ice cream trucks around is pretty ancient, and loves kids. He’s been teaching in our district since my mom had him in 7th grade, about 35 years ago. He’s a really nice guy, who genuinely loves to see the kids smile. He also jokes about being able to wind the kids up on sugar then send them home. He’s got a couple grandkids, who live on the west coast somewhere, so he treats the neighborhood kids like grandkids.

  60. AW13 June 15, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    @Kimberly – OMG, I’d totally forgotten about that episode of Charmed!! Thanks for the smile 🙂

  61. bmommyx2 June 15, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

    Just because someone passes a background check doesn’t mean they are safe, what about first offenders or those that have never been convicted / prosecuted. This only promotes a false sense of security. People just need to use their common sense & be aware & teach their kids the same.

  62. KatrinG June 15, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

    Recently I applied for a job at an organisation which organises youth camps during school holidays and every applicant has to have a police clearance certificate saying that I’m no sex offender. But here in Germany only persons (men AND women) working in the educational field have to bring such a certificate – ice cream men don’t have to.

  63. Stephanie June 15, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

    @Jen – Background checks EVERY year for subs?? Geez. Just over the river in NJ, my husband works as a sub. I don’t remember how long his certificate is good for, but he’s been doing it 3 1/2 years now and he’s only had to do 2 background checks – one for each district in which he’s certified. I’m not sure offhand how long each certificate is good for, but thank goodness it isn’t costing us $140/year! 😛

    And I totally agree with everyone else’s “false sense of security” sentiments. I understand the logic behind doing a background check for certain things, but the idea that it’s somehow the be-all, end-all of making children safe is ridiculous. Having the good touch/bad touch conversation with your kid isn’t fun (my mom had to have that talk with me when I was VERY young, because we lived next to to a house where a convicted child molester often stayed), but it’s a LOT more effective at preventing and/or catching these things than any background check.

  64. Kelly June 15, 2012 at 10:56 pm #

    I like those comments about those preferring if possible to do business with someone that isn’t overboard with doing background checks – I think I’ll take that advice. I don’t have a problem with having a criminal record check in cases where it’s genuinely important (e.g. I wouldn’t want an accountant that embezzles or to hire a warehouse worker who has a history of stealing), but to do it for any and all work/volunteer/etc. and to do it excessively and repeatedly (like for some of the teachers and teachers-to-be described) is unreasonable IMO.

  65. Amanda Matthews June 16, 2012 at 3:06 am #

    @nosyparker is there a law that says you have to be part of the associations to play? Get together with some other parents – starting with parents from your kid’s team – that disagree with the bs, and form your own teams. Let the kids spend time with their friends from the old team – there’s no reason that has to stop – as well as making new friends.

  66. Shayne June 16, 2012 at 5:55 am #

    Outstanding vlog entry, Lenore. I just watched it with one of my sons and both of us related greatly to it. Good job!

  67. Donna June 16, 2012 at 7:19 am #

    @Amanda Matthews – If you want to play competitively, rather than just kids playing pickup games, you are going to have to be part of the association. It is highly unlikely that you can get enough parents to leave the association to form several teams so that competition varies and you can have playoffs and the like. You would essentially need enough teams to form your own association. Possible, but a lot of work. Most are going to think that it is a lot easier to just do the background check than to set up their own free range hockey association.

  68. Freedom for kids June 16, 2012 at 10:39 am #

    Online videos are almost always frustrating for me because of long wait time for downloading, so I hope that along with “vlogs” there will always be accompanying text.

  69. Spike-X (@SpikeEcks) June 16, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

    All the background checks in the world wouldn’t have stopped Jerry Sundusky raping young boys.

  70. @ErinHiscocks June 16, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

    Reblogged this on Surviving River Blogs and commented:
    Jason and I have on more than one occasion had a lengthy discourse about the state of affairs. The world is getting ridiculous when every man is a potential pedophile. I acknowledge that every man IS a potential pedophile; but let’s not ignore that every WOMAN is also a potential pedophile, and that every man is ALSO a potential pizza delivery guy, organ donor, professional poker player, volunteer fire fighter, sports fanatic, baker, dad, you get the idea. I worry that the day will come when a father is arrested for bathing his own daughter, you know, because she’s naked and a child and he’s a MAN, it’s obvious that his ultimate goal is some form of abuse, and not removal of dirt and germs. I could go on and on and on….

  71. Andrew June 17, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

    With sports associations (as with boy scouts), part of it has to do with the size they are getting. These are big businesses, and ask for the checks because if the two l’s. -lawyers and liabilities. Of course, the next logical step would be to look at “browsing” histories/Internet history just to be sure (I’m sure someone could start a business performing confidential Internet backchecks on prospective people who want to work with children).

    In the article, they mention Jerry Sandusky. Is there evidence he would have been picked up by such a check?

  72. KSL June 18, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    Girl Scouts now requires this of volunteers as well. offensive.

  73. nosyparker June 18, 2012 at 11:57 pm #

    Exactly! Especially considering that many of the parents (dads) live with the delusion that their kids (at 10 & 11) are NHL prospects if they are playing at the higher competitive levels. They certainly aren’t going to destroy their chances at the pro-hockey career by taking their kids out of the “system”. They will never be scouted in the “free-range” league of our creation! lol.
    But seriously, you’re correct that I want my boys to play at the level of their abilities which in our case is competitive, not recreational. They do enjoy it. Starting a whole new association or league would be really complicated and I doubt there would be many people interested.
    And sadly, most people think that “nowadays” these checks are necessary because “it’s a different world”. So it’s very rare to come across someone who even understands that I’m outraged and offended at this request.

  74. BigDaddy June 29, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

    As a 40yo (ex-)bachelor who’s just married a mother of 8, I do appreciate your faith in my gender and tryning to break a sigma attached to people like me, but…

    We’ve just started a new family website and I was doing keyword research to see what people are searching for related to children. sad to find that the vast majority of searches around kids had some kind of sexual reference in them. I mean LOTS of them!

    So I know the majority of the free ranges kids message is not to be paranoid and I agree, but not on this topic. Let the government be paranoid and do those checks SO THAT us parents can let our kids be kids and run to the ice cream van without worrying or causing mom to die of worry.

    Love your engergy in the vlog:)

  75. Warren September 17, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    It is up to you and your wife if you want to have those fears, or not. I have done nothing to instill those fears in you, so why should I have to put myself through all this scrutiny? Just so that you and mom feel better.

    What’s next? You and mom don’t agree with my choice of music, so to make you feel better I should be banned from playing it around you.

    We should not have to jump through hoops just to calm the irrational fears of others.

    It is not admirable enough that we volunteer countless hours, spend vasts amounts of money for travel, time off work, and drinks, ice cream or whatever for the team? We have to spend the extra time and money to give into your fears as well?

    Coaches and mentors used to be looked upon as the good guys, and in some situations as borderline heroes. Now they are all looked at as potential serial rapists and molestors. Tell us why we should bother.

    And don’t give me the crap line,”If you reall want to help or care about the children………….”, because we do, as proven by the above time and expenses we endure to be there for the kids.