Outrage of the Week: Mandatory Fingerprinting for Little League Vols

Hi Readers! What kind of society are we going to have when anytime anyone volunteers to do anything with kids, we treat them as pedophiles until officially proven otherwise?

Probably the kind of society they have now in Tenafly, N.J., where Little League is requiring all adults who work with the team — from coaches to t-shirt vendors — to get fingerprinted. According to this bnatdtttay
from NorthJersey.com:

“It’s time to make sure everybody’s covered and we know the children are safe,” said Recreation Department Secretary Lisa Sherman said. “It’s something that a lot of towns in the area started instituting.”

I’m sure they are. But there is an alternative, and it actually ensures safer kids all around. Teach your kids “the three R’s” of abuse: Recognize, resist and report. That is, teach them how to recognize what abuse is (“No one can touch what your bathing suit covers”), and resist and report it. And vis a vis reporting, as I’ve said before, tell your kids that even if a grown up tells them not to say anything, they should always tell you and you will NEVER BE MAD.

Basically, the same way we teach kids to stop, drop and roll on the off-chance they are ever in a fire, we should teach them to be aware of the possibility of abuse. That makes kids safer because now they know what to look out for and do in any situation. Because the chances of an actual pedophile having a police record are pretty slim anyway. So the fingerprinting isn’t doing much.

Ah, but what does it hurt to ask volunteers for their fingerprints if they, as one dad told CBS,  have “nothing to hide”?

It changes the basic fabric of society from one of trust to distrust. It’s the difference between the United States and the former Soviet Union. It makes us think we should look askance at all adults who love children. In fact, just typing that sentence made me realize how far society has already changed. It felt a little weird to write about people who “love children,” because immediately it brought to mind pedophiles.

That’s a perverted way to think, and yet that’s what’s being encouraged. How ironic. — Lenore

Field of fiends?

, , ,

114 Responses to Outrage of the Week: Mandatory Fingerprinting for Little League Vols

  1. Robin April 8, 2011 at 8:23 pm #

    In my town, the parents are required to volunteer or pay a large fee. So now their choice is to be finger-printed or pay a large fee. Nice. Parents need to boycot these leagues and go back to encouraging their kids to play in the local empty lot.

  2. Tara April 8, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

    I have found that riding in the car is a great way to teach about “stranger danger”. Background story, my ex brother in law is a pedophile. He molested at least four children, three of them I knew and one was a neighbor girl. He was also on drugs, and had a very peculiar way of acting. When my ex next door neighbor started acting some of the ways that I had seen in my sister’s husband, I used that as a stepping stone to teach my kids about safety, usually in the car.

    Our conversation usually went something like this:

    “What would you do if Rory (the crazed neighbor) invited you to come see something in his garage (he was building a crazy big haunted house for Halloween)?”

    “Say I have to ask my mom.”

    I took it a step further.

    “Oh, I asked your mom, she said it was okay.”

    “No, *I* have to go ask her.” (And then come into the house and tell me.)

    Etc. By doing it in the car I literally had a captive audience! It was done in a non-threatening fun way, the kids learned to be responsible for their own actions and I felt better knowing they were educated as much as they needed to be for their ages.

    BTW, we’re moving from a quiet, edge of town property where the neighbors are all known and older to a downtown place with no yard, a park 2 blocks away and complete strangers as far as the eye can see (and many pedestrian commuters as we’re near downtown). It’s easy to be a relaxed free range parent here in my comfortable house. Yesterday my seven year old wanted to go to a friend’s house in the new neighborhood. It’s about a 3 block walk. And I let him. The friend wasn’t home. He wanted to go to the park. His little brother (6) didn’t want to go. I let him go alone. Yes, I’ve had to bite back fear, but I remember that there are lots of people in the world who would rather help a child than hurt one.

  3. Emiky April 8, 2011 at 8:40 pm #

    Your idea of teaching kids to recognize abuse is quite off the mark. It still puts them in danger, and now they have to have responsibility! Gasp! And what kid has time to tattle on every pedophile in a single little league group?

    Sarcasm out. Of course it’s a good idea.

    These people are not only assuming all adults are bad but that kids are idiots.

    I once had a cop tell us that kids shouldn’t walk to school even with a group of other children because all the other kids would run away if one kid was snatched.

  4. Stephanie April 8, 2011 at 9:04 pm #

    Did it occur to these people that this just creates a false sense of security? I mean, sure, fingerprinting would catch SOME child molesters, but what about the ones whose victims were to scared to report the abuse? What about the ones who haven’t molested a child yet but see volunteering as a way to get access to their young victims?

    I sound like a fearmonger there, but my point is that Lenore’s suggestion about teaching the “three R’s” is not just less expensive – it’s more effective. There’s no guarantee that just because someone makes it through the fingerprinting process that they won’t ever abuse a child in some way. It’s better to teach kids how to handle these situations properly than to fight the losing battle of trying to prevent them from ever being in a bad situation to begin with.

  5. oncefallendotcom April 8, 2011 at 9:14 pm #

    We’ve already set dangerous precedents in many places.

    In Ohio, you can be placed on the sex offender registry via a civil proceeding. I could call it the OJ Simpson registry since that’s how we convicted him for those mid-90s murders if you remember.

    I read that the UK’s ViSOR (Violent and Sex Offender Registry) allows people never convicted of a crime but exhibit certain behaviors to be added to their private registries.

    Somehow I see this spreading in the wake of Predator Panic. After all, look how many intrusions we allowed after 9/11.

  6. Tuppence April 8, 2011 at 9:16 pm #

    In the article one father said ““I think their money is better spent on other things than on me getting background checked,” and then they write, “However, some may argue you can’t put a price tag on safety”.

    Why is the only “price” ever considered is the monetary one? What about the price of becoming a society where, as Lenore writes, the basic fabric of that society has changed from one of trust to distrust. It’s true — the US is becoming what we once detested about the former Soviet Union.
    Sometimes I ask myself — Who really won the cold war? The differences between us and them, which we held so dearly then, which we used to claim we’d be ready to die for, seem now to signify nothing.

    Once again Lenore, thank you for being the voice of reason in the cacophony of insanity.

  7. Vickie April 8, 2011 at 9:16 pm #

    Great article. What a crazy world.

  8. Matt L. April 8, 2011 at 9:17 pm #

    I am not sure how requiring fingerprints prevents you from teaching kids safety.

  9. Cached April 8, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

    I have no problem with this. It’s a law in every state of Australia. Scouts here started this voluntarily many yeas ago. Ours is a “Police Check” rather than fingerprinting, but same effect.

    Having our regular people asked to complete a police check has reduced the number of child abuse cases.

    I don’t necessarily like it. But it actually works. It won’t pick up those who are charged but not convicted, but it probably stops them applying because they don’t know that.

    We use common sense as well – but it helps to have knocked some of the bad guys out at the door – and they certainly come knocking around youth organisations. Sad, but true. Our main policy is “in sight and out of hearing” for counselling kids – no leader is left alone with a child.

    Teaching kids to avoid being abused is a good idea – but it doesn’t always work. This is one instance where we do need to build in some protection. Teaching them that pedo’s are freaks isn’t helpful either – most of them will be people they know well and trust. They’re probably safer with strangers!!

    I could go on.


  10. Magnus April 8, 2011 at 9:20 pm #

    Bruce Schneier has a good counter for the nothing-to-hide argument (it’s a bit culture specific, but should work in the US):

    – You won’t mind getting finger printed if you have nothing to hide!
    – Well, if you have nothing to hide: how much money do you make?

  11. LisaS April 8, 2011 at 9:29 pm #

    I submitted to the background checks. I attended the mandatory class on identifying & preventing sexual abuse. Fingerprinting might be where I draw the line, especially since I know the repeat molesting teacher from my jr. High is still on the loose & wouldn’t be prevented by these things. Teaching our kids to protect themselves is the only real way to save them.

  12. susana April 8, 2011 at 9:35 pm #

    @ Emiky, what an idiot cop! What child abductor would approach a group of kids, and manage to snatch one and get away? That’s balls. Not to say it couldn’t happen, but I think he watched Goonies one too many times.

  13. freedomom April 8, 2011 at 9:40 pm #

    How DID we grow up and turn into these people who think like this?

  14. Kris April 8, 2011 at 9:42 pm #

    Again, they miss the mark by buying into the Stranger Danger mentality.

    Offenders are more likely to be relatives or acquaintances of their victim than strangers. A 2006–2007 Idaho study of 430 cases found that 82% of juvenile sex offenders were known to the victims (acquaintances 46% or relatives 36%).

    That’s not factoring in the percentage of children whose parents knew their attackers even if they didn’t (similar to an Elizabeth Smart scenerio).

  15. merrie April 8, 2011 at 9:43 pm #

    Our girl scout council requires CORI checks for ALL adults who attend the scout meetings. These are the girls’ own parents for goodness sake. I don’t get how this protects anyone–even the council.

  16. Donna April 8, 2011 at 10:01 pm #

    My public defender office deals with sex crimes regularly. MOST HAVE NO PRIOR SEX CRIME CONVICTIONS!!! I can count on ONE HAND the number of cases we’ve had over the last 4 years where a defendant accused of a sex crime had a prior sex crime conviction. We’ve had some who’ve had prior victims come out of the woodwork once arrested but very few have prior convictions.

    And it does effect volunteering for people without sex crime convictions. If I had a conviction on my record, even a minor one from years ago, I’d be hesitant to volunteer if I had to get fingerprinted. I would be afraid that some helicopter parents would use that against my child – i.e. refuse to allow their kids to come to my house to play.

  17. Adiaha April 8, 2011 at 10:03 pm #

    I live in NYC where reported rapes are up and other crimes have decreased in frequency. When it comes to my child’s safety and innocence I do not believe any precaution is to great. Especially when considering molestation, which can negatively impact an individual for life, you can’t be too careful. Unfortunately, it takes just a few bad apples to spoil the bunch.

  18. oncefallendotcom April 8, 2011 at 10:13 pm #

    Actually the reliance of the police checks only at best catch about 5% of the potential problems, as 95% of sex crime arrests are of first time offenders, i.e., people never convicted of sex crimes before. Its called a “false sense of security.”

  19. Muriel April 8, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

    @Cached Look, I can keep elephants away by snapping my fingers! You don’t see any elephants. Therefore it’s working.

  20. pentamom April 8, 2011 at 10:44 pm #

    “I am not sure how requiring fingerprints prevents you from teaching kids safety.”

    It doesn’t prevent it, but it is clearly being used as a substitute. If the kids were taught safety, it wouldn’t occur to anyone to need to fingerprint people.

    This is Little League, for crying out loud. It happens OUTSIDE. In groups of nine or more kids! ALWAYS! It’s not impossible that someone with evil intentions could spirit kids away and do some kind of harm, but the setting is such that if kids are taught even a modicum of safe behavior, there just isn’t much opportunity.

  21. mark lawson April 8, 2011 at 10:58 pm #

    Hi Lenore,
    We’re staying on the lower east side of NYC and in talking with a police officer, he said we shouldn’t talk with folks we don’t know in NYC. He incited fear in my son and we promptly talked with everyone as we headed to Yankee stadium for a game. He’s right that we have to be carefull but to not talk to anyone is a bit extreeme. NYC is full of interesting people with a 1000 stories. And as Texans we feel a kinship with whatever community we are in. This idea of guilty till proven innocent is not a good trend, but quickly taking hold. IMHO Happy Trails.

  22. C. S. P. Schofield April 8, 2011 at 10:58 pm #

    Giving the government any information that might later be used to track you is a bad idea. Just ask the Japanese Americans on the West Coast who were rounded up and put in prison camps vie census information that was supposedly confidential.

  23. mark lawson April 8, 2011 at 11:01 pm #

    In West Texas we had a teachers aide fired for inappropiate behavior, (excuse my spelling). Now everyone in the school and PTA has to go through a backround check! This check is noted that the offfending aide would of passed, so the oppression continues under the guise of safety. Yikes!

  24. Ali April 8, 2011 at 11:02 pm #

    Exactly what Donna says. Fingerprinting doesn’t catch the people who haven’t been caught. And a predator, on average, molests 300+ kids BEFORE they are caught. I’d rather teach my kid what a normal person is, and how they act -and what better way then expose them to the world and have them meet people from all walks of life! -and have them know instinctively when something “isn’t right” and be able to articulate it.

    Kids need to know what normal is, so they can accurately judge what abnormal is. And they only way they can do this is to have interactions with people on a regular basis, 1st with a parents help, and eventually on their own when they have the skills to deal with issues as they come up.

  25. Emily April 8, 2011 at 11:09 pm #

    My two year old was introduced to the Shirley Temple movies by my MIL, who just sent her a few on DVD. Cute, classic movies. I approve. Yesterday we watched Curly Top. The basic premise is this rich man adopts two orphan girls, giving them everything they could want. There’s a scene where the little girl goes to wake up ‘Uncle Edward’, jumping on him in his bed. Then later she rides around on his back. I was cracking up watching it because the whole thing would be viewed completely differently now. What interest does this childless man have in a cute lonely orphan girl? Why is she allowed into his bedroom with no one else there? I admit my first reaction would be to question, but how sad!

  26. pentamom April 8, 2011 at 11:15 pm #

    “And a predator, on average, molests 300+ kids BEFORE they are caught.”

    Okay, I agree with the overall point being made here, but this set off my meter. How could anyone possibly do that unless he was an elementary school employee and no one was ever watching?

  27. kopuff April 8, 2011 at 11:17 pm #

    Yeah, this is great preventative measure. I’m sure all the Catholic priests have their fingerprints on file.

  28. Uly April 8, 2011 at 11:18 pm #

    Mark, wasn’t that COP a stranger to you?

    LOL, tourists shouldn’t be obnoxious, but nobody is going to shoot you in the face because you want to make sure you’re walking in the right direction to get where you’re going! We’re none of us ax murderers, if only because axes are inconvenient in the city 🙂

    I live in NYC where reported rapes are up and other crimes have decreased in frequency.

    An increase in reported rapes is not necessarily the same as an increase in rapes. Heck, it may even go along with a decrease in rapes if certain conditions are met – say, if society changes in such a way that men are more likely to view rape as abhorrent (and thus less likely to rape women) and women are less likely to feel ashamed or intimidated out of reporting if they have been raped. (And yes, I do realize that men can be raped and women can be rapists. That is not the most common scenario, however.)

    I don’t know what the actual number of rapes is. I have no way of knowing that.

    I do know that, statistically speaking, getting raped is a lot like being molested as a child. The vast majority of rapists target people close to them. You’re much more likely to be raped by your boyfriend, husband, or ex than some guy at a bar, and you’re more likely to be raped by that guy at the bar than by some dude in a dark alley.

    Your kid is more likely to be molested by YOU or your HUSBAND than by the little league coach, or by other family members.

  29. pentamom April 8, 2011 at 11:19 pm #

    I mean, on AVERAGE? This means that for every guy who gets caught the first time, there’s some guy who’s molested SIX hundred kids? (Guy for sake of convenience, though I think the vast majority of non-family abusers are male.)

  30. King Krak, I Smell the Stench April 8, 2011 at 11:21 pm #

    Little League is the one organization my son plays in that I despise.

    Last year’s “innovation”, to go on the field during a practice, a parent had to fill out a form allowing them to conduct a background investigation to make sure you’re not a ped or any other kind of criminal.

    This year they’re forcing even 7-year-old’s to wear protective cups, and all coaches in a game to wearing battle helmets at all times.

  31. Tuppence April 8, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    @kopuff — I can’t believe I stuck up for you once. You disappoint me.

  32. Marie April 8, 2011 at 11:36 pm #

    I just wonder if this is really any more effective than the background check most activities require these days, but I agree that it’s better to teach kids the warning signs of abuse, because this isn’t going to catch anyone.

  33. Donna April 8, 2011 at 11:46 pm #

    “And a predator, on average, molests 300+ kids BEFORE they are caught”

    This statistic is ridiculous and I don’t think even possible. I suppose that there could be a elementary school teacher who molested many children a year for many years before being caught but that’d be extremely rare. The most people we’ve ever had come out of the woodwork in a case (which is still the exception rather than the rule) is 3 or 4. Under this statisic there would be no unmolested kids in America.

    And frankly, VERY FEW sex offenders are “predators.” Contrary to popular belief, recidivism is not that high in the sex offender community. The recidivism statistics generally consider ANY arrest by a sex offender as recidivism, and yet, most of our sex offenders who are re-arrested are re-arrested for registry issues or non-sex crimes. The largest portion of people on the sex registry are there for stat rape which does not indicate in the least that you are a predator. Even most child molesters are not “predators.”

  34. KateNonymous April 9, 2011 at 12:05 am #

    I had to get fingerprinted and have a background check for my current job. It’s not a remotely sensitive position, but everyone in my organization has to go through this process when hired. Even student interns.

    Why? One bad apple. That’s right, a few years ago, they hired badly and got a low-level con man who didn’t have the background he said he did.

    It seems to me that it would be cheaper to, say, verify what’s on an application (oh, he didn’t really graduate from there?) and not hire people who turn out to have lied. But no, everyone has to go through this process and have their prints on file.

    Add it up, and it is a large cost for the organization. And, frankly, one that is largely pointless. But at least we get paid, which isn’t the case for Little League volunteers.

  35. Anthony April 9, 2011 at 12:10 am #

    If you have nothing to hide they have nothing to look for.
    Welcome to police state USA

  36. Cheryl W April 9, 2011 at 12:25 am #

    I am very proud of the Family Friendly Soccer that my kids are in. This league, (as such) meets on Saturdays from 9:30 to 11:00. It costs $5 a season per kid, and I have to provide a ball and shin guards. All the kids of all ages, practice at the same park, and then scrimmage part of the time.

    It is staffed ENTIRELY by parent and community volunteers. (Yes, there are people involved who do not have kids! They just love soccer and having fun!) This season every parent is required to be assistant coach one Saturday for each kid that they have attending. No one has asked for background checks, and if they had to do that, the whole thing would probably go under because they do not have the resources to pay for it.

    I will stick with the others and say that the background check is a waste of money and proves nothing. It is rather like the school my daughter used to attend that made parents drive kids to the field trips (because our school was mostly affluent enough to own cars) and only asked for proof of insurance from parents who offered to drive up to 7 screaming kids. (At least that is what ended up in my car!) Insurance does not prove that you are a safe driver, or will not get distracted when the kid decides to start writing on the seat with a sharpie or something. And when it came time for getting back to school so that kids could get on buses, well, lets just say I never saw such unsafe speeding and driving in my life.

    I determined that my child would only ride with me, or with a driver who would not mind being late (I told the driver of that one time that I would pick up if she missed the bus.) Those hurried drivers scare me much more than child molesters – because there were more of those drivers than child molesters!

  37. Mel April 9, 2011 at 12:39 am #

    I got involved in our Catholic school. For us to do ANYTHING with the kids.. we have to be Virtus certified. No exceptions. This means when we get a new family in all ready to help and volunteer (which is rare), we have to tell them no until they are certified. We have lost so many parent participants because of this.

  38. Domestic Spaz April 9, 2011 at 1:51 am #

    Meh, I’m not really upset about the fingerprinting thing. The sad thing is that there ARE freaks that sign up for this stuff just so they can be near the kids.

    Not to say we shouldn’t be teaching the kids to recognize danger on their own, we SHOULD. But I don’t see a problem with having the adults who want to work with them submit a fingerprint just to add a little more safety into the mix.

    I don’t look at it as trust vs distrust, really. Just a precaution to help give parents peace of mind and make a safer place for our kids.

    Just recently in our community a man was convicted of molesting several girls he coached on a flag football team… so perhaps that colors my opinion.

  39. Donna April 9, 2011 at 1:58 am #

    “Just recently in our community a man was convicted of molesting several girls he coached on a flag football team… so perhaps that colors my opinion.”

    Was he a sex offender BEFORE

  40. Sky April 9, 2011 at 1:59 am #

    ] Your kid is more likely to be molested by YOU or your HUSBAND than by the little league coach, or by other family members.

    This is factually incorrect. Children are less often sexually molested by their biological parents (and very, very rarely by their own mothers) than by other family members or acquaintances. This latter category of acquaintances (neighbors, ministers, teachers, coaches, babysitters, friends of the family) accounts for the largest number of molestation cases – 60%. Think of it in the obvious way – the odds that 1 of my 2 parents is a child molester is much smaller than the odds that 1 of my 30 extended family members is a child molester, or that 1 of my 50 acquaintances is. Of course, the odds that 1 of 1 million strangers is even higher, but the opportunity simply is not there as it often is with family members and friends.

    As for the 300 figure, I believe the average is closer to 30 prior to first apprehension. And bear in mind that the typical molester has been molesting for a minimum of 15 years prior to being “caught” – i.e. some kind of legal record. Of course, many are “caught” by someone and not reported, which is how they can keep on doing it for years.

  41. kopuff April 9, 2011 at 2:01 am #

    @Tuppence: why do I disappoint you? It’s a darn good analogy, if you ask me.

  42. pentamom April 9, 2011 at 2:06 am #

    “And bear in mind that the typical molester has been molesting for a minimum of 15 years ”

    Typical? Minimum?

    I can believe that it is not infrequent for a molester to be active for 15 years before being caught. But , when you start saying “typical” and “minimum” you create really strange possibilities about what the outliers might be.

  43. brian April 9, 2011 at 2:08 am #

    Your comment in the article “Basically, the same way we teach kids to stop, drop and roll on the off-chance they are ever in a fire, we should teach them to be aware of the possibility of abuse.”

    This will quickly be rectified. I am going to my town board meeting today, and ask that they outlaw residential fires. (think of how much we’ll save not needing a fire department!)

  44. pentamom April 9, 2011 at 2:09 am #

    Sky, since you seem to have stats on this stuff, what’s the likelihood of a molester being the guy your mom lets hang around the house but is related to you by neither blood nor marriage? Anecdotally from reading news reports it seems like that’s the #1 profile for physical abuse, so I wonder how it carries over into sexual abuse. The news reports on physical abuse generally give enough detail so that you can piece together the relationship of the perp and victim; sex offenses are (rightly) reported on much more obliquely.

  45. pentamom April 9, 2011 at 2:12 am #

    “Of course, the odds that 1 of 1 million strangers is even higher, but the opportunity simply is not there as it often is with family members and friends.”

    Right, so the odds that the person “is a molester” may be higher, but the odds that he will molest “you” are much lower.

  46. brian April 9, 2011 at 2:14 am #

    @Magnus, lenore and Bruce Schneier often complement each other very well. Bruce covers more Technology/society, and Lenore from a parenting/kids persepective. Both talk heavily about the culture (and money to be made from) fear. I would love the two of them to do a project together.

  47. Donna April 9, 2011 at 2:15 am #

    “Just recently in our community a man was convicted of molesting several girls he coached on a flag football team… so perhaps that colors my opinion.”

    Try that again …

    Was he a sex offender BEFORE he coached? If not, finger prints are completely and utterly useless.

    Nobody is denying that in rare situations volunteers do molest their charges. But finger prints, back ground checks, etc. don’t actually make children safer since they can’t predict FUTURE behavior. So all they do is cost money and give parents a FALSE sense of security. The parents may be assured that no convicted child molesters are volunteering (something they can get by checking the sex registry) but have no way of knowing if unconvicted child molesters are volunteering.

  48. Emiky April 9, 2011 at 2:17 am #


    My thoughts exactly! I immediately doubted this cop knew anything about how the real world worked practically.

    As a teacher, I went through a CBC. I thought that was reasonable, but only because I was a professional. I currently work with Boy Scouts of America. We do CBCs… just because. I think both of those are completely reasonable.

    But it’s a Little League. The volunteers there are already family members, most likely, or friends of the family. It would be heartbreaking to run a CBC and find out Daddy is actually a sex offender, but to me, that means the family has bigger problems to worry about.

    Yes, in a larger organizations, requiring fingerprints would cull out a few wackos. But at this small level, it’s just not worth it.

    Plus we’ve already discussed the near-futility of such things.

    Here’s an idea: Check out potential volunteers on the local sex offender registry, if it’s such a big deal (despite the fact the slightest incident can get you on there). Decide from there.

  49. Frances April 9, 2011 at 2:22 am #

    I’m with @domestic spazz and @cached. It doesn’t matter whether the coach was an offender before…if someone is choosing to coach to have access to little kids then the police check or fingerprinting requirement might deter them. The police check makes more sense to me, though. I am not personally worried about submitting to one, because I don’t commit crimes; and I am not worried about the government having information with which to track me. I have a driver’s licence and a credit card, so guess what? They already do.

    This isn’t stranger danger. These are people in trusted relationships with a certain degree of power over the children…and isn’t that the group that stats show actually are most likely to offend? Even if that isn’t very often. so what? You want to have this kind of role with my kid, you should at least be willing to ante up.

    Of course we still need to teach safety. One does not preclude the other.

  50. Ginger April 9, 2011 at 2:34 am #

    I for one don’t find it the slightest bit excessive. I work for the public defender and despite having children whose parents have taught them the three R’s you refer to, they have STILL been abused. And your casual remark about you can’t be touched where your bathing suit covers is unbelievable. You can be groped while your clothes are on. Obviously, you have NEVER had the misfortune to see the damage that this kind of thing does to your kid. I personally don’t want ANYONE with a criminal record coaching my child. I say no precaution is too much, because once a child is abused, there is no going back to their innocence.

  51. Uly April 9, 2011 at 2:35 am #

    Great, sky – but do you spend as much time with your extended family as with your parents (or your mom and your stepdad)?

    Anecdotally from reading news reports it seems like that’s the #1 profile for physical abuse, so I wonder how it carries over into sexual abuse.

    Pretty sure that’s not just random anecdote, but something known to be true, that stepfathers and mom’s boyfriends are the perpetrators of a lot of abuse.

    It’s common enough that I recall reading a few hypotheses for why this would be so, it seems the most popular is that this is just a nasty little evolutionary holdover – that males in other species tend to actively kill off their rivals’ children after kicking the rival out (so as to give their own children better odds) and that humans may not be so different.

    But that was years ago that I read that, and obviously it’s never been tested or anything (how could it?) so there’s no way of proving or disproving that idea.

    I don’t see a problem with having the adults who want to work with them submit a fingerprint just to add a little more safety into the mix.

    How much are you willing to pay for this “little more safety”? No, that’s not a rhetorical question – how much are you willing to pay? And who is paying for it? How are you funding this? Are you increasing fees? That’s going to cause some children to be unable to participate altogether. Are you making the volunteers pay for this? That may cause your volunteer list to drop steeply, especially if they can’t then take the background check to other organizations in lieu of a new one. Are you keeping fees the same and paying for it by shifting funding around from other aspects of your program? Which aspects? Are you running more bake sales? Who has time for this? (Another non-rhetorical question.)

    Fingerprinting isn’t free. Background checks aren’t free. And while it’s crass to say it outright, the fact is that you have to decide how much you’re willing to pay for what you yourself call a “small” increase of safety.

    Not to mention that there are plenty of good, non-criminal people who refuse background checks because they’re offended at the very suggestion. You may say “If you have nothing to hide….”, but you’re not going to convince them. They’ll simply refuse to volunteer with your organization… and may I suggest that if you depend on volunteers you not only can’t afford to pay too much extra money, but you also can’t afford to lose half of them!

  52. Uly April 9, 2011 at 2:40 am #

    You can be groped while your clothes are on.

    Well, no duh, Ginger. And your clothes cover parts of you that aren’t covered by a standard bathing suit (your arms) and parts of you that ARE. For crying out loud, my younger niece understands this concept, and here you are a grown-up and you don’t?

    How about you tell us something we don’t know, though – what proportion of those kids were molested by non-relatives. I mean, that seems to be to be the pertinent fact here. Most of us are saying “Family tends to be the big culprit” and you’re saying… well, you’re not saying that’s not true, but you’re kinda implying it.

  53. Donna April 9, 2011 at 2:42 am #

    “This latter category of acquaintances (neighbors, ministers, teachers, coaches, babysitters, friends of the family) accounts for the largest number of molestation cases – 60%.”

    I don’t know where these statistics are coming from because this is not true at all. The most likely molester is a step-father/mother’s boyfriend. This is followed by more distant relatives (cousins, uncles, grandparents). Family friends make up a distant second (either the child’s parents’ friends or parents of the child’s friends). Acquaintances (teachers, coaches, etc.) come in third. Molestation by biological parents is indeed rare.

    You can’t just look at it as people know more acquaintances, therefore, are more likely to be molested by acquaintances. Child molestation takes time and privacy. Most children don’t spend lenghty periods of time alone with acquaintances. You spend lenghty periods of time alone with step-parents and other relatives. You may spend lengthy periods of time alone with friends. You don’t spend lengthy periods of time alone with coaches, teachers, neighbors, acquaintances.

    “And bear in mind that the typical molester has been molesting for a minimum of 15 years prior to being “caught” – i.e. some kind of legal record. ”

    This is also not true. This is mere speculation with no real valid way of proving it to be so. First, there is absolutely no such thing as a typical molester. Child molesters range in age from about 6 to dead, can be found in all races and all socio-economic backgrounds. Some molest repeatedly; some simply have become fixated on (“fall in love”) a particular child (usually a teenager). If they do molest repeatedly, they generally have a fixed age and sex – all the children they molest are the same basic age and sex – and don’t molest across the board. True pedophilia (attraction to prepubescent children) is rare with most child molestation victims falling in the 12 and up range.

  54. EricS April 9, 2011 at 2:51 am #

    @ Emiky: I often wonder how some cops get to be cops. Bunch of idiots.

    @ Matt L: This whole fingerprint thing just makes paranoid parents laxed. After all, if people were finger printed we’d know all about them so we don’t have to worry so much about our kids, and don’t have to keep an eye on them as much. As someone else said, it gives a false sense of security. This false sense of security will prevent them from actually teaching their kids. Most don’t now, they just shelter their children, pull them away from smiling strangers, and take things that MIGHT hurt them away. But never letting them know why, or how they can be more careful. Now imagine this kids growing up as adults, never learning these basics, now they are all on their own in the world. They basically screwed. I’m sure many of us know of adults like this.

    @ Cached: Of course it’s added precaution. But the problem lies in most people will only use this false sense of security and never teach their kids. They don’t use common sense along with it. Probably because they don’t really have them to begin with. I think parents and children should be educated first, a course of some kind, before they can participate. Once they aware of facts, and how to deal with situations, then implement the finger printing. The point is to see fingerprinting as a precaution to weed people out (ie. a former con, someone who’s had dealings with drug or alcohol abuse, or a record of violence), NOT because they feel everyone is a PEDOPHILE. Which as Lenore points out, a lot of people do think of when they hear “this person likes kids”. They have been conditioned to think only that.

    It’s really all about the mental state of parents and authorities. If they use this because they are fearful that EVERYONE is a possible pedophile, it’s a BAD THING. If they use this with the mentality that it’s an added procedure to weed out potential trouble makers (just like any background check for law enforcement, and high security positions), it’s a much healthier implementation of the process, by not targeting ONE specific issue (pedophilia).

  55. Ali April 9, 2011 at 3:07 am #

    Pentamom & Donna. My facts were from Feather Berkower who teaches a class on “Parenting Safe Children” and she spends quite a bit of time talking about the profile of a molester and how to teach your children basic body safety rules. She is a counselor with thousands of hours with victims and a book entitled “Off Limits”. I trust her numbers a bit more only because she’s local to me, and she’s using recent stats, not ones from 1988.

    A cursory internet search shows the National Institutes of Mental Health in 1988 (old stats!) puts the number at 177. The “comprehensive book of psychotherapy” puts the number over 150 of victims before a pedophile is caught.

    I didn’t just pull such a large number out of my butt. I do my research. It’s good to question though and I hope you would research as well.

    As far as how they do it? They groom, molest, threaten and move on. Once they move on a child has little incentive to talk and when they do, most of the time they are not believed. It’s how they ended up at the hands of a pedophile in the first place.

    Either which way, I think we can all agree that some children will be molested before a predator is caught and convicted. A a fingerprint card won’t help at all in that situation.

    For a real eye opener read “Conversations with a Pedophile.” and “Protecting the Gift”.

  56. Cheryl W April 9, 2011 at 3:15 am #

    I am willing to bet that most coaches, troop leaders and teachers who molest have already had these background checks and fingerprinting.

    For goodness sake, a state police officer in my area was recently convicted of molesting a pre-teenage girl. I am SURE that he had a background check and was finger printed! YET, that did NOTHING to help this girl. Perhaps a parent talking about appropriate boundaries would have helped some….perhaps not…he was a man with power to threaten real consequences toward her family members if he wanted.

    And background check – really not fool proof at all. When I moved to WA, to be in the school with my child and to talk to the speech therapist in her office, I had to sign a volunteer form that included a state of WA background check. BIG WOOP! I had moved there 3 days before school started, and had no record in any state, but they don’t check ALL states, just the state that we are currently in. Which strikes me as so Norman Rockwell – we don’t live in towns all our life any more, we move around.

    So, unless we are willing to background checks that cover the whole country (which I think is still not entirely possible for owning guns, although this is being pushed) you are not going to weed out anybody. And at that point, it will cost so much, that parents/schools/troops will not be able to afford this and what happens? Kids staying home sitting on the couch because it is too dangerous and not affordable to do anything else. And that would just be sad.

  57. Marty April 9, 2011 at 3:44 am #

    I wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving my kid with any organization that felt the potential for violence was so great that they had to fingerprint the adults involved…

  58. GB April 9, 2011 at 4:00 am #

    You have to be careful of all those little league coaches just waiting to molest a kid on that large field in front of a bunch of parents and fans in the stands.

    Too often it has been asked “what is your problem if you have nothing to hide”. This question seems to be used to justify every fear mongering policy that has ever been put forward to society.

    If you have nothing to hide why not

    -Let your house be randomly searched
    -Provide ID for the simplest transactions such as buying cough syrup.
    – submit to a full body scan

    – Go through a background check and fingerprinting to be a volunteer little league coach

    It doesn’t matter whether it is the government or society requesting this level of scrutiny. The affect is the same.

    This is a change that goes directly to the fabric of our society. It changes our society from one of bravery and courage to one of fear. From a society where a person is innocent until proven guilty to a society where a person is guilty until proven innocent. It is the difference between a society that respects rights and a society that fears rights.

    Once there were no CITIZENS there were only royal SUBJECTS. Slaves to the King. Then political, economic, social, religious, and cultural forces all collided creating to establish a new idea of individual value and freedom. This action transformed Royal Subjects into Sovereign Citizens.

    While the issue of background checks may seem small it is nothing less than the difference between freedom and slavery.

  59. pentamom April 9, 2011 at 4:24 am #

    “As far as how they do it? They groom, molest, threaten and move on. ”

    Which makes it all the harder to believe that there are significant numbers of people who have managed that 600 times before being caught, with the “typical” case being closer to 300. I’m having a hard time getting my mind around how anyone could be around hundreds — HUNDREDS — of kids vulnerable enough to allow this to happen in sufficient amounts of time, before anyone noticed something and put a stop to it. I can easily imagine it happening 2, 3, or even a dozen times, but 300 just strains credibility.

    I’m sure you’re not just making this up and I’m not suggesting you’re stupid, but I think you need to see whether there are more impartial sources for your stats.

    “Either which way, I think we can all agree that some children will be molested before a predator is caught and convicted. A a fingerprint card won’t help at all in that situation.”

    Absolutely. It’s just that bad information, even in the service of a correct conclusion, can backfire.

  60. pentamom April 9, 2011 at 4:26 am #

    Ginger seems to think that “no one can touch you where your bathing suit covers” is intended as a statement of fact — i.e., it’s impossible to touch you as long as you’re wearing a bathing suit. What’s meant by it is “you must not permit anyone to touch you where your bathing suit covers.”

    The context makes it quite clear that any sane person must have meant the latter, but when you read emotionally in reaction to something, ambiguity can go funny on you like that.

  61. Matt L. April 9, 2011 at 4:42 am #

    Because I have to submit to so many personal intrusions for work (Finance) this is a non issue to me. Every time i change jobs I get fingerprinted and pee-tested. This isn’t going to raise my hackles, however as Eric said it is no substitute for teaching kid to know their surroundings and trust their gut.

  62. Sean April 9, 2011 at 5:05 am #

    Can anyone provide the number of reported cases of molestation, touching, whatever by any sports volunteers? The odds have to be bizarrely low….

  63. Donna April 9, 2011 at 5:16 am #

    @ Ali – I agree with Pentamom that you need to look at some less biased statistics. Those don’t even make logical sense and they really don’t make sense to someone like me who works in the criminal justice system and deals with child molestation cases on a regular basis.

    The fact is that, while you can’t really generalize about the molester, you can about the victim, particularly the ones who don’t tell. They are typically vulnerable in some way – parents not emotionally available, drug addiction or abuse in the home, low self-esteem, socially isolated. For a pedophile to find 300 victims in a long lifetime would be amazing. And we arrest many people in their teens and early 20’s. They certainly haven’t had a chance to hit 300.

    “I think we can all agree that some children will be molested before a predator is caught and convicted. ”

    Actually, I don’t agree completely. I would say that SOME molesters will have molested others before being caught. Not all child molesters molest repeatedly. And some child molesters, who would molest repeatedly if given the chance, are caught the first time they molest.

    I do agree that fingerprints do nothing to stop a child from being molested.

  64. Lisa April 9, 2011 at 6:04 am #

    Lenore, I’d love to hear more about some of the common sense approaches you advocate to child safety. Things like the 3 R’s. Obviously I want my kids to be safe, but its almost like we forget how to teach the basics to our kids because we’re so worried about pedophiles lurking around every corner.

  65. Dave April 9, 2011 at 9:57 am #

    This is just sad. How do rational adults allow themselves to get to this place. I don’t don’t no how to respond to this.

  66. oncefallendotcom April 9, 2011 at 11:18 am #


    I call absolute bullshit on the 300+ victims myth. It is a misread of Gene Abel’s study on PARAPHILACS, that is, sexual behaviors not socially accepted at the time the 1986 study occurred. This was before the partial acceptance of homosexuality we see in today’s culture, and consensual homosexual acts were included in the outlandish numbers, along with stuff like fetishes and other sexual behaviors done in private but not discussed publicly. Gene Abel himself states that the acts (he studied number of acts, not number of victims) tended to be against the same individuals, suggesting a singular or smaller group of targets.

    The problem with statistics is they are not absolute, they are swayed by fear mongers who distort findings. Fear waves find stats that validate the fears at the time. Hell, there is a BIG difference in sex crime reporting in the 1960s and the 1980s. There were stats in the 1980s regarding kids molested by ritualistic satanic cults. Remember the Bakersfield Abuse case, where hundreds of kids claimed abuse? All bullshit. In fact, there is a good documentary on it.

    Unfortunately, even our statisticians are Capitalists. Big Tobacco had its stat makers. We’ve discovered the same for this in the Big Registry industry. Remember when the 50,000 online sexual predator stat thrown around? Chris Hansen, the NBC anchor, made it up. We throw out a number out of thin air and see if it sticks. We quote, misquote, and generalize.

    There are a lot of factors behind it, but I have pinpointed the locus of this scare between mass media, John Walsh, and Feminism.

  67. Samantha April 9, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    I also live in New Jersey, and my town, Oaklyn, requires parent volunteers for Little League and Softball to have a background check if they want to help out with coaching. It’s completely absurd! Parents, not just random adults wanting to help out, but parents who have children on the team! After reading that in the e-mail from my daughter’s coach, any inkling of wanting to help out was gone…and I have nothing to hide.

  68. Larry Harrison April 9, 2011 at 11:57 am #

    Of course Lenore is right, as usual. This promotes the whole “guilty until proven innocent” realm of thinking and promotes an attitude and atmosphere of distrust. It is not just a “precaution to be sure” nor is the whole “in this day and age you can’t be too careful.” There is no more crime now vs then and you CAN be too careful.

    Coby “rooted” Android tablet

  69. Kiera April 9, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    What, are they gonna start fingerprinting all parents and any spectators that come watch the game too? Those people use the same restroom as the children do during games…..I think these things are going a little too far. We have to get all backround checks and fingerprinting done to do any time of volunteering at my child’s school. Its $60! I think it’s ridiculous that you cannot help set up a bookfair, read to your child’s class, help with parties or anything unless you have those clearances. I did obtain mine but the closest place to get my fingerprinting done is about 45 minutes away. Wow! That’s alot of work just to be involved.

  70. LisaPottie April 9, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

    Be interested to know which organisation is requiring the little league organisers to institute this practice – it’s mentioned in the linked article that it’s conditional on receiving grant money. Seems like paranoia is being / has been institutionalised.

  71. brenna April 9, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    as sad & crazy as this is I think it comes from parent’s fears. I’ve had friends who wouldn’t send their kids to a co-op preschool because they didn’t know the parents & they could be child molesters. The same friends wouldn’t invite classmates to their kids birthday parties if they didn’t know the parents because they didn’t want adults they didn’t know in their home.

  72. Amy Alkon April 9, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

    “No one can touch what your bathing suit covers”

    Except government employees at airports who play with your peepee in the name of “security theater.”

  73. oncefallendotcom April 9, 2011 at 9:42 pm #

    Of course this fear is institutionalized! I call Predator Panic “The Big Registry” for a reason. Much like Big Tobacco and Big Oil, the Big Registry is a multi-BILLION dollar industry, with special interest groups designed to keep the masses in fear to sell you everything from public registry software to GPS devices to DNA kits for your kids.

    John Walsh has blatantly lied to Congress, and the NCMEC paid him half a million dollars to lobby the Adam Walsh Act through Congress. What people don’t realize is the NCMEC gets a cut of every funding of that law, which John Walsh gets a cut of the NCMEC. It is hard to justify funding that asinine law without some scary numbers.

    We ARE a Capitalist system after all, and money is a great motivator. Fear sells, sex sells, what better way to mix the two than the “Sexual Predator?”

  74. pentamom April 9, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

    Last fall there was a big hoo-ha about the middle school kids on the cross country team having to wait 20-30 minutes in the public park because their coach was a HS teacher, and the HS lets out later than the middle school. So a mom stepped up to be the “volunteer assistant coach” to babysit them. She had to go through the whole background check — in order to hang around in the public park with 10 or so 12 and 13 year olds for half an hour. Any adult is allowed to be in that park when those kids are present for half an hour at any time, of course, but it didn’t “count” as “supervising” the kids until she got a background check.

    Of course there wouldn’t have been this issue in the first place if the mom of one of the 13 year olds hadn’t thought the public park in the nicest part of town was a scary place for a bunch of tweens to be “alone” together. So yeah, it’s definitely parents who drive these things, and schools and other institutions whose rules and liability bind them to such nonsense, but it’s still nonsense.

  75. GARY April 10, 2011 at 12:44 am #

    Please people. Show your references! When you post a statistic such as Typical molester has been active for 15 years, a molester on AVERAGE molests 300 before being caught. PROVE IT! Please. Where does this information come from? Some of it seems so off the wall it is hard to believe. Please tell us where it came from so we can judge for ourselves if it is a reliable source of information.

  76. Jim Collins April 10, 2011 at 1:15 am #

    I have to wonder how much of this BS is due to liability? One of the main reasons for Little League’s existence is that many municipal governments require that organized sports have insurance. This is probably a requirement for the league’s insurance. That way if something was to happen, they could point to this requirement to show that they tried to prevent it. Most of the BS I have seen on this site can be boiled down to liability prevention.

  77. Library Diva April 10, 2011 at 1:44 am #

    Jim Collins took the words right out of my mouth. I used to work at a museum that attracted a lot of children because of its subject matter. It was in a rural suburb and we had a tough time getting volunteers. The board who ran that place was completely insane, but one of the crazy things they worried about extensively was ‘pedophile awareness training’ for all the volunteers, along with full criminal background checks and even credit checks. It had nothing to do with the safety of the children, and everything to do with liability. Never mind that volunteers’ contact with children was pretty minimal and the odds of anything happening were unlikely in the extreme. They just didn’t want to get sued. They were terrified of it, and would rather chase off the volunteers than leave themselves open to the possibility.

  78. Jenn April 10, 2011 at 2:26 am #

    I’m a teacher and when I was first hired, my mom went with me to get fingerprinted (we laughed, “Did you ever thought you’d willingly help your child get fingerprinted?”). Every year, instead of having a background check done (and finger printing), I have to do an offense declaration, stating that I have not committed a criminal offense in the past year. Despite that, and have a clean record (naturally), I still had to be fingerprinted and have a background check done when I became a Scout leader for my son’s Beavers colony. The fees I paid was reimbursed through the funds that parents pay to register their child and I will have to do it again, every year that I am a volunteer. Ridiculous and excessive!

  79. ebohlman April 10, 2011 at 4:03 am #

    Library Diva: Credit checks for volunteers? That’s ridiculous, and has a hidden gotcha: each time you get a credit check, that fact itself is noted on your credit report. “Too many” times and it can affect your ability to borrow money (because it looks to a potential creditor like you’re trying to take out a whole bunch of loans) or even lead to an interest hike on existing loans. It can even affect your ability to get a job.

  80. Robin April 10, 2011 at 4:25 am #

    Whether this is being done for liability reasons, or “safety” reasons we need to stand up and tell them no. Maybe if enough people who would volunteer didn’t, they might reconsider. I will not be fingerprinted or background checked to be a volunteer. End of discussion. i don’t care what it’s for, I’ll say no first and I spend a lot of time volunteering for school and church things.

    Oncefallen has a good point about who makes money on all of these background checks. it always boils down to follow the money.

  81. oncefallendotcom April 10, 2011 at 4:30 am #

    Gary, most so-called child advocates made these stats up, and of the few that points to a source, most are misquoted or fatally flawed studies.


    Some of the more prevalent myths are covered here.

  82. Miss Substitute Teacher April 10, 2011 at 4:43 am #

    I’ve been getting police checks for my work since I was in high school because I work with children. Most places now at the very least require a police check of some kind because of issues that have arisen.

  83. Becca April 10, 2011 at 4:47 am #

    I haven’t read all the comments but I will say this. I worked for a nonprofit that helped kids out. Volunteers had to agree to a background check, which I did. I plugged in the name and SSN into the court database and sex offender register (which I know has its own issues) and as long as nothing came up, they were good. It was a quick way to ease parents worries and avoid law suites. No extra money or time was involved on either side ( I was getting paid for being their anyway). In the three years I worked there I never had to turn anyone down because of their background checks.

    Again in three years not one pedophile or person with an abuse charge or stalker charger or kidnapper charge, etc every came through the doors.

  84. pentamom April 10, 2011 at 5:42 am #

    There’s a certain logic to credit checks for volunteers — someone in very bad financial circumstances is more likely a candidate for embezzling or stealing.

    I’m not saying it’s justified, especially since as ebohlman points out too many checks can hurt your record, but I can see a logical reason for it.

  85. Nicola April 10, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    I’m just waiting for the time when no one volunteers to do anything with kids. Maybe once people stop bothering, they’ll figure out they’ve gotten their panties in such a bunch they have trouble pulling them back out of their cracks.

  86. jill schindler April 10, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    I help coach a USATF club, and our insurance requires that all coaches have a background check. Without one, we are not allowed to have an adult on the field. I am not a huge fan, but without insurance we cannot practice at either a school or a city facility. I am wondering if it is a condition imposed by the underwriter of the insurance policy.

  87. Kate April 10, 2011 at 9:13 pm #

    The school district where we live is requiring that all parent volunteers be fingerprinted starting next year. If you want to help in the classroom at all (which the teachers heavily rely on) you have to pay $20 and be fingerprinted. Same applies for field trip chaperones or moms and dads wanting to go to the Valentine Party for 15 minutes. My husband takes work off annually to do a presentation at school for kids about bike safety…he will now have to PAY to do this. I think it’s beyond ridiculous and unfortunately the schools are going to lose a lot of free help, including me. As others have said….when there are no longer willing adults to support these activities maybe the rules will change.

  88. SgtMom April 10, 2011 at 11:30 pm #

    “Ali, on April 9, 2011 at 03:07 said:
    Pentamom & Donna. My facts were from Feather Berkower ”

    Ali – has it not occurred to you “Feather” is a fear monger? That she is selling a product – fear – and is making bank by your foolishness?

    I have seen this goof on TV and wondered how ANY one could not get through her first sentence without laughing.

    It’s like all celebrity ‘saviours” once you scratch the surface you find the reason for their “concern” for YOUR precious child – which is nothing but $$$$$$$.

    Wise up!

  89. Jenny Islander April 11, 2011 at 12:48 am #

    I have said it before and I will say it again: We have too many lawyers. In the words of Tom Paxton:

    Oh, a suffering world cries for mercy!
    As far as the eye can see,
    Lawyers around every bend in the road,
    Lawyers in every tree.
    Lawyers in restaurants,
    Lawyers in clubs,
    Lawyers behind every door;
    Behind windows and potted plants,
    Shade trees and shrubs–
    Lawyers on pogo sticks,
    Lawyers in politics . . .
    In ten years we’re gonna have one million lawyers!
    How much can a poor nation stand?

  90. Library Diva April 11, 2011 at 5:00 am #

    I thought the concept of doing credit checks on the volunteers was ridiculous as well. I should have clarified that we never actually did any of this stuff. We had so few volunteers, the folks that did volunteer were mostly high school kids who helped with one event and disappeared the moment we signed their community service papers, and besides, the museum had no money. But it was the subject of extensive discussion. I think maybe it was easier for some of them to focus on than how we were going to close our yawning budget gaps.

  91. BB-Idaho April 11, 2011 at 6:20 am #

    42 states require that teachers have background checks and that the teacher pay for them.

  92. Selby April 11, 2011 at 9:13 am #

    “I got involved in our Catholic school. For us to do ANYTHING with the kids.. we have to be Virtus certified. No exceptions. This means when we get a new family in all ready to help and volunteer (which is rare), we have to tell them no until they are certified. We have lost so many parent participants because of this.”

    @Mel, and with whom, exactly, do the bulk of child abuse/molestation incidents within the Catholic church lie? The volunteer parents? I think not…

  93. Jen April 11, 2011 at 9:36 am #

    PA requires that a teacher has a total of 3 background checks prior to entering the classroom: criminal record check, child abuse record check and finger printing. This totals to almost $100. At our local districts, once you’ve done this ONCE, if you don’t leave the district, you don’t have to have it re-done for your entire teaching career. If, on the other hand, you take more than 2 weeks of vacation or sick leave during any year, you have to resubmit your clearances.

    As an education student, I spent that same $100 EVERY year, because we did an in-school placement every year, and the clearances are only valid for 12 months. It’s absolutely ridiculous. I submitted to it because it was what I thought I wanted to do with my life. NCLB and standardized testing have since changed my mind unless I can find work in a private school that doesn’t accept federal funds and is therefore immune to the dot-filling insanity. I refuse to submit to it to volunteer for activities my daughter will want to do when she gets older on principle.

  94. fritanga April 11, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    I suggest everyone on this board rent Greg Araki’s “Mysterious Skin.” Afterward I’ll bet you’ll spend thousands to get background checks on everyone who comes in contact with your children. Sorry.

  95. Maya April 11, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

    Fritanga, what exactly are you sorry for? For suggesting that everyone rent this fictional piece of psychological BS thriller porn passing as cinematic art, “Mysterious Skin,” and letting that be the basis for how we raise children? For suggesting we all live in fear based on one twisted director’s vision? For suggesting he somehow profit from our fear?

    Apology not accepted. Sorry.

  96. Heather April 11, 2011 at 9:05 pm #

    @fritanga: Films are not the best place to get your parenting tips. And that one just takes a bunch of TV tropes and pulls them together into what I presume was an effective package.


  97. Uly April 12, 2011 at 1:36 am #

    Fritanga, how funny! I suggest that everybody watch Mary Poppins to see what happens when you don’t take background checks! (Better yet, read the books.)

    Selby, fun fact, only about 4% of priests active in that time period were ever accused of anything. Admittedly, this is a lot higher than I’d like to see (I’d be really upset if I thought 4% of the general population was likely to molest a kid they had power over!), but from the media you’d think it was ten times that high!

  98. Beth April 12, 2011 at 2:33 am #

    Fritanga, do you really spend thousands for background checks on everyone who comes in contact with your child? The lunch lady at school? The librarian at the public library? The custodian at your church?

    I’m sure you’re just a post-and-runner, but I’d really like to know.

  99. JennB April 14, 2011 at 12:02 am #

    I just attended the Virtus training last night in order to volunteer as the youth minister for my parish. I agree that we need to be aware, but educating our kids in the 3 R’s are a must as well.

    As for Selby’s comment about who are the pedophiles in the church- just because a few men did terrible thiings does not put all priests in the same box.. Pedopiles have been folks with other jobs too.

    According to the gentleman leading the training, daycares are some of the leading places for pedophiles – and these people are women. So, should we never send our child to daycare beacuse a woman may do something bad?? Or should I just villify all daycare workers because of a few bad apples?

  100. Tuppence April 14, 2011 at 2:31 am #

    @JennB — exactly re. church. Beggars belief that that needs explicit explaining. From this crowd anyway, I would have expected better.

  101. pentamom April 14, 2011 at 5:27 am #

    I think if we’re going to base our information on how to protect our children on fiction, we couldn’t do better than Carl the Rottweiler. From this, we can learn that it is sensible to leave an infant in the sole care of a large dog. 😉

  102. Lawson April 14, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

    BINGO…. you got the flaw in fear mongers arguments… Don’t talk with anyone but listen to me !!!

  103. Uly April 14, 2011 at 11:09 pm #

    Pentamom, no joke, there are scads of negative reviews on Amazon saying JUST THAT.

  104. pentamom April 14, 2011 at 11:53 pm #

    Uly, I don’t think I could be less surprised. :-/

  105. pentamom April 15, 2011 at 12:36 am #

    Just wasted my time reading the reviews of “Good Dog, Carl” on Amazon. It’s sad that people with so little sense of humor and so little grasp of the difference between fantasy and what would be horrible if it were real, and so little creativity about how to handle a toddler misunderstanding fantasy, are raising kids. Not that I want their kids taken away! It’s just kind of a sad thought. I wouldn’t quibble with someone who said they preferred not to put that example in front of their kids — it was the “This is a horrible book that mocks child neglect” people that got me.

    I just kind of “accidentally” missed those books for my kids, but had I wanted to read them to my kids, and had I any concern about imitative behavior or their getting the wrong ideas in any way, I wouldn’t even have had to think about it to know that I should just say, “Isn’t that silly!” Or “look how silly, everybody knows you can’t do THAT!” as particular things were depicted.

    The parent who was complaining that the book gave her kid “permission” to climb out of his crib got me most. If the child really is capable of understanding that kind of “permission,” then he’s capable of understanding that you don’t have “permission from a book” to do anything that mom forbids you to do. Of course a toddler won’t get that the first time, and might go ahead and do it but there’s no reason the mom is rendered forever unable to teach him to climb out of his crib because he saw it in a Carl book!

  106. Robin April 15, 2011 at 4:10 am #

    Pentamom – It’s the same parents that won’t let their kids read Harry Potter for fear they’ll want to become wizards. If we as parents can’t teach our kids the difference between fact and fiction, then we’re truly lost. Sigh.

  107. Uly April 15, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    Oh, that’s nothing Pentamom. I occasionally read negative Amazon reviews for the lulz, as we say, and the funniest ones ever have to be the negative ones to The Going to Bed Book.

    I won’t spoil it for you, you have to read them for yourself. (I actually replied to most of them, I thought they were that stupid!)

  108. JP Merzetti April 16, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

    Hmmmm. A cash grab? Pay to play?
    I liked that point about how fingerprints do not catch anyone with a clean record.
    And it’s just a little chilling, to recall the simple fact that many peds are quite adept at the high art of “secret keeping” with their victims…….so what good is fingerprinting anyhow?
    But perhaps it’s a good corporate business move, now – show the shell-shocked public that they’re doing something.
    I can truly sympathize with the whole reaction of self-repecting decent people winding up desgusted while trying to volunteer out of the goodness of their hearts.

    And how pathetic we truly have become, when “loving children” leaps into frightnight news headlines, and tickles to death everyone’s worst nightmare.
    Suppose we wind up with a whole lot less love in the world?
    Kids need all the love they can get.
    Never more so than now.

  109. Kelly April 16, 2011 at 10:59 pm #

    I agree with the comment that questioned how requiring fingerprinting of school/coach volunteers STOPPED you from teaching your child common sense ways to help themselves stay safe (the three R’s or some other technique.)

    By all means, children should be taught how to recognize and report abuse. ..but I think it is RIDICULOUS that parents would actually strongly object to having a background check in place for school volunteers! My son is 3 and very independent – but as a parent I just don’t get why you’d object to having another measure in place that could possibly deter someone who shouldn’t be around children from doing so.

    Oh, and I am also a teacher and I can tell you that I do NOT rely heavily on parent volunteers – so if you think that cancelling your “15 minute stop” into the Valentine’s Day party (in protest to a measure put in place to protect your child) is somehow a huge deal, think again.

  110. Beth April 17, 2011 at 1:34 am #

    Kelly, I’m glad you’re not teaching my children.

  111. pentamom April 17, 2011 at 4:29 am #

    Omigoodness Uly that was UNBELIEVABLE! Objecting to “exercising before bed” and it being confusing that “all kinds of animals” were on a boat, which was “out of context!” LOL!!!! I’ve only read a few so far but those were amazing. I guess I’m behind the times — don’t people read Dr. Seuss anymore except to complain about leaving kids home alone?

    I needed the laugh — I just received some very bad family news today. I’m still tempted to be depressed at the thought of people like that raising the kids, but the reviews themselves are good for a laugh.

  112. Uly April 20, 2011 at 12:37 am #

    LOL, yes. I love Amazon reviews sometimes, if you pick the right ones they’re bound to be good for a laugh : )

    (I actually went ahead and replied to most of those negative reviews. No responses yet…!)

    I’m sorry about your bad family news, and hope it either gets better fast (if it’s the sort of thing that gets better) or doesn’t get any worse (if it’s not).

  113. Uly April 20, 2011 at 12:38 am #

    Oh, hey, I repeated myself again. Well, if I’m too repetetetetetive, I guess it can’t be helped helped helped!


  1. So you want to spend an afternoon in your kid’s classroom helping make Mother’s Day cards … [Darleen Click] - April 18, 2011

    […] or show your kid how to use a pair of safety scissors, you are going to have to prove you’re not a pedophile. First Link: Dear Free-Range Kids: The school district where we live is requiring that […]