is just one of several letters I’ve gotten recently from parents frustrated or furious about having to get background checked before they can do something as simple as coach T-ball, or chaperon kids on a field trip. The idea is that somehow, in the time a parent is shepherding a gaggle of goofy kids around the prehistoric mammal diorama, he or she could easily molest them or groom them for later depravity.
Particularly galling is the fact — FACT! — that in Pennsylvania, where this particular parent is writing from and Jerry Sandusky’s legacy looms large, Jerry himself would have passed all these background checks.
A society where we are taught to automatically regard everyone as a threat is sick, sad and cruel. Wasteful, too. (Think TSA.) If you have stopped volunteering because of all the distrust and hoop-jumping, please let me know.
Dear Free-Range Kids:
I’ve had enough of the “If it saves one” mentality that is taking over our ability to think rationally. Right now, I am pulling my hair out getting things ready for the end-of-the-year party tomorrow. Sadly, I’m the only volunteer. I don’t mind throwing the party (old school outdoor games like relay races and water balloon tosses), but when I got home tonight, I found this email about the requirements to volunteer next year.
I honestly don’t think I’m going through the hassle.
This is RIDICULOUS to require someone to have this to VOLUNTEER.
They are children, not nuclear bombs.
New volunteer requirements in Pennsylvania:
“1. PA Criminal Record Check – Required by all volunteers –Access this website to complete your online PA Criminal Record check: https://epatch.state.pa.us/Home.jsp
a. Completed online, instantly available to print, save and/or provide electronically.
2. PA Child Abuse History Clearance – Required by all volunteers – This is the website you will use to access the online application for your PA Child Abuse Clearance:
a. Completed online and will be mailed and emailed within 14 days.
3. FBI Federal Criminal History Record Check – Required by some volunteers – This is the website you will use to access the online application for your FBI fingerprint check:
This is a 2-STEP process – (1) register and pay on-line (2) go to a fingerprinting site to have your fingerprints submitted electronically. You may also schedule an appointment through the district to have the fingerprints completed.
b. Volunteers are exempt from this requirement if they:
· Have resided within Pennsylvania consecutively for the past 10 years; AND
· Complete and return the attached Volunteer Affidavit on page three.
c. Volunteers who have not resided within PA for the past 10 years must complete.
· Registration is completed online, a physical appointment is necessary.
· A receipt with the registration number must be provided to Human Resources.
State Police and Child Abuse clearance fees will be waived by the state effective July 25, 2015. New volunteer clearances must be dated within one year. By law, if you do not have these documents submitted on or before their expiration date, your ability to volunteer will be in jeopardy.”
Here’s what’s in jeopardy: a society that believes in innocence until proven guilty. – L.