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Thread: Background Checks for School Volunteers?

  1. #31
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    Are you guys familiar with typical patterns common to actual child abuse situations. It would not be typical for an adult to - say- rape or fondle a child they barely know in their 5 minutes alone with them in a school bathroom. Nothing about occasional volunteers in the school doing normal parental volunteer things (PTO sales, spring fair set up, handing out donuts on donuts with dad day etc) lends itself to the sort of grooming that a pedophile would do- the trust they would establish, the time it would take them to develop a relationship that could then become predatory. I just think that it's totally okay for- say- a parent volunteer to walk my child (my verbal well versed on stranger danger good touch v bad touch etc) to a bathroom on a field trip or volunteer to lead his team on flag day without having to be background checked. The stats are clear this THIS is not where abuse is happening. So this check is, like, wasting time in a problem that does not exist. It's paranoid thinking. If you are worried that a parent volunteer might be a kidnapper or something a background check won't do anything to prevent that- that's all about your schools safety and security procedures. So many people don't worry about those but god forbid pop pop doesn't get a background check before coming to be a mystery reader! It's silly.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Potter75 View Post
    Are you guys familiar with typical patterns common to actual child abuse situations. It would not be typical for an adult to - say- rape or fondle a child they barely know in their 5 minutes alone with them in a school bathroom. Nothing about occasional volunteers in the school doing normal parental volunteer things (PTO sales, spring fair set up, handing out donuts on donuts with dad day etc) lends itself to the sort of grooming that a pedophile would do- the trust they would establish, the time it would take them to develop a relationship that could then become predatory. I just think that it's totally okay for- say- a parent volunteer to walk my child (my verbal well versed on stranger danger good touch v bad touch etc) to a bathroom on a field trip or volunteer to lead his team on flag day without having to be background checked. The stats are clear this THIS is not where abuse is happening. So this check is, like, wasting time in a problem that does not exist. It's paranoid thinking. If you are worried that a parent volunteer might be a kidnapper or something a background check won't do anything to prevent that- that's all about your schools safety and security procedures. So many people don't worry about those but god forbid pop pop doesn't get a background check before coming to be a mystery reader! It's silly.
    I hear you. And I agree.

  3. #33
    Posting Addict Rivergallery's Avatar
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    I have different idea.. anyone that can't be alone with children never is let back into society, then we would never need background checks
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  4. #34
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    I get what you're saying, Melis, but I do believe that predators can & do groom students at school even if the abuse doesn't happen there. And over the course of a school year, they can get to know the kids pretty well. Yes, the kids need to be aware of stranger danger and good touch/bad touch and all that, but when they know someone is trusted with them at school, they might be more likely to trust that person outside of school more than they should. I don't think common sense should be dropped simply because someone has a volunteer badge, but I have no problem at all with PopPop needing to be screened before being given access to my kids. We are always running into people at the grocery store, on the bus, walking down the street, that my daughter says is or was a volunteer at school, and the thought of those dozens of people having access to her on a weekly basis without any kind of screening is rather horrifying.
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  5. #35
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    Jerry Sandusky would have passed a background check 18 mos ago. It's a fake sense of security.

  6. #36
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    I agree, I think it's a fake sense of security too.
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  7. #37
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    If the world worked the right way, Jerry Sandusky would have been in prison after the first-known incident came to light in 2002, which was two years before my kids were born. That was not a fake sense of security, it was the failure of Penn State to make him take responsibility for what they knew he did to that boy. Background checks, or the threat of having one done, is keeping at least the three parents at our school that I know have convictions for violent crimes, from having easy access to my kids, and that is NOT a bad thing.
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  8. #38
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    You aren't getting my point.

  9. #39
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    I dont think it is a false sense of security. No one is saying that just because background checks are done everything is hunky dorry. They are ONE TOOL, and one I am happy is used here. And I agree that by having the adult in the school and the teacher sending the child to be alone with them, it makes them a trusted adult to the child and that is when the grooming and abuse can start.
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    I do not think background checks are a bad thing if you are going to be alone with a child. I do see Melissa's point, however I do know of teachers that have molested students in the classroom. While tragic and rare it does happen. If a background check would help only a handful of kids, it would still be worth it. That said, it is a waste to do a check on every single volunteer. I would think only those that will be alone with the children.

    I am thinking of a teacher that taught in WNY when my mother was a child in 5th grade. It was well known among the students that the teacher would take the students into the back room and molest them. No one ever turned them in. 30 years later when my cousin was in the same school with the same teacher, the same thing was happening. She and a few other students reported it, and 30 years of abuse came to light. I am not sure that a background check could have helped in that situation, but I wanted to point out that abuse can happen during school. When I went to school there was a huge mess with my Earth Science teacher sleeping with the students. After that happened, it came to light that he had been fired in two different States for the same situation, but no one had checked with his past employment before hiring him. I am not saying this is common, it is not. It does happen though.

    ~Bonita~

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