Schools are demanding fingerprints, criminal background checks and references from would-be volunteers, including parents offering to chaperon on field trips. The checks can cost volunteers as much as $100, discouraging parents from getting involved.
In California, the volunteer’s fingerprints are checked against a data base of sex offenders, but other criminal convictions — that 20-year-old marijuana arrest — won’t turn up. A TB test also is required. And I had to vow to support the U.S. and California constitutions, though the latter could use some serious trimming, in my opinion.