Brits ban parents from playgrounds

In Watford, England, parents can’t watch their own kids in playgrounds, unless they’ve submitted to a criminal records check. It’s all in the name of protecting children from pedophiles. Parents are guilty till proven innocent.

Mums and dads must stay outside the fence at two adventure playgrounds while “play rangers,” public employees cleared by the police, supervise the children.

Concerns were raised last night that other councils around the country are adopting similar policies amid confusion over Government rules and increasing hysteria over child protection.

Via Mark Steyn on The Corner.

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  1. > Parents are guilty till proven innocent.

    Yes, well, if you’re so sanguine about it, let’s forget about background checks for teachers, daycare workers, and any one else, because they all presume people are “guilty until proven innocent.”

  2. Wow, how long before background checks for parents before they get to keep their own kids at home? Or are we just going to “outsource” procreation, like they did in Brave New World?

  3. John Drake says:

    I’m sure Downes Syndrome would prefer that all children be raised in creches controlled by the state.

  4. I wonder how long it will be before I have to be cleared by the state before I can host a birthday party or a play date. Gotta make sure I’m not a pedophile, it’s all for the children, you know!

    Maybe they should clear me as a non-pedophile before I have children?

  5. Eric Jablow says:

    I’d go with Glenn’s suggestion: tar, feathers.

  6. greeneyeshade says:

    For what it’s worth, the Daily Mail isn’t the last word in reliability. I remember how it blew one British school’s decision not to teach the Holocaust, stupid as that was, into a national educational crisis.
    (I remember how it’s Harry Potter’s mean, stupid Uncle Vernon’s favorite paper, too.)

  7. Like all things blown out of proportion, there is a small kernal of truth to this. Family members really are the most dangerous group when it comes to child abuse/molestation. I’m not saying this is a reasonable response to the issue.

  8. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    A number of school employees–teachers, coaches, aides, etc., have been convicted of child molestation in our state. These people all had valid background checks. A background check only means that someone hasn’t been caught yet. I think that someone who would apply for a job as a “play ranger” would be more likely than a parent to be a pedophile.

  9. Margo/Mom says:

    This is a tough one. In my opinion, background checks are not the most effective means of ensuring protection, particularly when it comes to broad-based community activities and volunteers. I believe that BSA has incorporated some other mechanisms that are more appropriate for non-professionals, as well as providing a level of protection even from folks who haven’t been caught yet. This includes things like no one adult/one child types of contacts. It would seem as though for the same expense, play rangers could monitor the kinds of adult-child contact, maybe even do some gentle sharing of “best practices” as appropriate (you know–not calling your child stupid, watch language in front of the kiddies–whatever emerges).

  10. Anonymous says:

    You know what? at some point we just have to let go. I would never patronize a playground that had paid adults supervising my interaction with my children. A teeenager whose job was physical safety — think lifeguards — fine; a nanny telling me how to interact with my child, not so much. That’s the job of the other parents present, and they do it strictly on a “concerned community person” level, not as a paid job.

  11. “Family members really are the most dangerous group when it comes to child abuse/molestation.”

    This may be true, but then you’re talking about families members abusing their kids at home for the most part, not out in public. So should we have continual in-home monitoring of everyone? This notion boils down to this: you have to have a license to go out in public.

  12. Free citizens should be able to go to the public playground with their children. Their tax dollars paid for it. They also should enjoy the presumption of innocence.

    Even if they were convicted pedophiles, they should be able to go to a public park with their children. This is the sort of hysteria which requires people to live under highway overpasses in the states.

  13. I’m once again reminded of a passage from Walter Miller’s great novel “A Canticle for Leibowitz”..

    “To minimize suffering and to maximize security were natural and proper ends of society and Caesar. But then they became the only ends, somehow, and the only basis of law – a perversion. Inevitably, then, in seeking only them, we found only their opposites: maximum suffering and minimum security.”

  14. Bill Leonard says:

    As I read this, I am stunned and amazed (to coin a cliche) at the people who ultimately think this is not a bad idea. Incredible! I expect it will be implemented here (in selected liberal areas of the US) next.

    And why, do you think, there are more and more libertarians, conservatives, and even independents (read: subversives, in the time of The Anointed One) educating their children at home?


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