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Catholic schools adopt fingerprinting policy, too

diocese.gifOakland’s public school (would-be) volunteers aren’t the only ones being asked to dip their thumbs into ink for criminal background checks.

The Catholic Voice, a publication of the Diocese of Oakland, reported this week that volunteers in the Catholic schools and parishes will soon have to do so as well.

Nancy Libby, coordinator of the diocesan Safe Environment Project, told the Voice that it’s not enough to screen volunteers who work with children against the Megan’s Law registered sex offender database:

Libby said the diocese wants to ensure that volunteers — just like employees — are “the type of people who ought to be around children in our schools and parishes.”

The article said that the diocese invested $30,000 in Live Scan fingerprinting machines. It didn’t mention who was covering the cost of processing the prints, or whether parents will be stuck with the tab. When Libby returns my call, I’ll let you know.

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • http://www.greenstampede.com Chris Dobbins

    It is not just Catholic Schools, but since I have run the Children’s Liturgy Program at St. Paschal’s Church (basically Sunday School during Mass) for the past couple of years, I had to be finger printed through a Livescan machine also; this just for volunteering to work with children at Sunday Mass. I understand the importance of a fingerprinting policy, but the district should make provisions to help parents who can not afford it. In addition, TB testing is another important factor to consider. The district definitely needs volunteers, but we do not want to make it cost (and/or time) prohibitive to do so. I would be interested to see what is the policy at the various Charter Schools?

  • Jim Mordecai

    With over 30 Oakland charter schools finger print policy with regard to adult volunteers will most likely vary. To State Superintendent Mathews comment that charter schools are public schools this issue is an example why one must discriminate between charters and public schools. Parents of charter school parents must understand that charters may or may not have the same policies as a public school and may or may not equally protect the safety of students.

  • Nextset

    Livescanning is essential to background everyone from the janitor to the principal and all the volunteers. It’s not up for debate. If a private school doesn’t use the access they have to screen staff they are operating in an unsafe manner.

    Unfortunately we don’t background the students and their families.

    Yet.

    Aberrant students and families now constitute the greatest threat to safety since staff are screened. And Yes, The TB situation is worth discussing. TB is endemic in Mexico and other 3rd world countries. Drug-Resistant TB can have a 50% kill rate. Oakland has the distinction of having previously had the state’s worst TB pediatric problem causing a temporary state takeover of your TB control office.

    Are teachers alerted to which students have known latent TB infection – so you will think TB should they develop a cough instead of thinking hay-fever? No. The Orange County High School Drug Resistant TB outbreak was the nations worst public school outbreak which resulted in approx 20 students being infected and at least one having a lung removed. Some of the infected students didn’t share the classroom with patient zero, they were in later classes. It’s the shared air that is the transmission vector, you may not even see patient zero. In that case the (known to be skin test positive) student developed a cough which was dismissed as allergies and stuck around until his/her health collapsed. When the hospital Dx’ed the patient and called the health dept the infection was traced to the other students – strains of TB can be dna matched, there was no disputing the infection trail.

    Safety is not mission one for the schools at this time. It’s up to the employees to complain to OSHA and their union loudly if the school is run in an unsafe manner. In-service annual training by public health is essential for staff at urban schools to get a clue about what’s going around, who’s getting it, and what to look for to refer to medical. Violence & criminality is bad, but I am now seeing more people with pieces of them cut out for MRSA in the courthouses than any other bandaging.

    And you are probably more likely to see MRSA now than drug resistant TB. Are the public teachers trained to recognize MRSA skin infections? The slideshow and lecture might take 20 minutes.