I was taken aback recently when a friend of mine told me he was going to have to be fingerprinted so he could chaperone a field trip for a local school. That's right fingerprinted and background checked just to be in the presence of school-age children.

My level of surprise has been echoed many times this young school year as those parents of students in Lafayette Parish Public Schools are finding out about this policy.  The policy requires that any school volunteer for any school-related event will need to have their past looked into.

Personally, I don't mind the background check and the reasoning behind it. I really do believe school officials have their head and their hearts in the right place.

What I do have concerns about is the privacy of what is contained in those reports. Granted, people who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear. However, there is no law that says this kind of background check can't become part of the public record when requested by court order.

Here's what the Louisiana Education Advocacy Group had to say on the subject.


Officials with the Lafayette Parish School System say the records will not be released. I am sure they won't be until a judge tells them they have to release them. Then you can bet the line of attorneys lining up to sue the school system will be long and never-ending.

I am sure background checks can turn up interesting information on people, especially people involved in a divorce, a political campaign, a custody battle, and certain business transactions. Which makes the fact that the Lafayette School System is requiring these background checks without the protocols in place to guard against litigation in the future so unsettling.

I guess this wouldn't be the first time a school system or school board has thought they operated in a different world than the real world in which we, the parents, volunteers, and chaperones, have to live in outside of school.

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