First up, the ex-drug addict mom who just wants to volunteer. Okay, so Jessica Gianfranco from Rhode Island had two felony convictions in her early twenties for drug possession (she was a heroin addict). Fast forward 6 years. She went through detox, became a mom (apparently right around the time she quit), is in a 12 step-program. Her daughter is in kindergarten. Mom wants to be a PTA volunteer at her daughter's school, helping with events and going on field trips.
If you volunteer at any school, you can see where this is going. They ask you to do a background check and the form asks if you have been convicted of a felony.
The ACLU is now involved because drug addiction is considered a disability (along with being a prosecutable crime).
Now I personally don't see the ACLU on these grounds but more on the issue that a criminal record or drug-related disability isn't a barrier to employment, just to being a volunteer. She has been a correspondence coordinator for the PTA but she can't work with children or at events where children are.
She said she believes the school system does need a policy regarding those with criminal records.
"I don't want a child molester in the school with my daughter either, but they need some type of discretion."
Now I looked at a couple of parenting sites and it's "she made a mistake years ago, be forgiving" or "look, she had felonies and I wouldn't want her around my kids".
As a former PTSA co-president and having served on many Boards all I can think of, for both the school and the PTSA is....liability. Sure, you could ask the School Board to draw up a list of "okay" felonies and "not okay" felonies (plus how far out they occurred in a person's life) but if just one person who gets approved from the "okay" list does something, there will be a lot of finger-pointing (not to mention lawsuits).
I get this woman is turning her life around but I don't know how much I would want to change the policy. Thoughts?
Then, we have the middle school in Mississippi (75% white, 25% black now but I don't know the stats from 30 years ago) where they have the kids nominate and vote by race for class officers. Yes, in order to have diversity, they rotate the offices and list them as "white" or "black". Initially, the superintendent was "reviewing" the processes and procedures but yes, now that it has national attention, the School Board got rid of the policy.
I say this a lot but it's freakin' 2010, are you kidding me? How did NO one ever say anything? Was it really impossible for any black student to get elected without this so-called help? I seriously doubt it.