Thursday, June 07, 2007

Come Here Often, Little Girl?

For the last 33 years, I’ve been running a program on the college’s FM station for the visually impaired and homebound. We read pertinent parts of the newspaper every day, so people can keep in touch with the local community and hear what’s going on that they would not get on tv. It’s real popular.

For 29 of those years, it’s also been a spot where high school students could work off community service credits for religious programs, graduation requirements, or just because they thought it was a good thing to do.

Then someone decided people who worked with children or teens were probably pervs; if not probably, then possibly; if not that, then there existed the chance. In any event, we were worthy of suspicion; earlier, we were trusted helpers.

That sure puts a damper on your relationships with the help. With all the emphasis on what could possibly happen, the adult is now a person to be watched carefully; the volunteer, on the other hand, is a lawsuit waiting to happen should there be any sort of misunderstanding. What used to be fun now becomes slightly tense, as you spend half your brain making sure you are safe, the other half doing your work.

Are we safer than before? Probably not. I just got my “not a pervert” papers from the Commonwealth, showing I have no record in Pennsylvania. They didn’t check elsewhere. It doesn’t say I’m ok, just that I don’t have a record. The vast majority of pervs don’t; but, as I mentioned back on May 29, the inspection makes people feel good.


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