Too Little, Too Late?

These days, it seems to be all about ID, all the time.

This week I had to go get my driver’s license renewed. Even though I proved four years ago that my marriage is valid in the State of New Jersey, the first time I had to get that special “fake-proof” driver’s license, I had to dig out that marriage certificate again. Not the one from the church, people. The one from the State is the only one they will accept. We won’t discuss the time and gas I wasted on this one, for the second time.

Then I got a letter from the kids’ school. It seems that if I want to continue as a school volunteer, I not only have to go through the VIRTUS training program (done, 3 years ago), but I now have to be fingerprinted and issued a Diocesan ID.

I am going to be treated like a criminal (and required to present, AGAIN, the very same IDs that I had to present this week to the DMV or whatever they’re calling it these days) so that I can stamp library books in my children’s parochial school.

Yes, the parish will pick up the tab (and believe me, I’ll be turning in that receipt!) but the cost is not the point. And believe me, I’m all for Protecting God’s Children. Again, that’s not the point.

Most of the people who are involved in school volunteering, Scouting, coaching and Religious Education are parents. That’s not to say that parents are blameless and that they would never endanger their own children or their children’s friends or classmates. But the vast majority of people who have put the children in the kind of danger that has caused us to need VIRTUS are not parents. Yet we parents must pay. I’ve already paid for my fingerprinting tab through my tuition and my weekly contributions to the parish–so when they reimburse me, it’s just my own money coming back once when I’ve paid twice. Not to mention the time and gas that I’m going to just consider wasted. And apparently, if I forget to bring and wear that Diocesan ID, the school can tell me that I can’t help in the library today.

I wonder how many volunteers the Church and schools will lose because of this policy? I’m not going anywhere, but I’m quite sure that this will chase people off.

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One thought on “Too Little, Too Late?

  1. […] Since 2006 I have been VIRTUS-certified so that I could volunteer and substitute-teach in a Catholic…. I have had to attend the class (which, having also been through the Boy Scouts’ Youth Protection Training, was less informative than the class the BSA offered). I’ve had to go to the really sketchy places in semi-abandoned industrial parks every 3 years to get my fingerprints done. (How sketchy, you ask? How about so creepy-people-in-the-elevator-sketchy, you think it’ll be safer to take the stairs on the way out — because at least you can run if you’re on the stairs? Yeah, that sketchy.) And to be honest, I haven’t had the best attitude about all of that, because I feel like I was being treated like a criminal because some other people were criminals. […]

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