9.30.2010

I Got My Hall Pass

The girls came home from school today with the piece of paper I've anxiously been awaiting these past few weeks. The piece of paper that lets me saunter into the girls school with my head held high. The piece of paper that finally allows me to volunteer every week in the classrooms or on the field trips. The piece of paper that states I'm TB free ... and I'm not a registered sex offender.

I've had Embassy security badges that came through faster than this clearance. However, while a small part of me rolls my eyes into the back of my head when I think about the steps I had to take to get myself cleared to volunteer at the school ... submitting my yellow immunization card showing that I had a recent TB test, photo copying my driver's license, signing a form stating that I'm not a registered sex offender, and agreeing to have a background check completed ... another part of me appreciates that the district is making the effort to ensure the kids are safe around me.

Honestly though, they should probably worry more about my OCD with cleanliness and structure than my communicable diseases. I don't plan on sharing blood, and I already know the rules about hugging or kissing, even if it IS my own kid in the classroom.

As the spouse to a Federal Agent, whose career is primarily based around security, I have a heightened awareness of security. Almost to a fault.

In all of our overseas postings, we had to unfortunately be more concerned about terrorism than pedophilia. Matt's office routinely worked with the preschools and International Schools to ensure the safety of all children enrolled. Some overseas schools inherently understood the importance of security (Oman and Israel), while others remarkably just didn't get it (Chennai). In fact, some overseas schools should probably adopt some of the more stringent requirements that we're doing here in Southern California, not only for the parents, but more importantly for its staff as well ... including things like hiring a security manager who focuses on safety rather than on allegedly schtupping nannies in his office. Though I digress...

Despite my sarcasm about these rules for what I call "window dressing" security, I'm happy to follow along. Because everyone knows that once I'm comfortable, not only will I get more involved, I'll even begin to vocalize my thoughts about where the school should focus their security efforts. Like putting a fence around their sandy playground, or devising a safer and more organized drop off / pick up where kids aren't strewn about the front and side of the school. I care, therefore I offer my opinion.

Just don't ask me to join the PTA.



9 comments:

Shannon said...

I am glad your clearance to volunteer came through. I am sure the girls will enjoy having you around the school. I know I have really enjoyed volunteering at schools in the past.

This makes me think of Naoma's post a day or two ago where she talked about the teacher settling a child down by simply touching their cheek and quietly reminding them it was time to listen. So respectful and calming, but totally a lawsuit waiting to happen here in the states.

It also makes me think of a report that I have seen several times recently where there is a total disconnect between the thing parents fear the most and the real dangers to children. It sounds as even the school has lost track of the real dangers-kids and cars- and are focused on the horrible but really fairly remote possibility of a pedophile parent volunteer.

Mom24 said...

Congrats! It's funny how different security is. Here, until last year, you didn't have to do anything to be a volunteer. Now they ask for a background check, but that's it, no immunizations, no TB test.

Have fun. Pace yourself. Remember to keep time for you.

Kat said...

We have very strict rules and background checks too. I'm thankful for it. And they also have a designated teacher outside in front of school watching all of the kids before school. A big fench around the school. The doors are always locked and you have to be buzzed in. I love that. And I live in one of the safest cities in the country. I still love it.


Way to get your hall pass! :)

Christy said...

So you're not allowed to hug or kiss your kids when you're in school with them? But seriously, yeah for getting cleared! And for raising issues when you have them!

A Daring Adventure said...

This week's State Department Blog RoundUp is up- and you're on it!

http://bit.ly/9xcXjv

Have a great weekend!

Brooke said...

TB free and not a sex offender? What more could you ask for?

Emily said...

I am glad that you passed. That would be awkward if you didn't.

I know what you mean about being overly mindful of security issues. My dad and my husband have/had similar careers. It is in my blood at this point.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I just had to go through my first TB screening for preschool this year. Funny that public school (where Oliver has been) never requested anything like that...

Connie said...

Glad you got your hall pass! We recently had a conversation where my husband talked about having to do earthquake drills in his CA schools, in Florida, we had tornado drills and bomb threat practice (with the fire drills), our kids have had 'intruder' drills (lock doors, hide, etc). School is for many lessons :p

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