Hi Readers! This story is almost too exciting in its implications. England had been requiring background checks for anyone who had any contact with kids once week. (And the original proposal over there would have covered folks having any contact with kids once a MONTH. Sheesh!) The assumption, of course, was that predators are everywhere. Also, that predators all come with a rap sheet clearly labeled, “PREDATOR” and thus could be easily weeded out. The result? Any mom or dad who wanted to volunteer at school, or help out at Scouts, couldn’t do that unless they underwent “vetting.”
But over the summer the government halted the program to study whether it was doing any good or simply driving all adults away from all kids. The Home Secretary, Theresa May, actually called the program “draconian.”
And now it its being repealed! Employers will still be expected to screen their staffs, but that’s about half the people who would have been background checked under the old system.
Why is this such welcome news? Because as a society we have been so gripped with predator panic these past 20 years or so that we have stopped treating human/child interaction as anything other than pedophilia waiting to happen. As our fear for our children grew, we went beyond sensible caution over to rank paranoia. The result was to see all adults through the lens of, “Get away from my child, you creep!” Adults grew scared of kids, kids were told to distrust adults.
I’m hoping that Britain’s re-evaluation will be their shot heard ’round the world, making the rest of us stand back and say, “Wait! Maybe it is time to stop thinking the very worst of all adults, all the time.” Hail Britannia! — Lenore