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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Tue Oct 22, 2002, 03:11pm
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There appears to be some controversy regarding Little League's new requirement for background checks on all volunteers, including umpires.

I am writing an article on the requirement and various opinions of it for Right Sports. Little League has graciously agreed to answer my questions and present their philosophy behind this new policy.

Additionally, I have spoken with three other leagues regarding their philosophy on this issue.

I am looking for opinions from actual VOLUNTEER Little League umpires. If you have a comment or concern that you feel should be considered, please feel free to contact me clicking on the email icon at the bottom of this post.

Indicate, please, whether or not your name may be used in the article. I will honor your request.
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Old Tue Oct 22, 2002, 05:10pm
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As a LL board member, I believe that the volunteer umpires are as subject to the reg as any other volunteer, and should be. They are generally part of the league and frequent the park and call games on a regular basis. Maybe other places are different, but in our league, they are all people who have, or have had, kids in the league and want to contribute. They hang around after the games and BS with the kids and coaches. They definitely meet the "frequent contact" criteria.

If you have paid folks who frequent the park, they should be checked also.

You need to separate the volunteers (or paid umps) who are part of the league from the paid association umps who show up once or twice a season shortly before a game, call the game, and leave immediately afterward.
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Old Tue Oct 22, 2002, 10:52pm
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I believe it is too much of a hassle to try to find out who will do a lot of games a season, and who will do a few and leave right away (paid umpires).

The rules strictly say volunteers. So leave it at that. But now, it is easier to be a volunteer coach (2 games a week), or a volunteer snack bar host (rotation is about once every 2 weeks), or a volunteer board member (usually meeting with adults and not with kids) then it is to be a volunteer umpire.

We all know that after all the hoopla and fanfare goes out of the beginning of the season, most volunteer umps (and I am not saying all) will not be so hard pressed to show up at their scheduled times. Work, sick kids, vacations, etc...will get in the way. Especially during the dog days.

So, this leaves us with pulling a dad, out of the stands and doing an impromtu game. Who is doing his background check?

I am in the military. I have a clearance. I know how it is done. I can't see LL paying the IA, or anyone closely in their arena, the big bucks to check every individual thoroughly enough to make us comfortable. Plus, even if they do pay, it will take several months to get any word back. So start yesterday?

Oh, they might be able to give names to the local law enforcement and see if there are any warrants or they are a sex offender. But then we are talking about rights, right?

So lets see how this is done? I say let it be. Don't let a few ruin a good time for the rest. It ain't going to happen in every community. Let the board decide who is capable/able. They know each other. If someone is shady, turn them down. Don't tell me LL gossip doesn't exist??!!
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Old Wed Oct 23, 2002, 01:41am
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First off, Whowefoolin, background checks in most states do not return a person's criminal record. There are different levels, and the results are either "Passed," or, "Didn't pass." LL gossip may exist, but the gossip will be pure speculation.

Second, Little League only requires a check of a state's sex offenders list. The vast majority have them. Those that do not are stuck with typical background checks, the level of which involve only crimes against children. Individual local leagues do have the option of performing complete background checks as well. That is no different from past years. It is entirely up to them, and has been for quite awhile now.

As far as cost, the vast majority of states will run the checks against the sex offenders list for free. Granted, some don't (mine does), but in those states that do not, it is a simple matter to ask local law enforcement to run those checks as a service to the community. I doubt many will say no. If they do, it is another simple matter to raise some funds for such a worthwhile cause. Local businesses are generally very happy to sponsor such a project.

Finally, you have perpetuated a myth that sex offenders are shady. They're not. They can be local clergy, Boy Scout leaders, someone's uncle or brother, just about anybody. In the vast majority of cases, the parents trusted the sex offender with their child and didn't suspect a thing. Gaining trust and appearing normal is the child sex offender's trump card.

Child sex offenders are mainly repeat offenders. When they are discovered in one place, they move on to the next. That's why such background checks are necessary. No one suspects the very nice man who moved into town a few years ago. He's great with the kids, he contributes to his community, he has a steady job, he is respected, he gains parents' trust, and he molests their children when he has the opportunity. He gains the childrens' trust, convinces them that what they are doing is normal, plays on the child's lack of emotional maturity, and takes advantage of their unwillingness to talk about the activity they participated in to their parents. It's an insidious crime. It robs children of their childhood.

I am an Assistant District Administrator with Rhode Island District 3. Last night, we held our monthly meeting to discuss plans for next season. I gladly filled out my volunteer application form with the necessary information and turned it in. If it helps one child be safe from a sex offender, that miniscule bit of inconvenience was all worthwhile as far as I'm concerned.
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Old Thu Oct 24, 2002, 01:36pm
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For several years as a Safety Officer in our league I conducted the Megan's Law checks, and applaud the decision to make them mandatory. Our best chance to keep abusers away from our kids is to loudly and and publicly declare that we check all adult volunteers.

My experience is that it will be very important to note to volunteers that these are checks for child abusers. Many people are concerned when they hear the phrase "background checks" that someone will find out that they were arrested for shoplifting 20 years ago. That isn't and shouldn't be the focus.

I also found that a few people are absolutely unwilling to provide their social security number. It isn't that they have something to hide, but I found that their concern is nearly a religious belief in the sanctity of that number. It will be critical for LL to keep and maintain the strictest confidentiality of social security numbers for all volunteers.

Dennis Wickham
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Old Thu Oct 24, 2002, 09:34pm
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Perpetuated a myth that sex offenders are shady? Who...me? In my text, you got that? Wow, Jim. I was talking about everything but that. How did you come up with that one?

Almost all states, sex offenders are listed along with their address. Background check is different then checking for sex offenders. You seem to bring up sex offenders more in your text than anyone else did. Hmmmm

Background checks look at "Backgrounds". Sex offenders, druggies, thieves, etc...

So if you just look at sex offenders Jim, then you are over looking about 75% of other "bad" influencial types that could get into LL. And that type of stuff is free to the normal person. Think again Jimmy.
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Old Thu Oct 24, 2002, 09:36pm
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DJ,

I agree. Most people won't submit their SSN's. Just for personal reasons.

With that, how good is LL in keeping the Privacy Act of 1974? Hmmm, they did a heck of a good job checking kids age records a couple years ago! So I will trust them with my SSN...not!!!
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Old Fri Oct 25, 2002, 12:01am
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With that, how good is LL in keeping the Privacy Act of 1974?


The Privacy Act of 1974 applies to government agencies only, and basically says that if a government agency requests your SSN, they must provide a disclosure notice informing you why they are asking for it, which laws apply, and what they will do with it.

There is no law that bans private organizations or businesses from requesting your SSN. You are not obligated to provide it, but they are also not obligated to render their service to you if you refuse to provide it.

http://www.cpsr.org/cpsr/privacy/ssn...ItIllegalToAsk

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Old Sat Oct 26, 2002, 12:31am
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Jim, you are right. I was being metaphorical with the Privacy act thing. But a business can request an SSN, and once they have it can do anything they want with it? I think not.

Good job researching! Sorry I kept you up late looking for it. Hey, take in a movie. Go for a walk. Take a nice deep breath. I promise...you won't be forgotten. But let's get a life. This ain't that serious Potter. You and ole T-Ball need a break. Don't want you to get burned out to soon.

But thanx for that info. Was very informative, I read it.

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Old Sat Oct 26, 2002, 02:11am
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Nah, all the research was done a couple of weeks ago when this topic came up on another board. I already had the info. Copy/paste was all I did.
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Old Mon Oct 28, 2002, 02:48pm
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Social Security Nos.

My experience is the vast majority of people will provide their social security numbers. There are a very vocal few who will not, and some of them will choose not to volunteer. Ironically, the "paid" adults understand that a social security number is required for tax purposes, and I haven't seen anyone refuse.

AYSO went through this. So, did Boy Scouts. If we are sensitive to people's privacy concerns, I think the system will work.

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