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David Kelly
12-05-2003, 04:05 PM
Greetings FIRST Robotics Competition Team Leaders:

This memo announces the implementation of the new FIRST Youth Protection and Adult Leadership policy for FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams. The policy requires background screening of volunteers; it is intended to protect FIRST youth participants and give FIRST parents a greater sense of security. This important initiative was introduced to teams during this year's FRC registration process.

FIRST Lego League (FLL) teams began the screening process at the end of October. We received considerable feedback supporting this initiative and appreciate the cooperation and efforts of our team leaders who willingly added this task to their many responsibilities.
HOW THE POLICY WAS DEVELOPED
The policy was developed with broad-based assistance from both within the FIRST community and from outside experts including a national risk management group, legal counsel and non-profit organizations that have screening requirements.

FIRST extensively reviewed and tested the Youth Protection and Adult Leadership policy with selected teams. We made clarifications to the policy and instructions in response to the feedback we received from the test teams and FLL teams. FIRST would like to thank the individuals who helped us create an effective and efficient screening process.

WHERE TO FIND THE COMPLETE POLICY
The policy and instructions for the screening process are available on the FIRST website at http://www.usfirst.org/volunteers/youthprotect/ (http://www.usfirst.org/volunteers/youthprotect/) . This is not a web page that can be accessed by the general public so please keep the URL handy. The policy is available as a Adobe PDF file and a Microsoft Word document.

If you are unable to download or view the PDF document it is likely that you do not have the Adobe PDF plug-in installed on your computer, or do not have the latest version installed. We included a link on the website to theAdobe Acrobat Reader software.

WHEN SHOULD THE SCREENINGS BE CONDUCTED

Ideally, the screening should be conducted on a volunteer prior to his/her initial work with a team. We understand that most teams have been meeting and ask that the Team Leader begin the process as soon as possible.

WHO MUST BE SCREENED

All FIRST Team Mentors are required to complete a standardized internet-based background check process. Adults screened by a public school system to work with youth are exempt from the application and screening process.

A Team Mentor is defined as any adult, 18 or older, who works directly with youth on a FIRST Robotics Competition or FIRST LEGO League team. FIRST will issue separate guidance for teams located outside the United States.

HOW TO GET HELP WITH QUESTIONS

We developed a document, "Frequently Asked Questions" for reference. Click here to view the document: http://www.usfirst.org/volunteers/youthprotect/FRCFAQ.pdf (http://www.usfirst.org/volunteers/youthprotect/FRCFAQ.pdf)

Additionally, we welcome your comments and questions. Please contact us by email (volunteer@usfirst.org) or by phone (800) 871-8326, Option 1.

FIRST appreciates your assistance and support in helping us implement a sound and secure screening process. We hope you will agree that protecting even one child will be worth the extra effort.

Happy and Healthy Holidays to you.

Wetzel
12-05-2003, 06:51 PM
Some problems I see.

My social security number is NOT an identification number, it is for my social security account. Unless they need to report information to the IRS, they have no need or right to my social security number.

A Team Mentor is defined as any adult, 18 or older, who works directly with youth on a FIRST Robotics Competition or FIRST LEGO League team. FAQ (http://www.usfirst.org/volunteers/youthprotect/FRCFAQ.pdf)
A Mentor is an adult (any individual eighteen ears of age or older) who is an active member of the team and works frequently with the students.

So students who are 18 are required to get a criminal background check as well, being legal adults.

FIRST has set up accounts with VolunteerSelect, from which FIRST teams can process a background screening on their volunteers for fees ranging from $3.50 to $8.00 per person
So how much will it cost? $3.50 a head or $8? If a team has 10 parents helping out, the difference between the two is $45, which is not insignificant. Add students who are 18, and the difference grows.


The 'Team Leader' must submit the information for the criminal background checks, and conduct 3 reference checks. If you have 10 mentors and 5 students who are 18, then they have 15 forms to input into a webform, $77.50 to $145 in fees, and 45 people to call and check the history of the mentor. This will be a hugely time consuming task for anyone to do, and FIRST stipulates that one person be the 'Team Leader' and conduct all the checks. Not only that, but they must document and keep on file the interaction. Add to this the fact that the mentor supplies the references, and that whole requirement becomes far more difficult then the results are worth.


Male and female leaders require separate sleeping facilities. Married couples may share the same quarters if appropriate facilities are available.

Why would FIRST tell adults that they can not share a room with the opposite sex? If you have 1 adult female, the cost for an additional hotel room could very easily be cause for her to not attend an event. The requirement for married couples is discriminatory to gay couples who do not have the option to marry in most states. I thought FIRST was to promote Science and Technology, not the traditional family. And for married couples, what are 'appropriate facilities'?


Adults who have already been screened by a public school system to work with youth are exempt from the background screening and reference check process. All other Team Mentors are required to complete the process to participate with a team. Individuals screened by private or parochial schools, institutions of higher learning, other organizations or companies are not exempt.

So teachers at a public highschool do not have to submit to a criminal background check, but a professor at Georgia Tech or Virginia Tech has to submit to a criminal background check.

FIRST does not list what is cause for a mentor to not be allowed to participate. Is a crime from the 60's, but nothing since cause for them to be asked to leave? What criteria are they using to determine if a mentor is 'safe'.


My opinion is this is a task that places a burden on teams that is not worth the questionable results.


Wetzel

David Kelly
12-05-2003, 06:59 PM
Some problems I see.

My social security number is NOT an identification number, it is for my social security account. Unless they need to report information to the IRS, they have no need or right to my social security number.


A social security number is a number that each American receives at birth and uses for identification.

http://www.siu.edu/~world/gsg/carbon/cbssn.html

Wetzel
12-05-2003, 08:49 PM
A social security number is a number that each American receives at birth and uses for identification.

http://www.siu.edu/~world/gsg/carbon/cbssn.html

My parents SS cards say "Not to be used for Identification"
After looking for it, so does mine.

The government assured the public when they were first issued in 1936 that they would be limited to Social Security programs, but because every citizen had one, bussnisses decided that it would be convient to use to track people. The Privacy Act of 1974 (http://www.usdoj.gov/foia/privstat.htm)limits when the governement can use your SSN.

There aremany (http://www.wired.com/news/privacy/0,1848,57395,00.html) articles (http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/Banking/FinancialPrivacy/P33718.asp) and why (http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/Banking/FinancialPrivacy/P48173.asp) texts (http://www.cpsr.org/cpsr/privacy/ssn/ssn.faq.html) hyperthreaded (http://www.epic.org/privacy/ssn/) out there on you shouldn't use your SSN as an identifier.


Also, the Policy (http://www.usfirst.org/volunteers/youthprotect/first_ypal_nov03.doc) FIRST has on its website says VolunteerSelect/ChoicePoint has extensive and comprehensive policies and procedures regarding the security of personal information entered into the VolunteerSelect system. These policies are available for review on the VolunteerSelect website ”www.volunteerselect.com” under the “About Us” tab.. I can find nowhere on their site their policy on what they do with the information collected. Once collected, they can legally sell any information they collected, including your SSN, to anyone they want.

With a SSN and the matching name, you can get credit just about anywhere.


I know I am not the only one who does not wish to divulge my SSN, but others that FIRST will greatly miss if it comes down to it. :(

Wetzel

Madison
12-05-2003, 08:55 PM
I thought that it was, in fact, against the law to use someone's social security number as their identification number. My university originally did just that -- making our student ID the same as our SSN. That was just changed in the last year or so.

Jeff -- gay couples are the same sex and can share sleeping facilities ;)

I haven't read through this yet, but I will when I find time. I am disturbed and upset this is happening.

Clark Gilbert
12-05-2003, 09:02 PM
My parents SS cards say "Not to be used for Identification"
After looking for it, so does mine.

The government assured the public when they were first issued in 1936 that they would be limited to Social Security programs, but because every citizen had one, bussnisses decided that it would be convient to use to track people. The Privacy Act of 1974 (http://www.usdoj.gov/foia/privstat.htm)limits when the governement can use your SSN.
Wetzel
I dont see how this is any different than applying for a job. Out of the 6 job applications I've filled out, all of them required that you put a SSN for identification. The Circuit City ap (the place I got hired at) made me write it at the top of all 10 pages. It's merely the most widely accecpted way of proving that you are indeed who you say you are. I'm using it at college now for all of my scan-tron exams and forms I've had to fill out, and until recently it was on our school IDs. We recently changed IDs and got new StudentIDs, but they have not gone into effect yet. What do you do when you have to fill out all of these forms? Leave it blank?

Wetzel
12-05-2003, 09:05 PM
I dont see how this is any different than applying for a job. Out of the 6 job applications I've filled out, all of them required that you put a SSN for identification. The Circuit City ap (the place I got hired at) made me write it at the top of all 10 pages. It's merely the most widely accecpted way of proving that you are indeed who you say you are. I'm using it at college now for all of my scan-tron exams and forms I've had to fill out, and until recently it was on our school IDs. We recently changed IDs and got new StudentIDs, but they have not gone into effect yet. What do you do when you have to fill out all of these forms? Leave it blank?

Until I am hired, I leave them blank. At NVCC my student ID is not my SSN, nor is my Drivers Licence Number my SSN.

Wetzel

Cory
12-05-2003, 10:25 PM
:p Since when can FIRST tell us how to run our individual teams? If I want to meet alone with a parent or adult, who really cares? You could interpret this as a violation of the first amendment right of assembly (a group *is* two or more people)

I have, on multiple occasions, ridden alone with parents/advisors. These are people that I have known for four years and would trust with my life. Now get this. I cant ride with an adult alone, but I can sleep in the same room as an adult, with parental permission. I think there's probably a slightly higher chance Im going to get molested SLEEPING with an adult rather than driving with them. :confused:

Lets look at it this way: can the national government tell a California school how it must be run? No way! FIRST should not be able to tell a team how things need to be done, unless they are attending a competition.

What is appropriate clothing? I can wear darn near anything I want out, and by law, it is appropriate, as long as I am not naked.

The proposal makes references to "All US states, territories, and the District of Columbia" but none to Canada, Brazil, or England. What happens there? Do they not have to report child abuse?

How will FIRST know if all adult advisors submit background checks? They wont!

All I want to know is how many people sued FIRST that they decided to make this incredibly stupid policy. All its going to do is be a royal pain in the $@#$@#$@# for all teams.

yeah I know some of y'all are going to take offense to some of these points, but oh well, its my opinion, Im not changing it just because some of you dont like it :p

Andrew
12-05-2003, 10:28 PM
I dont see how this is any different than applying for a job.

If you get the job, your employer must send the government your social security and medicare allocation in addition to your tax with-holding. That's a big difference from an identification number.

Kevin Kolodziej
12-05-2003, 10:39 PM
My biggest concern here is the fact that all of this information is collected online. When I turn in a job application, it is filed and put away. Here, this information is online, and "secure." I don't buy it...if something happens and someone can get into the records, they have all of the info needed for all of us to do just about anything they want. I don't feel very safe with that. Also, teams have been meeting for awhile now and spending good quality time with each other. Most teams are like families...and if you can't trust the people in your family, who do you trust?

It will be a very sad day if something as stupid as this causes many people to beging disappearing from the world of FIRST.

My other issue is even if we are all okayed and continue on as nothing happened, and our identity is never stolen or anything like that, who's going to stop someone who was red flagged from going to a competition and abducting a student? Are there going to be guards posted at all of the entrances to all of the events with a ban list? I don't think so. Is everyone going to have to show an "Official FIRST Supporter" ID card? Nope. Is FIRST going to close its doors to the public? HA! These silly little insecure checks aren't going to deter anyone who really wants to get to a student.

Personally offended,
Kev

JonA
12-05-2003, 11:52 PM
The proposal makes references to "All US states, territories, and the District of Columbia” but none to Canada, Brazil, or England. What happens there? Do they not have to report child abuse?


Applying rules to only certain members of an organization is DISCRIMINATION.

Interestingly, I cannot find where FIRST states that it does not discriminate by race, creed, sex, sexual orientation...etc.

Should we submit ourselves to a background check that uses "public record and proprietary databases"(http://www.volunteerselect.com/)? What is in the proprietary database? Does it contain the fact that I am related to a person who protested the Vietnam War? Do I get a red flagged for that? How about for rolling through a stop sign or getting a speeding ticket? Or being arrested and not charged? What do I get red flagged for and is it relevant?

The U.S. Federal Government tried to start a "Classified" database that held information on all U.S. Citizens to determine if they were terrorists. Guess what happened when people found out about it? Politicians shot down the proposal and the agency backed down and shut it down.

I ran through the Flash demo fairly quickly and saw a lot of places where SSN’s are available to the user. So, do I trust the user(the team leader) with my personal information that could easily be used to steal my identity or that may be a convicted felon or child molester? Do I trust that the system will never be comprised and my Name, Birth Date, SSN, Address and other personal information will never be available to “Hackers?”

Oh yeah…parents are exempt…what? I know a number of parents that have children in high school that have a criminal record. So, I am safer with a parent that has killed people than with a Professor that has worked at a university for over 30 years and has a Nobel Peace Prize? Or how about an engineer that works for a company contracted to the DoD that has Top Secret clearance?

PRICE: the teams have to pay for the background checks?
At $8 / adult…well, let us see:
2 Public HS Teachers = $0
17 College Students = $136
4 College Professors = $32
6 Professional Engineers = $48
Total = $216

Our team’s current balance after paying for competitions and kit: -$200. Who will bare the burden of these fees? Not me, as a college student, I am happy to come up with $4 to eat for a day.

For the record, I was a Boy Scout. The BSA leaders were subjected to a similar if not this specific background check. I understand why they are done. I almost agree with the process, but why do they need to verify my SSN? Are they issuing me some sort of credit or are they part of the Social Security Administration?

I love FIRST Robotics. I loved working with FIRST Alumni to start a new team. I loved the whole process and am set to be a “team leader” this year. My fellow team founders and I have worked incredibly hard and have dedicated hundreds of thousands of hours in founding the team and working with the students. We have sacrificed good portions of our lives, our grades at our College and our health for the benefit of the team, the high school students and the ideals that FIRST was founded on. NO ONE can question our commitment or loyalty to our team and FIRST. Yet, I question if my commitment is strong enough to overcome the possibility that someone might steal my identity or the implication that is made by being red flagged by a proprietary database that could contain inaccurate data or data that does not apply to me being a threat to the high school students.

How many well-intentioned people will FIRST loose from this? I guess we will find out, but if mine and other peoples’ concerns are not addressed, I will be one of those people.

-Jon Anderson
Team 1064: co-founder, Engineering Student a the Milwaukee School of Engineering

P.S. I have neither criminal record nor anything to hide about my past.

Gabriel
12-06-2003, 06:30 PM
Maybe I'm missing something big, but it only says you have to report a "red" completed finding to FIRST. I searched the volunteerselect site, but I couldn't find any information on what a red finding is. Apparently a red finding includes more than just convictions, but neither FIRST nor volunteerselect specifically tell us what a red finding is. FIRST then reviews each red finding and determines whether the individual can be allowed to be a mentor. However, we aren't told the qualifications. Will FIRST disqualify anyone with a drug qualification 20 years ago? Obviously no team leader wants a sex-offender on their team, but who gave FIRST the right to decide who gets to be on our teams? We aren't volunteering for FIRST, we're volunteering for the individual teams. Lets say the background check determines that someone is a sex-offender, shouldn't it be the job of the team leader or the school to determine whether they want that person to participate? What if I've worked with a guy for 8 years and the background check shows he was convicted of something 20 years ago? FIRST isn't going to bother to get to know the guy, know if he's a good person, if the conviction is bogus, whatever, they're just going to look at the report and disqualify him. I'm talking purely hypothetically of course.

The whole process undermines the trust between a team leader and mentors. How are we supposed to work effectively together when we're legally required to treat each other with suspicion? The whole part about making team leaders do reference checks is downright absurd. Surely three people selected by a mentor aren't going to say he shouldn't be on the team!

Has there ever been an incident of any sort of abuse by a mentor of a student? If so, maybe I could understand why they're doing this. But it seems like the schools and the teams already have systems in place to prevent that from happening. This whole thing seems like a gross violation of privacy, not to mention the rights of the team leader, designed to cover FIRST's $@#$@#$@#.

A few months ago a team leader expressing his frustration at FIRST told me "we do the first robotics competition in spite of FIRST." I can absolutely see what he meant.

Jack Jones
12-06-2003, 08:52 PM
This policy would be laughable, were it not so detrimental to the future of FIRST. It has nothing to do with protecting the students. It has everything to do with protecting FIRST from liability. The only thing they are right about is what the screening is worth - less than $10. Should an incident occur that involved a person they cleared or worse yet exempted, then I hope they get sued for lulling themselves and the most gullible among us into a false sense of security.

Madison
12-07-2003, 12:23 PM
After having had the opportunity to read over the guidelines in more detail, there are several questions I have regarding the implications of this action.

Clearly, this measure is being taken to protect FIRST from liability -- with protection for children being a consequence rather than a cause. My feeling is that, in the event that a mentor should harm a child, FIRST will have absolved itself of responsibility by indicating that it made an effort into enacting protections. The effectiveness and reliability of those protections isn't relevant -- legally speaking.

Now that FIRST has demonstrated some oversight over its teams, what precedent does this set regarding FIRST's involvement in other affairs of individual teams? Can FIRST be held liable for claims of discrimination because of the actions of a single team or team member? If a team from Tennessee is going to the Atlanta regional and decides that it will not accept black students as members, will FIRST become legally accountable for that action? If so, will there be, in place for the 2004 season, a system of sharing grievances with FIRST so as to keep them apprised of potentially litigious situations that may happen on teams? Or, as it seems, is this step by FIRST like I and others have mentioned -- little more than a self-protection with a positive public relations spin?

Under the heading, "Team Leader Response in the event of a report of sexual abuse," the text reads, "It is important that you not tell anyone other than the Volunteer Resource Manager for the FIRST organization or the child protective services agency about allegations of abuse. If the allegations cannot be substantiated, you could be sued for defamation of character."

So, in short, a team leader can make no effort to corroborate, confirm, nor deny a participating student's allegations of sexual abuse -- but if those allegations are later found to be erroneous, the team leader can be held responsible and sued for defamation. That makes very little sense and certainly doesn't seem to me like it would foster a team leader to be understanding, compassionate and respectful of the student making such an accusation. In fact, it seems that quite the opposite is true and that the threat of litigation against the team leader would be enough to make them very wary of taking students seriously regarding this matter.

To add confusion, the next subheading, "Team Leader Reporting Responsibilities," reads, "People are often concerned about being sued for reporting child abuse. You are not required to know for certain that a child has been abused. All that the law requires is that you have a reasonable suspicion and are reporting in “good faith.” When these requirements are met, all states provide immunity from liability for child abuse reporters."

So, FIRST, which is it? Can team leaders by held liable or not? Of course, this completely ignores the process of reporting abuse by team leaders and offers little recourse to students should that happen.

Further down, under "Additional Resources," we find, "Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has kindly made its materials on child abuse prevention available to participants in the FIRST program."

I am not clear on the benefits found in working side by side with an organization (The Boy Scouts of America) that actively and openly promotes discrimination against homosexuals as a matter of policy. This is not something to broadcast from the rooftops, but something to be ashamed of, as far as I'm concerned.

The Boy Scouts of America has clearly demonstrated its inability to make informed decisions about the safety of its participants by implementing a discriminatory policy regarding homosexuality. It operates under assumptions garnered from bad- or no-science and thus, if the protections afforded to FIRST participants are based on the system used by the Boy Scouts of America, I have very little faith in the effectiveness this will have in enacting true protection. But again, true protection is a side-effect rather than a motivating factor, it seems.

Furthermore, given the lack of clarity provided regarding exactly what constitutes a "red flag" on a person's background check, I am very suspicious of what policies, procedures and assumptions have been borrowed from the Boy Scouts of America.

I am very interested in seeing FIRST disavow itself of any cooperation or involvement with the Boy Scouts of America in all regards, as well as with any other organizations that actively promote intolerance and baseless discrimination.

Further along in the document, as other people have mentioned, there are many vague references to who should require a background check and who is considered a mentor. I'd like clarification regarding the extent to which FIRST is liable should a one-time visitor to a team commit an offense versus the liability of the same offense being committed by a dedicated team member. I'd like clarification regarding exactly what level of participation is required before someone's consider a team member over a special visitor.

On page 9, the policy reads, "If a volunteer report comes back coded red, send an email to “volunteer@usfirst.org” providing FIRST with the name, address, phone number, and team number of the individual who was screened."

Is the screening process entirely contingent upon the team leaders to provide information about screening results, or will FIRST have oversight regarding this as well? It is conceivable that, without an additional layer of oversight provided by FIRST staff, a team leader could withhold a "red flagged" background check. It seems overwhelming, though, for a few individuals on FIRST's staff to oversee information about thousands of mentors, however.

I do not see this as being a remotely effective means of accomplishing anything regarding increased safety of FIRST participants and am considerably upset at this turn of events. Of particular note is the inadequacy of the explanations provided regarding what constitutes an ineligible participant and what data, theories and ideas are being implemented by VolunteerSelect with regard to indicators of potential danger.

Matt Leese
12-08-2003, 11:07 AM
Perhaps I missed it on my quick read over of the documentation, but I don't believe FIRST put into place any sanctions in place in case a team doesn't abide by these rules. I wonder how many teams will end up simply ignoring them? Or, more likely, teams just won't understand how to implement them and do it incorrectly.

For the vast majority of teams, I think that this policy will be useless. Almost all high school across the country already have policies aimed to discourage sexual assault. There's no need for FIRST to put together another policy to cover that. Frankly, I would think that there should be a way to waive this policy if it can be established that an adequate plan to prevent sexual abuse is already in place (i.e. one that the school district has already developed).

Declaring these restrictions onto local teams which are separate organizations than FIRST and are used to extensive autonomy is not going to accomplish much of anything. Perhaps this policy makes the lawyers happy but I was never particularly under the impression that FIRST was designed to make laywers happy.

Matt

Merle
12-08-2003, 11:52 AM
[QUOTE=David Kelly]A social security number is a number that each American receives at birth and uses for identification.


I didn't get mine until I was 5 (born in Pennsylvania). An American does not get it automatically at birth, one must apply... the driving force for it to occur at birth nowadays is that as a parent I can not take a personal deduction on my taxes for my children unless they have an SS number, and it is a form that the hospital hands out a birth. I'll be filling out another one in Jan. when little Grace is born (maybe on kickoff day :p ???)

Merle
Team Paragon 571

Gabriel
12-08-2003, 11:59 AM
Perhaps I missed it on my quick read over of the documentation, but I don't believe FIRST put into place any sanctions in place in case a team doesn't abide by these rules. I wonder how many teams will end up simply ignoring them? Or, more likely, teams just won't understand how to implement them and do it incorrectly.
Matt

From the policy:

Audits to Determine Compliance
FIRST shall be conducting audits of a sample of teams on an annual basis to determine compliance with the Leadership Requirements. Accordingly, FIRST asks that teams preserve allrecords indicating compliance (i.e., names and addresses of all adult team members, copies of all applications, evidence of VolunteerSelect background screening and reference checks) for atleast three years following the conclusion of the year in which an adult participated on the team. The failure of a team to comply with the Leadership Requirements may result in FIRST takingappropriate action, including without limitation, disqualification from the program and events and referral to authorities.

I guarentee you that as a team leader I'm going to catch a lot of hell for this. There are going to be lots of mentors who are going to say "I didn't sign up for this!" and they'll be absolutely right. This is just a really bad decision on FIRST's part. I really think that teams should send letters to FIRST refusing to comply unless FIRST discloses exactly what a "red" finding entails and exactly what will get you disqualified as a volunteer. Thats the least FIRST can do to make this policy acceptable.

Jeff Waegelin
12-08-2003, 12:46 PM
Further down, under "Additional Resources," we find, "Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has kindly made its materials on child abuse prevention available to participants in the FIRST program."

I am not clear on the benefits found in working side by side with an organization (The Boy Scouts of America) that actively and openly promotes discrimination against homosexuals as a matter of policy. This is not something to broadcast from the rooftops, but something to be ashamed of, as far as I'm concerned.

The Boy Scouts of America has clearly demonstrated its inability to make informed decisions about the safety of its participants by implementing a discriminatory policy regarding homosexuality. It operates under assumptions garnered from bad- or no-science and thus, if the protections afforded to FIRST participants are based on the system used by the Boy Scouts of America, I have very little faith in the effectiveness this will have in enacting true protection. But again, true protection is a side-effect rather than a motivating factor, it seems.

Furthermore, given the lack of clarity provided regarding exactly what constitutes a "red flag" on a person's background check, I am very suspicious of what policies, procedures and assumptions have been borrowed from the Boy Scouts of America.

I am very interested in seeing FIRST disavow itself of any cooperation or involvement with the Boy Scouts of America in all regards, as well as with any other organizations that actively promote intolerance and baseless discrimination.

Having seen the materials the BSA publishes on child abuse prevention numerous times, I would not be too concerned. It's basically just a set of very generic videos and pamphlets on how to recognize and avoid child abuse situations. While you are entitled to your beliefs about the Boy Scouts of America, not all agree, and I personally do not see a need for FIRST to "disavow itself of any cooperation or involvement." Obviously, they do not believe what you do in what is a controversial issue. I do not think that borrowing a video and pamphlet series, which, to the best of my knowledge, does not even touch on such issues as homosexuality, is of great danger to FIRST.

Gabriel
12-08-2003, 12:51 PM
Having seen the materials the BSA publishes on child abuse prevention numerous times, I would not be too concerned. It's basically just a set of very generic videos and pamphlets on how to recognize and avoid child abuse situations. While you are entitled to your beliefs about the Boy Scouts of America, not all agree, and I personally do not see a need for FIRST to "disavow itself of any cooperation or involvement." Obviously, they do not believe what you do in what is a controversial issue. I do not think that borrowing a video and pamphlet series, which, to the best of my knowledge, does not even touch on such issues as homosexuality, is of great danger to FIRST.

Well the BSA uses its child abuse policy as a grounds for discrimination so considering how little we know about what FIRST is doing it seems like a legitimate concern to me.

Jeff Waegelin
12-08-2003, 01:29 PM
Well the BSA uses its child abuse policy as a grounds for discrimination so considering how little we know about what FIRST is doing it seems like a legitimate concern to me.

What does it have to do with the BSA's policies? If you've ever seen or read any of the materials in question, they're about as nondescript as you can get. They're designed to be used in a variety of situations by other organizations. FIRST can implement, and will implement, their own policies, not take someone else's just because of a silly video. I really think you're making too much of that one little minute point, when there are a lot more serious issues with FIRST's background check policies.

Cory
12-08-2003, 02:06 PM
How on earth can FIRST make "referrals to the proper authorities" if a team doesnt submit background checks? Unless someone is actually molested, and that went unreported, FIRST does not have the authority to report an individual to the police...

Cory