Background checks

Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway says a bipartisan bill requiring criminal background checks on school volunteers would help protect children.

The idea is a mixed bag. In some cases, potential volunteers may not like the hassle of government intrusion into their lives, with the result being that some otherwise decent volunteers may not bother. But there are also the rare cases where a background check might reveal a person has an unsavory history that disqualifies that person from being around children. Overall, erring on the side of caution – particularly when considering child safety – suggests background checks may turn away a few good people, but losing them is preferable to giving a pass to even one pedophile.

Galloway on May 28 praised passage of the background check legislation, House bill 604, which awaits Gov. Mike Parson’s signature to become law.

Galloway urged state legislators to add the background check requirement after her audit of the state’s sexual offender registration program found the government made background checks mandatory for school employees, but not volunteers. State Sen. Lincoln Hough, Springfield, introduced legislation requiring the background checks in HB 604, the omnibus education bill passed by the General Assembly.

“When we find ways to better protect our kids, it’s imperative to take quick action to keep those students safe,” Galloway said. “As the mother of three young sons, I appreciate Senator Hough answering my call for this change, and I urge the governor to sign this bipartisan measure into law.”

“When I was made aware of the inconsistency of when background checks were being used, I was glad to help for the safety of all children,” Hough said.

Again, the bill is a bit intrusive and may cause grumbling, but the alternative is just not acceptable, given the bad apples in society’s barrel.

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