Thanks to
'Mike Ashley (Hale McKay)' for today's MONDAY MEME!

This appeared in the
'Boston Herald' on Tuesday 5/9.

School bans girls' dates from the big dance

Erica Eckert and Lindsey Roderick, students at Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School, were informed that their dates have been banned from the Senior Prom. The ban was a result of the school's first year of conducting "Criminal Offender Record Information" checks on non-students going to the prom.

....A School Committee member said, "Any date with a criminal past would be rejected." She was quick to add that the school's administrators - not the School Committee - approved the policy.

....Eckert's 19-year-old boyfriend was banned after a criminal background check turned up a past marijuana possession charge. Roderick, 17, said her 20-year-old boyfriend of three years was also rejected because of his record. (The nature of his record was not cited in the article.) Both girls said the school never told them they were digging into their dates' pasts.

....Kathy Eckert, the student's mother is out the $500 she paid for her daughter's turquoise dress, limo and makeup for the big night. "It's just a real shame that everything is paid for," she said. "It's really sad."

....The Massachusetts American Civil Liberties Union decried the school's actions were illegal. Norma Shapiro, the legislative director of the ACLU said, "The principal cannot go snooping in CORI records for people." She said that state CORI laws permit digging into the criminal past of school volunteers, such as bus drivers and maintenance workers, with access to students. "Exactly how does that extend to the prom?" she asked.

....Both girls met with principal to plead their case, but could not convince him to allow the boys to attend the prom. Principal Kenneth Jenks did not return calls for comment.

....Neither one of the girls have decided whether they will go to their Senior Prom alone, or stay home.
By Jessica Fargen

Even before reading that it was considered illegal by the ACLU,

I felt that the school was out of line and over-stepping it's boundries. What's next, barring new students entering high school next year because of a shop-lifting charge.

....Aren't we still innocent until proven guilty? The one boyfriend was "charged" with possession, there was no mention of a conviction.

....These two boyfriends were non-students. Are exceptions made for attending students with records? Five'll get you ten that there are students in that school with records.

Mike says, "That's my take on this matter. What do you think? Was the school justified"?

Kudo's to 'jc's designs'



MidlifeMutant said...

As far as I can see, any expectation of privacy or due process in this country is over. I guess we better get used to it.

Jolynn said...

I agree, what are they going to do next check the students for criminal charges. I'm sure that not all the kids at the school have a "clean" background.

sage said...

I wouldn't have a problem if they'd said upfront that non-students would have their backgrounds check. Also, I think they hsould define criminal past... possession seems kind of petty, maybe qualifying criminal behavior as a felony. Maybe I'm easier on the school because I have a daughter!

Jack K. said...

Arrgh! I am in a quandry. I have served on a shool board and understand the need to provide protection for the students. School districts have an obligation to do that. Should they not and students were damaged in some way the community would really be up in arms.

I also believe that policies like this are usually debated publically prior to enactment. From my own experience, I know that even when you believe you have the audiences' complete attention, 10% will not get the word. It is a fact of being human.

I also agree that we are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.

Thanks for the post.

Hope your Mother's Day was spectacular.

MidlifeMutant said...

Lord have mercy, I just realized that my daughter went to her senior prom with a convicted felon.

Not to mention that she is now married to one. {Best husband and dad you could ever hope for btw}

I guess doing your time doesn't count.

Eli Blake said...

As you point out, there was no conviction. And even if there was, these people have paid their dues to society.

How do we ever expect people who have committed crimes to ever become anything other than criminals if we keep slamming doors in their faces, rubbing their noses in the past, and making it as hard as possible for them re-integrate into society? I blogged at some length on this here: The prison that follows prison.

If we have a problem with recidivism in America it is because in our expectations for these people, we make it so.

Hale McKay said...

People, as a follow up to this, the principal of the school has reversed his stand and the two boys will be permitted to attend.
...It seems that the pressure of the ACLU was effective.
...The principal added that there will be an alcohol and weapons check at the door.
...Will the ACLU come back into the picture?

sabatkes said...

The school they go to was my rival high school on the Cape. We had a HUGE hockey rivalry that the cops had to go to the parking lots at the end of games.

Karen said...

Thanks Everyone for the great discussion!