Re: Background Check
Settummanque, the blackeagle (waltoml@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU)
Mon, 24 Oct 1994 23:44:15 CST
Well, well, well...it has *finally come out*!
The decision was made to fingerprint Scouters back in March and it was
only because of the "Oprah Bill" later on, did the idea catch on.
Why are we fingerprinting Scouters? There are two reasons, one of
which is the "operative answer".
The "public answer" is to relieve fears that the BSA somehow has been
"taken over" by pedophiles and those that wish to harm our youth. The
BSA has lost megabucks over the past nine years, either fighting in
courts, in out-of-court (and private) (and VERY EXPENSIVE)
settlements, and more importantly, in *positive PR* against those
"elements". In several states, (as in California and Illinois), the
BSA has lost or still appealing lost cases which has impact upon the
future membership of the program (and in turn, the financial status of
the program in America). So, it became a grand idea to fingerprint
those volunteers if for nothing else to serve as a positive "See
here!" to the movement (and possibly to also "scare off" those
The "private answer", the "definative answer", is to "track volunteers
and professionals, and to provide a positive identification of them to
the Council Scout Executives of the program (as well as to National)."
By cross-referencing the fingerprints against the FBI's (and local
agencies) files, along with the Social Security Numbers (SSN) of the
volunteer, the BSA can find out more information about the
volunteer..more than we care for them (or anyone except our closest
friends) to know. Therefore, the BSA can "pick and choose" which volunteers
are to serve in "sensitive areas" of the Council's operation. For instance,
while someone with a couple of traffic infractions may be "good enough"
for the role of Chartered Organizational Representative, he or she may NOT
be the right person to serve as Scoutmaster or Cubmaster.
[note to our foriegn members of Scouts-L: the SSN is unique to each
citizen of the USA. It establishes in part our citizenship, makes us
"legal" for work and most importantly serves as the number against a
percentage of our work earnings are placed against until our "old age"
or until such time we need that money. Companies and organizations as
well as the federal government uses that number as a "cross check" to
insure that you are paying your share of taxes, to verify your work
history, to check your financial resources, and to prove your credit
worthiness. Giving or providing your SSN on an application may be
viewed as implied consent that you don't mind anyone else using that
number to get that information. In most cases, much of this
information can be obtained without your consent or even knowledge.]
The BSA has had a terrible problem in the past five years trying to
keep track of those volunteers and some professionals that they DON'T
want to serve in "sensitive areas" of the local Council operation.
The problem stems from the fact that although there is a space on the
application for the SSN, a lot of Scouters are NOT filling that part
in (because legally, they don't have to; there is a federal law called
the Privacy Act of 1974 which forbids any organization to ask for your
SSN without telling you how that number will be used and what
information, if any, they will obtain using that number. That same
law also provides the organization that is asking (in this case, the
BSA) the opportunity to explain what will happen if you DO NOT provide
it (you will be refused membership or that your application will
undergo more stringent scruntiny as a result, fearing that you are
"hiding something"). Hence, many of us are passing that part and
going to the other information which we don't mind providing).
The BSA uses the SSN to match (along with some other items) names
against their "undesiables" listing in each of the four Regional
offices. This is the reason why on the new Eagle applications, on the
new Silver Beaver and Silver Antelope applications, and applications
for veteran status, there is a space for the Social Security Number to
be entered. Up until now, when we don't place the SSN on our
applications, they approve it based on the information that they have
access to and records at the National or Regional offices. If there's
no information on you posted, the application is approved anyway.
That SSN is the key to our financial information, to our personal
information, to our lives. At one time, the BSA wanted to even use
the SSN as your membership number, particularily since the IRS is now
requiring parents to provide SSNs for each child on their federal tax
returns. It is no wonder that many of us are really a slight bit
leery of ANYONE (and let's face it...we don't know really WHO sees our
applications once they leave our hands, since they go though so many
"filters" nowadays, just to be approved) having our SSN.
Which brings me back to the fingerprinting issue. As stated here,
most states will charge the organization (the local Council in this
case), a fee of some sorts. While the BSA and the Girl
Scouts of the USA are large organizations, and we do tend to "push
some heavy weight around", very few states will waive the fees
neccessary to hire the personnel and get the equipment that will actually
*do* those searches and provide those clearances. If the BSA and GSUSA can
get "exceptions", then why don't the city child support agencies and the
church youth programs get that same exception to policy?). This means
that either our registration fees will jump (and they WILL jump...be
watching here, gang!) to meet the underwriting or that we will be
reduced in services (and in some areas, we've ALREADY there!).
I feel that fingerprinting serves an extremely valuable deterrance and
protection for our professional counterparts. I also feel as many do
here that getting my fingers painted with black ink and pressing them
against cardboard won't hurt nor bother me in the slightest. But when
a volunteer's status is questioned or denied simply because his
fingerprints revealed that his real name is Larry Moore, and that the
only thing that Larry has done is to pay traffic tickets totalling
$200; or that Louise Moore, his wife, had filed for bankruptcy four
years ago....*that bothers me deeply*.
Settummanque!@HEY! Security clearances to work for the BSA?? *nah*!
Settummanque, the blackeagle... (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (
co-Owner, Blackeagle Services ___)_
(h) 502-782-7992 (f) 502-781-7279 (w) 502-782-7467 |-=-|]
5350 Louisville Road, #52 Bowling Green, KY 42101-7211 -=====-
Internet: WALTOML@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU/America OnLine: KYBLKEAGLE@AOL.COM
Blackeagle Services is NOT affiliated with & does not speak for Western
Kentucky University but is the home to Leaders Online! Ask us about it!
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City