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Old 05-09-2006, 08:39 AM   #1
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Criminal Background Checks For Prom Dates

I've never heard of any school doing this, seems like it's on very shaky legal ground.

Boston Herald

A Cape Cod teen is all dressed up with no place to go after her high school snooped into her boyfriend’s past and banned him from the prom after learning he’d been convicted of pot possession.

“It’s like a smack in the face,” said 18-year-old Erica Eckert, one of two seniors whose non-student boyfriends were too bad for the big dance. “I’m honestly not sure what I want to do,” she said in a tearful interview last night.

Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School banned Eckert’s 19-year-old boyfriend from Saturday’s soiree after a criminal background check turned up a past marijuana possession charge, Eckert said.

The school started Criminal Offender Record Information checks this year for non-students going to the prom. Any date with a criminal past would be rejected, she said. A School Committee member last night said the school’s administrators - not the School Committee - approved the policy.

Now Eckert’s mom Kathy 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 said the school’s actions are illegal.

“The principal cannot go snooping in CORI records for people,” said Norma Shapiro, the ACLU’s legislative director.

She said that state CORI laws permit digging into the criminal past of school volunteers with access to students.

“Exactly how does that extend to the prom?” Shapiro said.

Kathy Eckert met with the principal yesterday to plead with him but could not convince him, she said.

Principal Kenneth Jenks did not return calls for comment.
Another senior, Lindsey Roderick, 17, said her 20-year-old boyfriend of three years was also rejected. The school never told her they were digging into his past, she said.

“It’s very unfair,‘’ she said.
Eckert got the bad news Friday when she went to the school office and picked up the application she filled out for her boyfriend, a Rhode Island college student. The word “rejected” was written on the sheet.

“I was so upset,” said a tearful Eckert, who still hasn’t decided whether she’ll go to the prom alone or just stay home.
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Old 05-09-2006, 08:47 AM   #2
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Like I've said, it has to be a prerequisite that you must hate children to be a school administrator. I'm very glad I'm out of high school.

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Old 05-09-2006, 08:55 AM   #3
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Is this really all that much different than giving students a breathalyzer test before going into the prom?
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Old 05-09-2006, 09:05 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by randhail
Is this really all that much different than giving students a breathalyzer test before going into the prom?
Uh yeah, big difference.
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Old 05-09-2006, 09:39 AM   #5
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care to elaborate on that one?
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Old 05-09-2006, 09:55 AM   #6
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care to elaborate on that one?
Well the most obvious would be showing up to prom intoxicated would be illegal. There's also the fact that there's liability and safety reasons.

Someone's priors, especially if paid for and no longer a part of their current lives, have no bearing on the evening's events.
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Old 05-09-2006, 10:12 AM   #7
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Wow..thats appalling. High School prom, some of the happiests memories you will ever have, down the drain just like that.

And for Pot possession? Give me a break.
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Old 05-09-2006, 12:24 PM   #8
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Um...I don't mean to sound like a stick in the mud, but I don't have a problem with the school banning this guy. He's a 19-year-old in college. If he was convicted of possession, it would have to be in the past two years since the school would not have before his 18th birthday. They are public records that can be viewed by anyone. Same goes for when you apply for a job and they do a background check.

And the mom is pissed about being out $500? I'm sorry, but if I was that mom, I'd be wondering why my daughter is going to prom with a convicted felon. Even I will agree that pot isn't that bad, it should be legalized, etc., but as a mother, it's your job to set a good example for your kids. Getting huffy about $500 instead of the fact that your daughter wants to take a convicted felon to prom is the wrong choice.

When I went to Catholic school, you had to take your prom date through a receiving line of teachers when you got to the hall, shake the teachers' hands, introduce your date to them. That way, the teachers could show they were there, paying attention and, frankly, checking your walking and talking to make sure you weren't drunk. It was obvious and I had no problem with it because I had nothing to hide.
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Old 05-09-2006, 12:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
Like I've said, it has to be a prerequisite that you must hate children to be a school administrator. I'm very glad I'm out of high school.

Melon
I agree. They´re always trying to find new ways to screw over the kids.
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Old 05-09-2006, 12:58 PM   #10
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while it may be a bit extreme, as long as the kids were told ahead of time that any non students would be subjected to background checks, hten i really don't see what the problem is.

any volunteer and/or employee of most school districts, even alumni who are only out a year or two, are subject to background checks and in most cases are barred from working with the school if they have any sort of record... so why is this so different than that? if the person were a student at the school and was arrested out of school, they'd probably be banned from prom...

i don't think it would be that big a deal if they let them go, but i don't see how it's that big a deal that they didn't let 'em go, either.
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Old 05-09-2006, 01:26 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by sharky
Um...I don't mean to sound like a stick in the mud, but I don't have a problem with the school banning this guy. He's a 19-year-old in college. If he was convicted of possession, it would have to be in the past two years since the school would not have before his 18th birthday. They are public records that can be viewed by anyone. Same goes for when you apply for a job and they do a background check.

And the mom is pissed about being out $500? I'm sorry, but if I was that mom, I'd be wondering why my daughter is going to prom with a convicted felon. Even I will agree that pot isn't that bad, it should be legalized, etc., but as a mother, it's your job to set a good example for your kids. Getting huffy about $500 instead of the fact that your daughter wants to take a convicted felon to prom is the wrong choice.

When I went to Catholic school, you had to take your prom date through a receiving line of teachers when you got to the hall, shake the teachers' hands, introduce your date to them. That way, the teachers could show they were there, paying attention and, frankly, checking your walking and talking to make sure you weren't drunk. It was obvious and I had no problem with it because I had nothing to hide.
But even convicted felons have rights once they have paid their debt to society. And for all we know this guy may have vowed to stay clean after he got convicted.
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Old 05-09-2006, 01:44 PM   #12
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Originally posted by Bono's shades


But even convicted felons have rights once they have paid their debt to society. And for all we know this guy may have vowed to stay clean after he got convicted.
Exactly...

Quote:
any volunteer and/or employee of most school districts, even alumni who are only out a year or two, are subject to background checks and in most cases are barred from working with the school if they have any sort of record... so why is this so different than that?
But they aren't applying for a job, they're going to a one night only dance.
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Old 05-09-2006, 01:57 PM   #13
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Going to the prom is not a right. It is a school activity and therefore a privilege to take part in. The school can establish criteria for conduct determining who is welcome and not welcome to attend.
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Old 05-09-2006, 01:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bono's shades


But even convicted felons have rights once they have paid their debt to society. And for all we know this guy may have vowed to stay clean after he got convicted.

Very true.

And technically speaking, this guy isn't even a felon. Marijuana possession is a misdemeanor in Mass. so he most likely wasn't even charged with a felony offense.

Most job applications only ask for felony convictions so unless he was convicted for possession with intent to sell or something, this is an offense he normally wouldn't even need to disclose. It seems pretty extreme to bar someone from a dance over what appears to be a minor transgression.
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Old 05-09-2006, 02:07 PM   #15
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Going to the prom is not a right. It is a school activity and therefore a privilege to take part in. The school can establish criteria for conduct determining who is welcome and not welcome to attend.
Well that's all fine and dandy, but it doesn't mean it's right.

What next no one with a GPA under C can't go?
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