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Fingerprinting Now Required For Chicago School Volunteers

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CHICAGO (CBS) – A new rule from Chicago Public School district administrators could mean headaches for volunteers.

CBS 2′s Dorothy Tucker reports on the district’s move to protect children and the impact on those who donate their time

Getting fingerprinted was a first for Carolyn Blank, but she has no choice.

“I’m volunteering at my daughter’s school,” she said. “We had to have it before we can return to the school.”

The new mandate is district-wide: The application to volunteer at any CPS school now requires more than your name and birth date.

CPS wants your prints, too.

Why? Because they want to root out people using fake names or avoid confusion among people with similar names.

“A person could have an alias,” said Marikay Hegarty of Accurate Biometrics, the company the conducts the checks for CPS. “If you do background using names or date of birth, the odds are you’re going to hit multiple people.”

The prints are passed along to the FBI, and CPS gets information about any arrests in which applicants had fingerprints taken.

“I think it’s a good idea,” said parent Philip Vazquez. “It kinda eliminates sex offenders.”

“I do understand it’s important for the children, but there are two sides to it,” said Blank.

The other side, says Blank is the time and effort volunteers must make to get to one of only three locations in the city to get fingerprinted.

The fear is that fewer people will volunteer.

“I think that’s a possibility,” said Blank. “A lot of parents want to volunteer, but it’s hard to get things done. It’ll be interesting to see if there are less volunteers because of this.”

Volunteers don’t pay for the fingerprinting.

CPS covers that cost.

Accurate Biometrics says its offices are open evenings and Saturdays to accommodate volunteers.

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