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Profile of HarbinJr.
Hey there!

Mark Tripp (which some of you love or hate) has sent me this link of a story of a situation in Canada (Toronto specifically) and I thought others would want to be aware of this. Mark and I both and told stories of incidents when a school performer had ruined a relationship with the school just using a d'light and how people treated us thinking we were making things up and being paranoid.

It's one of the reasons why I have several rules pertaining to my school shows and not to mention other programs as well if I see it as necessary. For instance in my school contracts I have stated a clause that I CAN NOT have access to any restroom that a child has access to. Thus protecting the child, the venue, and of course myself.

Im sure some of you take such steps to protect yourself but thought you would like to see this story.

Will Baffle
Jay Ward
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Profile of Jay Ward
Well, I don't think it's the worst idea I've ever heard, but I doubt it would help the problem. There was a magician in my area that was rightfully convicted, and he had no previous record.
But honestly, what parent in their right mind would leave their kids alone with a stranger, even if it's an entertainer. That being said, it's happened to me. Now it's in my party recommendations that I send out that there must be an adult present at all times. I even say "this should be a no-brainer." And when I go to a school, I ask "where's the closest adult bathroom?"
The truth is pedophiles are often drawn to jobs that involve working with kids. When I was a kid, the head 4-H guy was convicted. Luckily, my mom never let me go on the field trips. Mama's intuition I suppose.
That being said, as we know, the vast majority of kids' entertainers, teachers, dare I say priests, etc, are not evil deviants, but the bad ones do exist and will continue to. Clearly, the main line of defense is the parents making smart choices and educating the children about these situations.
If I was required by law to do a background check, that would be fine by me. It would probably do more harm than good by setting the parents' minds at ease in a case where they'd be smarter to be cautious.
Potty the Pirate
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I think it's inevitable that eventually kids' entertainers will require at least a CRB check (Criminal Records Bureau, here in the UK) or similar. A license may also be an eventual neccessity. I have always found it somewhat odd that whilst the workers at schools and pre-schools, even parents who organise events for kids, must be checked out, most kids' performers are able to carry on their business without any kind of checks.
That said, the vast majority of full-time UK kids' entertainers will have a CRB check. Not that it means much - just that if they have paedophile tendencies, they haven't been caught. The CRB check is also daft, because someone with a criminal record for (say) shoplifting when they were 16, would mean they can't entertain kids when they're much older. I would like to see appropriate safeguards in place, but would be most hesitant to suggest that a conviction for an offence which is not child-related would, of neccessity, mean that any particular person would be deemed unfit to work with kids.
My opinion is that paedophiles would generally not consider entertainment as their way to have access to kids, simply because it is a very rare event indeed when a kids' entertainer is left alone with kids. And even when that happens, it's not in a place that untoward things might happen. Not that I know the "modus operandi" of these nasty people. But I totally agree, make sure you are clear with your clients that you should never be left alone with the kids. This is an easy one: we're there to entertain, and should any particular child need attention (needs to go to the toilet, feels sick, gets hurt, etc), then it's not our job to deal with that issue. Obviously, we are there to carry on amusing the remainder of the kids.
I guess that does beg the question: "what about if a kid does feel sick, and is taken out of the room by the only supervising adult, then that means you are left alone, at that time, with the rest of the kids?" My feeling on this is that this being a fairly rare occurrence, it's just something we have to accept. I have yet to attend a party where all the kids got sick (it could happen - food poisoning from the party tea, perhaps?)
Of course, we can never anticipate nor plan for dreadful occurrences like this - but a professional attitude and manner, should (hopefully) mean that even in the very worst-case scenario, we as entertainers do the best we can to help, and are not seen in any way as a threat or problem.
This is most certainly a real issue, and one that warrants serious consideration.
Skip Way
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A pedophile with a clean criminal history is either a pedophile that hasn't been caught yet, a pedophile that uses an assumed name or a pedophile that hides behind a safe relative's identification. While I would have no problem whatsoever being licensed as a children's performer, such legislation does nothing to resolve these specific dodges.

As Jay wisely wrote, our best defense is setting our standards and never being alone with any child ever. The child's best defense is a parent's diligence in being aware of each child's environment. No law will ever change that. Second best is each of us being aware of the children around us and being their defenders when questions arise.
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh -
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Profile of Starrpower
This is absurd. More bureaucracy will not solve a thing other than provide a false sense of security and cost governments more money in maintaining the process and investigating complaints.

Why stop at children's performers? Why not all employees of stores where kids might be? Children's departments, children's shoe stores, Toys R Us, Chuck E Cheese, McDonald's, etc ... more children are away from an adult at these places then with your average children's performer. How about background checks and licensing for anyone that enters a private home where kids might be, i.e. electricians, plumbers, exterminators, cable installers, etc.
Potty the Pirate
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Starrpower - before you know it, your ideas will probably become reality! I tend to agree that the current system of checking seems to provide a "false sense of security". The reality being that there are really very few individuals with these evil tendencies, compared to the population at large. And no matter how much we try to prevent their activities, I suspect they will always find a way to do what they choose to do....
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Profile of Leland
I think its a good idea to have a back ground check, but as with all good ideas someone will come along and ruin it for all the honest people out there. Time will tell on this one.
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