I went back to school last week. Which meant a trip to the doctor for a TB test. After that, a quick stop in the school office to get this year’s photo badge created. And finally, the run across town to the district office to have myself fingerprinted.
Here in our school district, all parent volunteers must produce evidence of a TB test. I’m not entirely sure they can keep a parent out of the school, if they turn out to be TB positive, but they test you, just the same.
The Health Department is a recommended source for the test. That's where I had my test two years ago. Picture the DMV--with needles. Not awesome.
As in many public buildings, everyone in the school must carry an official photo ID. Many of the teachers wear them on a lanyard. Same thought goes through my head, every time I hang that badge around my neck like a dog collar: my tongue hanging out of my mouth, panting. “Look, I’ve had my shots!”
And finally, you must submit to fingerprinting
The fingerprinting is my least favorite item on the Back to School list.
Turns out, I have very finely textured and dry skin. Every time I go in, they slather jelly like lotion on my hands before rolling my fingers over the electronic screen, again and again and again. They are required by law to attempt to register my fingerprints at least twice.
For three years running, my electronic fingerprints have been no good.
This makes me one of the few people in the world, born with the qualifications for jewel thievery.
I don’t leave fingerprints.
Every year, the school has to send my name into the FBI, instead of my fingerprints. Just in case.
I’ve heard it’s done to “keep the children safe.” Hardened cynic that I am, I suspect child safety is a somewhat distant second in purpose to legal CYA maneuvers. But I follow the circus, just the same.
I think we engineer these checklists of safety items to make us feel safe. As if a simple skin test can tell if someone is healthy or dangerous. As if the faces we don’t recognize are people we can trust because they wear a photo ID.
As if everyone who commits a crime, leaves a fingerprint behind.