Background checks, when it comes to employment, guns, housing, and volunteers, are a reliable safety measure. Yet, in some instances, screening all individuals goes overboard. This applies to the DeSoto, Texas Red Cross shelter, who, helmed by the city, considered screening all evacuees from Hurricane Isaac but backed off its decision yesterday.
Originally, DeSoto wanted to examine the backgrounds of all in the shelter to weed out convicted drug dealers and sex offenders. This protocol made its way to the shelter and partnering church and eventually to the evacuees, one of which contacted a national Red Cross board member. From there, the Red Cross, which claims it enforces safety procedures but does not screen evacuees, addressed the DeSoto police chief and mayor about the measure.
Regarding this, a spokesperson for the Red Cross told the press: “No, absolutely not. The Red Cross actually does not perform background checks but that doesn’t mean we don’t take the security of our personnel and our evacuees seriously.”
As Hurricane Isaac moves through the South, those coming to the DeSoto shelter arrived from as far as Louisiana. Within one day, the shelter went from holding one individual to 50, and as a result, the shelter began to have security concerns. In addressing these issues, a church pastor, who had met with city officials, told the press: They have gone through enough trauma. Just the standard Red Cross forms they fill out are efficient. We don’t need anything further. I don’t know what there would be further anyway.”
Safety, in any situation, must always be a priority. However, with background checks and similar measures, safety guidelines can occasionally go too far. Do you think the city of DeSoto was out of line for originally proposing background checks for all evacuees at the shelter, or in this day and age, is such a procedure necessary?