Have you watched “The Christmas Story” yet this year? Were the Santas of your childhood more like that Santa, or did they more closely resemble the “Miracle on 34th Street” Santa Claus? The real Santa would have had a tough time with a background check, especially considering that he breaks several laws each year with his Christmas deliveries.
But, what about the “Santa’s helpers” your kids visit each year? Could they pass a background check and a sex offender search?
“One look at Lance McLean, and you know what he does every year,” begins a report by ABC news. He is employed by Lonestar Santa, and he is required to have a background check. But, many other Santas are employed by other vendors, and there is no assurance that your Santa will have a background check. This could include volunteers at your church, your local library, or your child’s school. How do you know? Really, the only way to know that your kids are safe is to ask if they have been screened or not. You can also run the Santa’s name through the Texas Sex Offender Registry. McLean is more than happy to let his customers know that he has had his background checks, but this is not the case with every Santa.
Some Santas, like Russ Wise, are upset that he would even have to answer the question if he is a sex offender. Wise says he is “philosophically opposed to having to prove that he is innocent.”
So, as a parent, ultimately the responsibility rests with you. Whether your child is visiting Santa or the Easter Bunny, you can never be sure if the character they are visiting has been screened unless you ask.