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Interestingly, not a problem

April 27, 2012

I’ve volunteered at 3 NYChessKids tournaments now, and I’ve actually had no issues with any parents. Coaches, yes, who think they’re entitled to watch kids games even after I shoo them out of the playing room for the fifth time, but not parents. Certainly, I feel safe from this sort of problem:

Man Rescues Boy, Mom Accuses Him of Being a Pedophile

Why do I think it’s unthinkable to be suspected of pedophilia as a male volunteer scholastic TD? Well, a few reasons:

1. Apparent authority. Despite a rash of teacher pedophile incidents in New York Schools, parents don’t yet think of teaching as a profession full of pedophiles. And somehow, as a TD, even though my Local TD credential consists entirely of, “Has a USCF rating, has directed at three tournaments, and has passed a multiple choice test on the rules of chess,” somehow that gives me an “Authority Figure” role, someone whom parents trust to watch over their kids for at least the 6-8 hours of chess. Crazy, isn’t it?

2. Chess gender roles. Chess is much more popular with boys, and so instead of playgrounds where 20 moms give dirty looks to the one single dad who shows up, chess tournaments feature a good mix of much less panicky dads.

These insane pedophilia scares have a lot of terrible effects, and one those terrible effects is discouraging men from volunteering with children. Fortunately, I think those of us volunteering in scholastic chess can be safe from this particular danger.

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