This letter is in response to an informative article on page 6 of the March 3 Star. The headline reads “I-SEARCH program available in local area.”
I feel the problem is that, while the article is attempting to inform, it does so with some misinformation, and plus it is also missing information.
The most important piece of information that Donald R. Roth Jr. missed is that there is only one organization on campus that has had the ability for almost five years to put forth the approximate 600 work hours needed to properly run the program. 600 hours!!? What group of college students would put forth that kind of effort … without getting paid for their time and energy. The answer is PSE.
PSE (Pi Sigma Epsilon) runs I-SEARCH by fingerprinting children at Wal-Mart, Farm and Fleet and even going to the local grade schools and videotaping once each year.
As for the misinformation, I do not believe there was any poor intentions at all, only slightly twisted due to a lack of actual experience on the part of Mr. Roth. The only reason I feel it is important to point out some of this is that it may upset some parents when they actually fingerprint their child, and it is different from what they read about.
Just to let you know, when fingerprinting the children, we fill in the name of the child and date of fingerprinting, the person actually who does the fingerprinting then signs the form. Next the child is fingerprinted and their hands are cleaned (a very important step mind you). After that, the parent is given the forms and fingerprint card to keep in a provided manilla envelope (the parents must finish filling in all of the personal details). By then, the members of PSE who have graciously donated their time (not to mention ability to deal with small children) are moving on to the next child.
Last spring, on one day in Wal-Mart alone, PSE members fingerprinted approximately 300 local children. That makes me very proud to have been a PSE member since the fall of 1990 semester, and proud of the success of the I-SEARCH program. As the father of a seven-year-old girl, I can easily see the value in all of this. I cannot help but think that everyone else either sees the value, or will someday (when they have children themselves). In the meantime, the NIU chapter of PSE and its members are proud of the project and thank anyone who has ever had their child fingerprinted or supported the program in any way. The same goes for any media coverage that is received to heighten awareness of the safety of children everywhere. Also, let us not forget these PSE members who go even the extra mile and chair the project (this semester, Dave Price and Kathy Voss).