Parents in Kewanee, Illinois are asking the local Park District to implement background checks for youth sports coaches. Per a report from the Kewanee-based newspaper Star Courier, two mothers went before the Kewanee Park District’s Board of Commissioners to state their case. The women were inspired to speak up after an incident in which a Kewanee Park District coach was arrested in the middle of a baseball game.
Per coverage, the coach, 28-year-old Holden Hulslander, was taken into custody on the evening of Tuesday, June 13th mid-way through a baseball game at a local park. Hulslander, police said, had “failed to report for imprisonment” after a driver’s license revocation. When they arrived at the baseball practice to take Hulslander into custody, police said he went calmly and quietly. The Star Courier notes that he is currently being held in county jail.
Police have not disclosed why Hulslander’s driver’s license was revoked in the first place, reports note. Several local parents were allegedly so alarmed to see a coach taken away in handcuffs in the middle of a game that they decided to take the matter to the Kewanee Park District. One mother expressed her belief that she should not “be put in a position where the coach is arrested,” and urged the Board of Commissioners to do something to prevent an incident like this from occurring again in the future.
The commission apologized for what happened but explained the dilemma of running background checks on each coach. Right now, coverage explains, the Kewanee Park District has about 70 people listed as coaches for local youth baseball and softball teams. Background checks through the Kewanee Police Department cost $30 per check. Background checks for all 70 coaches would cost the Park District $2,100. To cover the cost of background checks, the Park District would have to raise participation fees above their current level of $45 per child. The commission expressed concern that a higher price might make it difficult for some kids to get involved with youth sports.
Commissioners warned that a background check requirement would serve as a barrier to entry for interested coaches, reports indicate. The commission said that the Kewanee Park District is already struggling to attract volunteers to coach all the local teams. Background checks might scare off potential volunteers, they claim—particularly if the Park District asked volunteers to pay for their own background checks. One parent said she was willing to help look for volunteers if it meant that background checks were in place. The Kewanee Park District has yet to grant or deny the request.