ORLANDO, Fla. – The YMCA of Central Florida announced to its members that it will begin screening all members and guests to see if they’re registered sex offenders before being let inside their buildings.
The announcement came in the form of a letter sent to members signed by Chief Operating Officer Daniel Ickes.
Ickes sent an explanation to News 6.
“At the YMCA of Central Florida, there is nothing more important to us than the safety and security of our members, staff and volunteers. For that reason, we proactively evaluate our safety procedures; and, as a result, recently made the decision to enhance our check-in process,” Ickes said.
The wording has already been added to the Y’s Code of Conduct, which all members sign when they join.
A check of other YMCA policies revealed Central Florida is not alone.
YMCA organizations across the country had adopted similar screening methods, some as far back as 2010.
Some experienced incidents that prompted the new screenings, others said it was preventive.
“Rules can be very strict, but how are they applied?” News 6 legal analyst Steven Kramer asked.
He said it appears the decision to screen members and guests for sex offenders in Central Florida is proactive.
“Is this in response to some activities or some events at other Ys, or is this trying to make sure that nothing happens in the future?” he asked. “The reality is probably a mix of both.”
When the YMCA in Connecticut implemented the policy, leaders there told the media they ran all 50,000 of their members’ names in the national sex offender database. They wouldn’t give complete numbers, but they said only a handful were on the list.
The new screening procedures in Central Florida take effect Aug. 1.