A group of writers in the UK have announced that they will stop making visits to schools, to give talks to pupils, etc, in the wake of a new government scheme. The scheme would require them to register on a database and be vetted, for child protection purposes. They would also have to pay £64 to register. Authors including Phillip Pullman (author of the His Dark Materials trilogy, amongst others) and Anthony Horrowitz (author of the Alex Rider series of children's books) have hit out against it, and announced their intention not to take part. If you want to read more, you can do so here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8153251.stm As I see it, there are two equally valid sides of the argument. Firstly, these people are being forced to pay, in order to feed a paedophilia paranoia. I agree that there is a lot of scaremongering over paedophilia in the UK (I'm not sure if it's the same in other countries). The media paints a picture of child abusers lurking around every corner, which is unrealistic and untrue. Also, this scheme is damaging the potential value that pupils would gain from visits by the authors. I know if I'd had a visit from one of those authors when I was in school, I would have been thrilled. On the other hand, a similar vetting process is required for all other people working with children. The CRB checks were introduced a few years ago, and yes they have caused a lot of extra chaos, but they do serve a valuable perfect. And should these people really be exempted from the rule? That said, everyone else doesn't have to pay for the privilege of a criminal records check- it's paid for by the (potential) employer. So what do you think?