Who should make the decision about what names should be included, and what should the criteria be?

The State of California maintains a database of people who allegedly abuse children. (The database also includes names of the alleged victims.) The list is made available to dozens of public agencies, and it is considered in cases of child adoption and employment decisions. Because so many people have access to the list, its content is easily disclosed to outsiders. In 1996, an alleged abuser and her child, whose case was dropped but whose names had remained on the list, sued the State of California for invasion of privacy.

With the class divided into groups, debate the issues involved. Specifically:

a. Is there a need to include names of people on the list in cases that were dismissed or declared unfounded?

b. Who should make the decision about what names should be included, and what should the criteria be?

c. What is the potential damage to the abusers (if any)?

d. Should the State of California abolish the list? Why or why not?