US scrubbed plan to protect exchange students

HOLBROOK MOHR MITCH WEISS Associated Press Published:

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- The State Department has scrapped a plan to require FBI-based fingerprint searches for people hosting foreign high school foreign exchange students.

Documents obtained by The Associated Press say the agency considered requiring FBI fingerprint-based background checks to keep teens from being assigned to families where they might be exposed to criminals.

Officials said last year that implementing the program wasn't feasible and it was dropped.

The move would have ensured a federal criminal background check on families who wanted to host visiting high school students.

Some advocates for foreign exchange students say the State Department sent the wrong message at a time when allegations of mistreatment and sexual abuse of visiting teens were surfacing.