The Philadelphia School District on Thursday was trying to clarify a policy that requires parents to submit to FBI fingerprinting before they can enter their children's classrooms.

One mother said she found out about the policy when she signed in to visit her daughter's first-grade class at the Meredith Elementary School. Alison McDowell said she was told every parent who enters the school must have criminal, child abuse and FBI fingerprint clearances.

McDowell went to the School Reform Commission, where commissioner Jim Gallagher urged staff to simplify the clearance process. He called the policy "crazy."

A new state law requires employees to have FBI background checks. But a district official says some principals may have mistakenly extended that requirement to parent volunteers.