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  • Hazing issue

    Hi all. I could use a bit of advice on an issue that occurred a few days ago.

    One of the scouts in my Venturing crew is also in our sister unit, a local troop chartered by the same church. During the troop's Court of Honor last week, my scout apparently struck a scout in the troop in what I have learned in called "sack tapping". This is a recent fad among teenagers where they strike or slap another male's testicles in order to cause some level of discomfort. It is a form of hazing. It is dangerous and there hundreds of videos on YouTube showing this, as well as many news stories documenting various injuries, including loss of a testicle.

    The victim of this sustained an injury (serious swelling) and had to go to urgent care for an ultrasound and pain relief. The family ended up paying more than $600.00 in out-of-pocket expenses as a result.

    The committee chair of the troop (whose son was the victim) approached me because I was the former scoutmaster of that troop and because the aggressor is one of my scouts. I referred her back to her troop's scoutmaster, and suggested contacting the parents of the scout in question as well. I also ended up speaking with the parents because I met with them for an unrelated reason. One was aware of it and the other was not.

    To make a long story as short as possible: the scout who caused this issue and his family met with the victim, apologized and tried to make peace. However, they have declined to help with the medical expenses and now consider the matter closed.

    The victim family is filing an insurance claim on the troop's insurance. The scoutmaster of the troop is attempting to deal with the matter, but is having serious resistance from the parents. He decided to try and make something constructive out of it and wants the scout who caused the injury to make a presentation to the troop on hazing and bullying, and possibly some other community service-type of activity as a form of discipline. The family of this scout refused this, essentially stating that their son is traumitized by what occurred and they consider the matter closed. This leaves the action the scoutmaster can take rather limited, perhaps suspending the scout or expelling him. The mother also wrote a long email essentially accusing the units leadership of ignoring similar incidents and singling out her son. The parent now insists that any contact with her son about this or similar issues be with both parents present.

    Aside from that problem, the scout who caused the injury has just applied for his Venturing Gold award in my crew. With this in mind, I spoke to the scout, who essentially told me that he feels he is being picked on and that he settled the issue with the victim, so the issue is done with. One of the reasons I spoke with him as well was because I have had to talk to him twice in the last year as a result of complaints made against this scout by female crew members because he would not keep his hands to himself.

    So (and sorry for the long post), the troop's issue is theirs to handle, although I am curious what your take on that would be. My issue is the Gold award and whether I should be evaluating this incident in this recognition (which makes no mention of scout spirit or anything like it). The only section that might fit (or might not) reads, "I/we certify that the candidate is well qualified for the Gold Award, that
    he/she has fulfilled the requirements for the award, and that he/she has my/our complete recommendation for recognition of this significant achievement." and is for the committee chair and I to sign.

    Comments?




  • #2
    I am confused about something:



    So the family of the scout who did the slapping says the scout who did the slapping is traumatized?

    Seriously? Why and how? Because he had to apologize?

    And if I am understanding this right...I'd like to ask them how they think they can refuse. If I was the scoutmaster, I would say : " Your son WILL make the presentation. Your son will talk to the troop about it!" PERIOD! I'm iffy on community service, but a verbal presentation is NOT out of line.

    I'd tell the parents that this is the first step to avoid being expelled out of the troop, and it's not negotiable!

    Comment


    • #3
      Since this happened during a Scout activity (a Court of Honor no less!), all in attendance were bound by the Scout Law. His behavior clearly fell outside the Scout Law, and he is therefore subject to Troop discipline. Apologizing to the other kids is a great first step, but the matter is hardly closed.

      There should be an immediate suspension from all Scout activities pending a full Board of Review. This includes Troop meetings and outings. The Scoutmaster and Troop Committee can decide on further action depending on how the Board of Review goes.

      You must take immediate action or the other Scouts will conclude this behavior is acceptable and should be continued.

      Comment


      • #4
        dhendron is a crew advisor and not (if I understood correctly) a current troop leader. The boy in question is in both a troop and a crew. So, two issues:

        1) What should the troop do? My thoughts, not necessarily in chronological order

        The troop should expect more of the boy than just an apology. I'm sure he is really embarrassed, but TOO BAD. Presentation on bullying is ok, but a couple of adults should ensure that the boy has done a good job preparing for this first - maybe have him do a dry run or at least, show an outline, to his SM in advance and require the SM (and SPL?) to approve before he can make the presentation. Or have him work as a partner with an adult or youth leader to prep the whole thing.

        Second, the troop should put an immediate hold on any near-term advancement. A boy who can't keep his hands to himself and causes injury to others is not showing scout spirit in numerous ways.

        Third, the troop should back the insurance claim. $600 is not small potatoes. Frankly, it seems to me the boy who did the slapping ought to pay this himself - but it was an injury at a scout event and that's what insurance is for. Tough luck if the parents object, it isn't their call.

        Fourth - is this a YPT issue? Given the nature of the slapping, I'm not sure, but it could be. In that case, a call to your local scouting professionals might be in order.

        Fifth - maybe "slappy" is right that he's being "picked on" and that other boys engage in this same activity all the time. In that case, a) he needs to understand that he is only being "picked on" because he was unlucky enough to have hurt someone/got caught. That's reality for ya. For comparison purposes, if you were to speed, or drink and drive, and you got caught, a defense of "yeah but everybody else does it!" isn't going to get you very far. And b) the troop might want to take a closer look at how come other boys are not being caught. Maybe this is a good time for some serious "guy talk" about keeping one's hands to oneself, and better supervision.

        2) What should the crew do?

        This is trickier. If the boy had not gotten caught recently, how would you have felt about recommending him, given that he can't keep his hands off the girls? With that background and now this incident, I think I would be inclined to quietly hold off on signing off for this award. Expect him to show improvement in his general comport and respect for others.

        Another quiet conversation about how reputation follows you might be in order here. Again for comparison: you get enough DUIs, you might lose your job. You get enough speeding tickets, your license might be revoked and your insurance rates might go through the roof. The neighbors might talk about you. Your adult application to volunteer as a scout leader might be rejected by the BSA. Etc. In the real world, consequences of poor behavior are just not neatly compartmentalized and this kid should learn that lesson NOW.

        However, I freely acknowledge that I'm not well versed in requirements for the Gold award and am only assuming that there must be something similar to a scout oath/law/spirit expectation involved - and we all know about assumptions.

        ------------
        The one thing I absolutely would NOT DO is to assign community service as some sort of punishment. There's a huge disconnect. "You inappropriately touched somebody so go help your community!" No. And anyway, community service is supposed to be something scouts do of their own free will, not something they do in penitence. (Heaven help you, the theme of the next thread will be "my son was assigned community service as punishment, and now the troop won't count that service toward his Life rank!" Don't set yourself up for that!)

        Good luck, and I hope you'll let us know how things unfold because we all can learn a lot by thinking these sorts of things through.

        Comment


        • #5
          Yah, hmmmm....

          Life is so much easier when parents behave like adults.

          So da folks asking the question are unit leader types, so I'm goin' to respond from that perspective.

          1) You've been told and have confirmed that somethin' which may be considered sexual battery was committed by one boy against another on your watch, and you know it caused injury.

          2) The parents of the injured boy aren't in an understanding mood.

          Yeh really have very little choice in the matter, because this is somethin' that could become a big deal. The boy who committed the act gets the boot, at least temporarily. Yeh notify the SE immediately because this could become a big deal and yeh need him to get on board and up to speed. As a unit, yeh take the side of the victim, and yeh ask if they wish to press charges. If so, yeh put 'em in contact with the appropriate folks in law enforcement.

          Don't get into the middle of the between-family stuff, eh? Yeh want to stay far, far away from that. Da SE will, if he's smart, expedite the health insurance claim to avoid da risk of somethin' bigger.

          Now, the way this likely plays out if the unit and the SE take it seriously is that the parents of the victim are reassured that we scouters don't have our heads up our behinds, and they start calmin' down. When we cover da medical expenses, it reduces the pressure and probably saves the perpetrator from some legal difficulties too. Positive results all around. Then, when all that settles (and only then!), yeh figure out if it's reasonable or possible to re-admit the boy to the troop under some strict conditions.

          Yah, you're in a slightly different place, dhendron, unless your crew is chartered to da same CO as the troop. If it isn't, then you're a separate entity and have some more wiggle. But yeh have to make a serious judgment call. You can be the port in the storm for the boy who misbehaved, an island where he gets to acknowledge and talk about his mistake and learn how to handle it from a mentor (along da lines of what Lisabob describes). Or, your unit can look at it as another area of concern on top of the other groping that the lad was doing and decide you need to take some form of action to protect your crew and the rest of your kids. That's a serious judgment call, eh? If yeh choose to be the port in the storm, be sure, as sure as yeh can, that the lad is genuinely remorseful and "gets it." If yeh think he doesn't, or yeh feel his parents are enabling his behavior, protect your other kids.

          Lots of times it's possible to pour water on fires like this, eh? But da first step is always to acknowledge in no uncertain terms that there really is a fire.

          Beavah
          (This message has been edited by Beavah)

          Comment


          • #6



            WOW! That is soooo what I meant!

            Comment


            • #7
              Unfortunately, I've had some recent experience with this sort of behavior.

              First and formost, do not fall into the aggressor scout parents' idea their son is any sort of victim here. Don't let them sidetrack you with what others may have done or gotten away with, or what other Scouts or leaders should or should not have done.

              The only reason you're in this situation now is because of the inappropriate behavior of their son. That needs to be the focus. He intentionally hurt someone, apparently more seriously than he intended, but he hit the boy with the purpose of embarassing and causing him pain. That's serious. Beavah's use of the term "sexual assault" is not inappropriate.

              That the boy has apologized and tried to make amends is to his credit. But the bully and his parents don't get to dictate when it is over and done with. The troop and still has a role in the matter. The Scoutmaster's solution for the boy to make a presentation to the troop is a reasonable one. That the parents have declined is one of the most troubling aspect of the situation. They clearly aren't on board with correcting their son's behavior, so the troop must deal with it. If suspension or expulsion is on the table, so be it.

              BSA insurance is set us specifically to cover deductibles and other non-covered expenses in a situation like this. I have a little different take on the insurance compared to Beavah, Esq.'s more detached, professional approach. Frankly, that the insurance will protect the bully and his parents from any real consequences bothers me. They should be paying full hospital bill, IMO. But I know the world doesn't work that way anymore.

              As to the crew's involvement, first, I don't know enough about the Venturing program to have an opinion about the Gold Award.

              I understood you to say the two units are attached to the same chartered organization. In absolute terms, the troop and crew are separate units and one shouldn't have anything to do with the other. But neither would I allow the boy to play Bonnie and Clyde with the state line. I think you need to get the Chartered Organization Representative on board with you. If I were the COR for the troop and crew, I would want to make sure that consequences from one unit follow through to the other. This is especially true given that the boy has displayed similar behaviors in both units. Just because he's playing for two teams doesn't mean he should get six strikes.

              (This message has been edited by Twocubdad)

              Comment


              • #8
                With an injury, this should have been reported to the DE and see what kinda paperwork needs completed for council. From what I gather it is different council to council.

                The boy needs suspended immediately.

                A scout hits another scout in the testicles and the boy who did the hitting is upset by the experience?????

                No Gold award for you.

                He and his parent need to man up......Take responsibility. Until they pay for the medical care they would not be welcome back and I would make sure that the other crews in the area are aware of what happened so they didn't try to change crews just to get the award.

                The boy can't keep his hands off the ladies too ehhhhhh. The boy needs suspended or just flat kicked out. He respects no one.


                I searched nationals site for forms but I cannot find them can someone provide a link.......(This message has been edited by Basementdweller)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Yep this is a DE/SE issue. Assault is involved, Check. Insurance is involved, Check. had issues with inappropriate touching in past check. yep it's a DE/SE issue.

                  My advice would be follow the directions of the SE.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    From the Guide to Safe Scouting - in BOLD TYPE -

                    "All members of the Boy Scouts of America are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the principles set forth in the Scout Oath and Law. Physical violence, hazing, bullying, theft, verbal insults, and drugs and alcohol have no place in the Scouting program and may result in the revocation of a Scout's membership in the unit."

                    and -

                    "The unit should inform the Scout executive about all incidents that result in a physical injury or involve allegations of sexual misconduct by a youth member with another youth member."


                    There have been 2 incidents (that you know of) of sexual misconduct in the Crew. There was a physical attack that resulted in a hospital visit in the Troop. Per BSA rules, the SE must be informed.

                    The COR should also be brought into this. It is their responsibility to protect the youth in ALL of their units.

                    This is not an isolated incident. This is a pattern of behavior spread between two units. Personally, if I were the COR, I would get the boy and his parents in for a talk about his ONGOING behavior, and I would be HEAVILY leaning toward suspending him from ALL of the CO's units for a period of time.

                    Just a note - If these types of behaviors have truly been being basically brushed off, or ignored, both the Troop and the Crew need to take a good hard look at the behavior of all of their youth, and see how their response to that behavior should be changed.


                    Comment


                    • #11
                      folks,

                      regarding the tapper making a verbal presentation about bullying, or a very public apology - with the possibility of insurance claims leading to legal action, his parents may want him to keep his mouth shut. Anything he might say - no matter how well intentioned or honorable - could be used against him in a court of law. The "Andy Griffith" school of problem resolution won't fly when you bring in the lawyers.

                      Second, was this really hazing or bullying? Is this scout the only tapper? Or was this something that a number of scouts have been engaging in? Please, don't think I'm condoning the tapper's behavior - it was absolutely unacceptable - but was it bullying, hazing or sexual battery? Or just stupid teenage goofing around, where all involved have at some time been both the tapper and the tapped?

                      Because, lets face it - in the teen world, a good "nut shot" is high comedy these days. Sounds like a classic case of "it's funny, until somebody gets hurt".

                      Now, before you tar & feather me... anybody here ever snapped a wet towel at somebody's bare butt in the high school locker room? Was it sexual battery, or just "all in fun"?

                      The complaints by the young ladies about the tapper not keeping his hands to himself are a whole different kettle of fish. There's no mitigating interpretation of the action or intention in that situation. But it is a different situation than the sack tapping.

                      Sack tapping, and other similar acts, should probably be addressed by the SM in front of the whole troop. The message, "it's funny until somebody gets hurt" isn't a just a funny saying on a T-shirt.

                      NC

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        This isn't hazing. This is battery and should be dealt with as such. Yeah the aggressor is traumatized! Bull!

                        This could get real ugly if the parents decide to take this to court. It sounds like there are lots of witnesses & the traumatized aggressor (Bull) could be up to his in hot water!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm with evmori on this one. This is assault. If a person inflicts enough harm on another person that it requires a trip to the hospital, it is not hazing, it's assault and should have had a police report written up on it for the insurance company.

                          In my troop, the boy would not be doing any presentations on hazing, he'd be looking for another activity to fill his now vacant scout meeting night. The potential for inflicting harm on another scout is unacceptable in the troop.

                          Stosh

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I asked my wife about this and she was startled. She said she had just seen this very subject, Sack Tapping, on Judge Judy. On the Judge Judy episode the "sack tapper" has injured another boy to the point of needing medical care.

                            The end was the parents of the tapper were responsible to pay the medical bills. Now, if the tapper is 18 or more, then he gets sued for the payments.

                            If the sack tapper ends up with just doing a "presenation" the youth in your troop know they can do anything and just skate.

                            This is a real issue, the question isn't how this effects the Gold Award, its whether or not the tapper gets arrested for Battery

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              You've received great advice, unusually for this group it is remarkably cohesive.
                              The question is, will you use it?

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