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  • Troop Trouble Maker . . .

    ~~What do you do with the boy causing problems isn’t the obvious suspect?

    Our last group of Weblo’s included Lars, a high strung lad with ADHD. He managed to earn absolutely nothing at Summer Camp. When they were settled into Patrols in August it was suggested that he be in a Patrol with James, a small, mild mannered boy, because their teachers keeps them together at school because James is a good influence on Lars. Anyway it became immediately obvious that Lars was disrupting his patrol (Owls) and that neither the PL nor SPL could manage him. I was sent to watch and make suggestions that could be given at the next PLC.

    What I saw was as follows: James would say something like, “Hey Lars, bet you can’t huck a loogie over to where Alex is sitting.” Or something similar, then Lars would oblige. I decided that James wasn’t exactly a calming influence and suggested that Lars try another patrol, but that we keep James where he was. When Lars was accepted into the Ravens patrol, I was told to keep watching and see if he would continue to cause problems; he didn’t.

    One night Lars was selected to dig some cooking equipment out of the closet, when Alex followed him in and started shoving him around and saying that Lars ruined the Owl patrol because now they only had 7 boys and both of the other Patrols have 9 boys. I separated them and sent both boys back to their Patrols. There was another scuffle over at the Owls area that night when Alex started sniping at the PL for not being able to keep the patrol together and demanding new elections. Since Lars seemed to be doing well in his patrol, I was sent back to watch the Owls.

    James had buddied up to Alex in the time I was away watching Lars, and kept telling Alex that he would be a far better PL than the current boy. Then James started telling the other boys that Alex would make a better PL. After a couple of weeks the boys mutinied and Alex got into a shoving match with the PL over the removal of Lars from the patrol. The boys were separated and told that LARS was the reason LARS was moved, it was not a result of poor leadership by the PL. Alex refused to be in the Owls patrol if he couldn’t be the PL, so he was sent to the Eagles patrol. I was told to keep watch over the Owls to ensure that the rebellion had died down.

    Our entire Troop does the tenderfoot fitness test every 30 days all year long. The thinking is that if a boy misses the fitness test meeting, joined at a different time, didn’t make any improvements, etc. he can always catch it on the next go-round and it’s good for the boys to run a mile every 30 days anyway. Dylan (another of our new scouts) broke his leg playing baseball this summer and is still on crutches. Consequently he hasn’t done any of the 30 day fitness tests since. He helps count, measure, or time, and when he’s off the crutches he’ll have to run the mile like all the other boys, but for now, he’s the timer.

    James started telling the other boys that it wasn’t fair that Dylan didn’t have to run with everyone else and pretty soon the other boys started picking on James claiming that he shouldn’t get special treatment and that he wasn’t really hurt. Jacob stabbed Dylan with a pencil one night and drew blood. Another night Jacob tripped Dylan and took his crutches away. Last night Jacob punched Dylan and knocked him flat. He was pulled from the room and the SM said that James had paid Jacob $10 to punch Dylan.

    Now the Committee wants to remove the rank of the current PL because there hasn’t been any order in that patrol since elections in September. I’ve told the committee that the PL has been doing his best but that James keeps manipulating the other boys to get them to act out. James manipulated Lars, but Lars hasn’t had any issues in his new patrol. It wasn’t until after James started telling Alex how wonderful he was that Alex acted out. Alex isn’t having any trouble in his new patrol either. James was the one who started complaining about Dylan, and he’s the one who paid Jacob to punch a kid on crutches. The committee doesn’t see it that way and says James couldn’t possibly be the problem because he is the smallest boy in the troop and always quiet and mild mannered.

    What do I do now?

  • #2
    What's your position in the troop? Regardless, the Committee doesn't have the authority to remove the current PL, that is simply beyond them. Regardless, they should trust and respect your imput on the matter, as you have been observing the patrols for some time now.



    I'm actually not sure what the process is for removing a Patrol Leader. I'd assume that would come from the Scoutmaster, but it might just be that the Patrol needs to hold new elections.



    I believe your version of events, and James's parent need to be called in and have a chat with the Scoutmaster, as does James himself.



    Gotta Love this Scouting stuff,

    Sentinel947

    Comment


    • #3
      Sentinel:
      I am a parent. Boys change their behavior if the SM or ASM is standing near by, so we use parents to watch patrols so that we know how they are really preforming. Since my oldest is an Raven and my youngest is an Eagle, I was the obvious parent to watch the Owls. (Another troop rule is one brother per patrol--the parents of this troop have a tendency to beget boys.)

      Comment


      • Sentinel947
        Sentinel947 commented
        Editing a comment
        If that is your troops practice, to have parents watch the patrols, then the Troop Committee should trust your observations.



        I trust your observation because I have the same function in my Troop (except I'm an ASM), where I advise the Troop Guides. I've seen a Scout with a behavior disorder be egged on by other Scouts to harass another Scout. Size is no indicator of social strength or manipulative/persuasive ability. Adults should realize this.



        Have you brought your observation to the Scoutmaster? It really is his role to deal with, long before it reaches the Troop Committee.
        Last edited by Sentinel947; 11-21-2013, 03:25 PM.

      • NeverAnEagle
        NeverAnEagle commented
        Editing a comment
        I took your advice and sent out an email asking for another adult volunteer to watch the patrol in order to verify what I saw. So far only Dylan's mom has volunteered and I don't think she'd be a good choice because the boys will know that they are being watched. Then again, maybe then NEED to know they are being watched.

    • #4
      Quite the master manipulator you have there. As others have said, this is an SM issue, and the Committee needs to focus on supporting the program, not micromanaging boys.

      Comment


      • #5

        Sometimes the smallest can be the biggest manipulator, and it sometimes is simply a way to compensate for their size. Aren't you happy your sons are not in the Owls patrol. I feel for the PL who is getting the blame for this.

        Comment


        • NeverAnEagle
          NeverAnEagle commented
          Editing a comment
          Moosetracker: oops wrong spot

      • #6
        Agreed its SM/Parent time, but as ASM for stabbing with a pencil and drawing blood I would have confiscated the Totin Chit and not worried about corners.
        Taking someones crutches is quite un-scout-behaviour. Special class on 1st Aid maybe? No hazzing I know, I have old school ideas ...

        In 2.5 years as a leader we/I only ever had 1 scout that was removed from the troop (Leaders decided, told the Committee who told the parents).
        But that is and should only be the very last resort.

        So how to manipulate a lil manipilator to stop manipulating? ...

        Comment


        • moosetracker
          moosetracker commented
          Editing a comment
          How do you STOP people from leaving?? This isn't a prison. And with their 'holier then thou', heavy handed (not to mention against policy) methods, not only will they loose people, they will not attract new people either. I would think their policies probably attracted an abnormal 'holier then thou' membership, and when BSA changed policy that did not enforce it, the people their attitude attracted are now fleeing to where they can still get that strict authoritarian rule.. Don't know why though.. Dollars to Donuts, even when the acceptance of homosexual youth kick in next year, your council will ignore the rule and kick them out anyway.. If they see no problem with kicking out anyone who is not Christian, then what is the problem with doing likewise to a few gay kids?

        • NeverAnEagle
          NeverAnEagle commented
          Editing a comment
          Moosetracker: Council is trying to show the remaining scouters that nothing is going to change. Groups like the PTA (previously) wouldn't charter units because of the discriminatory policies. Now the other church groups are worried that "liberal" groups might be willing charter units because the ban on gays was removed, then they would have to interact with them at Camp O'rees and things. Council is hemorrhaging boys to Trail Life and they are desperate to stop the flow.

        • moosetracker
          moosetracker commented
          Editing a comment
          Don't know about PTA groups.. Those were more pressured to stop their sponsorship over the fact atheists weren't allowed in, that hasn't changed. Other liberal groups who were are not sponsoring due to the gay issue would also tend hold out until the ban on Adult homosexuals was lifted also. I mean if there soul decision rests on equal treatment for homosexuals, then they are going to wait until homosexuals have equal treatment.

          But, seriously.. If your council fostered some sort of attitude that BSA was a "conservatives only" club.. Then it is now living with the damage that it created.

      • #7
        Originally posted by NeverAnEagle View Post
        ~Now the Committee wants to remove the rank of the current PL ---- What do I do now?
        I hope by "rank" you really mean his title/position of PL, and not his BSA rank (2nd Class, 1st Class, Star, etc). Once a BSA rank has been awarded - no one - except the BSA National office, has the ability to remove it.

        Certainly not your Troop's committee.

        Talk to your Scoutmaster - NOW.

        BTW - what was done with Alex for his multiple incidents of shoving, and (especially) Jacob for shoving, stabbing, tripping, stealing, and punching?

        James might have incited the incidents, but these boys were the ones to actually demonstrate, CLEARLY, what it means to NOT live by the Scout Oath and Law. The excuse of someone else "making" them act like aggressive bullies does not fly in my book. It was THEIR choice to act the way they did.

        Comment


        • NeverAnEagle
          NeverAnEagle commented
          Editing a comment
          Yes, I meant his title as PL.

          Unfortunately, Alex's parents think Alex would make a great PL and a lot of the new parents from this crop of Weblo's have decided they don't like our troop rules/traditions so they are supporting the removal of the PL and want to hold new elections, not just for that patrol, but for the whole troop.

        • qwazse
          qwazse commented
          Editing a comment
          Do these parents get that it's the SM's call when elections happen? It's his call about which troop customs to uphold/amend. The ASMs assist him. Period.
          Typically it's the boys who vote their leaders, and leaders don't get removed lightly.

        • NeverAnEagle
          NeverAnEagle commented
          Editing a comment
          qwazse
          The problem is they were here for elections and are mad because none of their boys were eligible to hold an office. Troop rule is: FIRST CLASS OR SHUT UP. Boys are not allowed to hold leadership positions until they achieve the rank of first class. Only boys who are 1st class or higher get a say in which activities are planned for the year, and if space is limited the boys who are 1st class get first dibs on trips.

          Alex is a whopping tenderfoot! And his dear mum and da think he should be patrol leader, and unfortunately, so did a lot of his chums.

      • #8
        James and the boys need to have a consequence. I have seen the same thing--we have one boy who is a master manipulator (I have written of him before) and maybe an A+, All American, future Eagle Scout Sociopath. Only boy out of 80+ I have personally dealt with that makes the alarms go off.

        We have had a few others that were instigators as well.

        I have a son like Lars and he was always being tricked into doing stuff, so the move was a good call.

        Comment


        • #9
          Sometimes it's hard to punish the right person. We used to teach our son that it's usually the person who reacts who gets punished. As such, we tried to teach our son to stand up for himself but not necessarily to fight back.

          I think something similar is needed here. The broken situation needs to be made whole by the person who did the act performing some form of restitution to the person who was damaged. Or some reasonable and timely substitute.

          But as for the instigator ... the kid who sews the trouble ... I'd approach that both individually (one on one) and also as a whole troop.

          Scoutmaster minutes? Talks? Character building. Anti-bullying videos. Other. The other scouts need to learn to think for themselves, to recognize the manipulation and to call people on it.

          Comment


          • #10
            James needs to use his powers for good. Personal interest from the SM in the form of informal SM conferences to deal with the immediate issue. But then encourage him to be PL.

            Comment


            • #11
              Have the troop committee watch Eddie Haskel on the old Leave it to Beaver show. Eddie was the best behaved, most polite kid on the planet, whenever a parent was watching. In real life he was a cheating, lying, backstabber who took a perverse pleasure in stirring up trouble. I am not saying that James = Eddie but such people do exist. They are smart, charming, and very very good at not getting caught
              This needs to be stopped now, if James follows the typical pattern he will need to keep upping the ante to keep getting his thrills.
              He seems to be targeting the weakest while trying to undermine the PL so he can take over. ( Warning bells going off here )
              You need to tell his parents that one more and James is gone. No appeals no second chances. As scouters the safety of the scouts is our primary concern. Not just the other scouts but James as well. If this keeps up, one of the bigger scouts is going to figure out that James has played him for a fool and give him a pounding that may well be deserved. But it will be hard to explain to James' parents why their little darling has a broken nose and two black eyes. You are also going to be loosing scouts if this keeps up. If I were the scout who had been stabbed and flattened I would not be back. You will also have no choice but to land hard on the scout who did the pounding deserved or not. This kid needs help and unless you have a degree in abnormal psychology its well above a scouters pay grade.
              James as a PL is just giving him more power to plot and manipulate
              Been there, twice, once as a scout, trying to keep from getting hurt, twenty years later as a scouter, trying to stop it, it was not pretty either time
              Last edited by Oldscout448; 11-23-2013, 10:01 AM.

              Comment


              • NeverAnEagle
                NeverAnEagle commented
                Editing a comment
                We do a movie night in December, I'll see if I can find this.

            • #12
              Troop Meeting Tomorrow promises to be light.

              The CC sent out an email stating that parents who show up will have an opportunity to learn the reasons behind the troop rules and traditions, AND why it's never a good idea for a brand new scout to be PL.

              Wish us luck!

              Comment


              • Kudu
                Kudu commented
                Editing a comment
                "Lord of the Flies" is an aggressively Christian allegory (people are inherently evil), but his boys-in-the-wild message is the opposite of Baden-Powell's Christian wilderness premise (people are inherently good).

              • qwazse
                qwazse commented
                Editing a comment
                I said I dint want to hear it ... But anyway ...


                Highest ranking youth picks the station (or in my case the MP3 player that gets hooked in), and the station must change/shuffle if I hear uncouth speech or more than 5 seconds of sales pitches, and nobody shuffles when Kansas or Diana Krol is being played.

                Like Kudu indicates, these stories are rife with Christian themes, and I'm more than prepared to bring it up with the boys. But that works best when the boys have ample control over the song/story selection. (Interestingly, I have noticed that girls aren't as interested in getting into the philosophy of what they listen to as much as boys are.)

              • NeverAnEagle
                NeverAnEagle commented
                Editing a comment
                To be totally honest I've never seen the boys discuss the philosophy of anything they listen to. Typically conversation about where to ride go like this;

                Scout 1: "What's lord of the flies about?"
                Scout 2: "A bunch of boys who get stuck on an island."
                Scout 1: "Do they shoot each other with guns?"
                Scout 2: "No they beat each other to death with a conch shell."
                Scout 1: "I TOTALLY dibs that car."

                Scout 3: "What's Ashes about?"
                Scout 4: "An EM pulse fries all the kids brains and the go around eating all the adults."
                Scout 3: "COOL!"

            • #13
              So I gotta ask here.


              If adults are intervening when the lads have issues, what are they learning??

              Isn't the goal of scouting is letting the lads figure it out for themselves?????


              Had a lad who knew he would never be elected PL manipulate the Patrol election so he would be APL. The funniest thing happened.. They guy he got elected didn't want him as APL because he was a pain in the butt and he knew that he wouldn't support him running the patrol.

              Given a chance the boys will get it right , eventually.

              Comment


              • qwazse
                qwazse commented
                Editing a comment
                What the boys are learning is exactly what the adults have learned through their council's policy of apartheid:

                If you disagree with who the Almighty has anointed to take of your boys, you can ignore what the Holy Spirit might be trying to teach you (and him/her) and give the fella/lady the boot.

                Scouting takes patience ... lots of it. Americans don't like waiting for anything (especially if you can get it at 50% off if you hustle away from the table right after desert. !)

              • NeverAnEagle
                NeverAnEagle commented
                Editing a comment
                BD: I'm not seeing a lot of adult intervention. The boys crossed over in April. In September we had one lad who wasn't working well in his patrol and was moved. Problems continued in that patrol until November when anxious parents wanted to remove the PL who is Star and replace him with their boy who was a tenderfoot. We have been trying to prevent that from happening, but also need to help the PL keep the patrol functioning because he has more on his plate than he can handle with this group of boys. Offering help to someone in need is a good thing. Letting the patrol flounder because a bunch of 11 & 12 year olds think they know more than the 14, 15 & 16 year olds would be disastrous and the boys wouldn't learn anything.

            • #14
              The bottom line here, I think, is that you can only fix what people are willing to change. Put your support behind the SM and help him as best you can. If people aren't living up to the desired standards of courtesy and kindness, the SM has to tell them so. If they are unwilling to change, hard decisions have to be made about who stays and who goes. I'm taking in feedback from others constantly about how to improve my behavior on a number of fronts. So, as far as I'm concerned, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

              Comment


              • NeverAnEagle
                NeverAnEagle commented
                Editing a comment
                My boys are looking to leave the troop as soon as the little one has his ECOH. The older one has no intention of becoming Eagle and only wanted to be in Scouts because it was fun. This new group of parents has made it decidedly "not fun."

            • #15
              Hello, NeverAnEagle, are you still out there? Any improvement?

              Comment

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