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  • Dealing with a Pregnant Crewmember

    A young female member and vice president of the venturing crew I am affiliated with recently announced she is pregnant. While I was personally shocked by the news of this 16-year-old's pregnancy, I was even more shocked when several parents came forward and voiced their opinions on the situation at a committee meeting. These parents wanted to know if the crew could suspend or remove this young lady from the crew. They said her activity was un-Scout-like and she was setting a bad example for the other young men and women in the crew; and just as the BSA prohibits atheists, agnostics and avowed homosexual from membership, they felt her sexual activity and resulting out-of-marriage pregnancy was directly violating the fundamental principles and tenets of the BSA. Can we denied or revoked the membership or leadership status of youth (or even an adult) for such a thing?

    I would hate to see us lose her as a member and leader.

    How should I and the other adult leaders go about addressing the issue with these parents, this young woman, and the other members in our crew?(This message has been edited by scoutmasterBradley)

  • #2
    what does your CO think about the situation?

    Comment


    • #3
      Friends who abandon you when you get in a situation are not friends and are certainly not scouts. A scout is helpful.

      Stand by your scout.

      My $0.02




      Comment


      • #4
        An interesting previous discussion from the Girl Scouting side of the coin:
        http://www.scouter.com/forums/viewThread.asp?threadID=250796

        Peresonally, I think those parents who object ought to be put on a lie detector and forced to answer a questionnaire about whether *they* engaged in pre-marital sexual activity. And their children should, too.

        But I agree. Your CO needs to make the call on this.

        Comment


        • #5
          You just hit the situation that we all hope passes to the crew/classroom/team/church youth group down the road. The way you phrased it, it sounds like you're not the advisor. So first thing is let him/her know you're going to stick by him/her in this situation.

          Like OGE says, have your advisor talk to the CO because you in a way represent them. They may be of special help if they are a religious institution and the young woman's family is of the same belief. So, get the boundaries from the CO of what you may or may not do in this situation.

          Then, "discipline in a crew is the responsibility of the crew officers." So within the boundaries of the CO, help the advisor convey your options and ask for their advice. They may tell you that this has nothing to do with crew life and you should go as easy as possible. They may tell you that the young lady is misrepresenting scouting and want you to come down harshly (something that I think most institutional heads will NOT want you to do).

          Finally, tell the parents that 1) the BSA has no stated bans on heterosexual fornicators -- the behavior is only prohibited on overnights(implicitly FWIW) in the GSS, 2) this is a youth-led movement and you expect them to stand by your officers, 3) your actions are within in the bounds of the wishes of your CO.

          Let's face it, this may result in parents wanting to have nothing to do with your crew. Encourage them to a) try and grow through this situation or b) seek out a more "compliant" CO and start their own crew. We really don't have enough of them to reach all the kids who could benefit from the program.

          P.S. - My personal opinion (informed by my religion) is pregnacy out of wedlock is proof of God's blessing in spite of our sinful nature. If it boils down to siding with the poor and fatherless vs. high and mighty, I'm choosing the one scripture says the Almighty will favor. Just sayin'.

          Comment


          • #6
            they felt her sexual activity and resulting out-of-marriage pregnancy was directly violating the fundamental principles and tenets of the BSA

            Yah, hmmm...

            I suppose they would have liked it better if the young lady would have quietly gone behind her parents' back for an abortion?

            I am a sinner and the son of sinners, eh? We all make mistakes. At the same time, sexual picadillos can cost someone their job and reputation. It's not somethin' we want to hold out as an example.

            For me, the line between mercy/compassion and justice/example turns on whether the young lady recognizes and admits her mistake and resolves to do her best to do better, eh? For the crew, she can either become a poor example ("look what I got away with") or a great example ("let me tell you, you don't want to make the same mistake that I did, but if you do, you need to live up to your obligations").

            I agree, however, with the rest of the folks. Yeh need to go have a sit-down with your IH (institutional head - the CEO of your chartered organization) ASAP. Your COR should be settin' it up. This is one of those things that's goin' to blow-back on the Chartered Organization one way or another, so they get to make the call. You and the committee work for them, not for the nattering parents. Quite frankly, on this sort of values decision, da CO should remove anyone from registered positions who doesn't salute and go along.

            Beavah

            Comment


            • #7
              Go with the CO on this one.

              As for the parents, behaps suggest they get together and fashion a nice big letter A the young girl could wear on her uniform for the durration of her "condition".

              While I understand not wanting to endorse her choice to pro-create out of wedlock, I stand firmly in the two wrongs don't make a right corner on this issue.

              If your CO is a religious organization - then I'd suggest a reminder about Jesus and the whole those without sin tossing the 1st stone passage. After that, let them make the decision.

              I guess I'm saying make your feelings known, but then be willing to fall in line with the ones responsible for the decision, even if its not what you would like to have seen done. While this issue has an immediate impact on your unit, it will likely be a non-issue in about 10-12 months time.

              Comment


              • #8
                I am frankly surprised at the open attitude being expressed here, which I happen to agree with. However don't be surprised when the CO/IH throws this situation back at you asking what you want to do. If the sponsor is a church and the pastor says she has got to go what then blame him or do you stand by her, since you stated she is a great crew member and officer? Most CO/IH's are not too intimately involved with their units to make a knowledgable decision. Only you and your crew know the entire background in this matter, and soliciting opinions from a forum where we do not know you, your crew, or the girl and her homelife in question is like asking for an uninformed, one sided decision which will not do you or the girl any good.

                This is not a simple stay or go decision because either one could have a long term detrimental effect on her, you, and your crew. Remember we adults are supposed to be in this for the youth, and I truly hope you have many in depth conversations with those directly involved before any decision is made, mad parents or not. Good Luck and I hope the decision made will be a constructive and positive one for her and the crew.

                Comment


                • #9
                  As someone else mentioned, a very similar thread appeared over on the girl scout thread. I too think the IH/COR needs to make that decision as the crew does reflect them. A total and honest assessment of the entire situation needs to be done and told to the IH in order for him to make the best decision for all.

                  To be honest, my thoughts are more for the baby than the Venturer. I would have some very serious reservations about a pregnant Venturer or adviser doing some activities. For me that baby is the most important thing. And after reading about the school teacher who miscarried while breaking up a fight and got hit, I would hate for any type of accident while on an activity cause a miscarriage.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    As I expressed in the other thread.

                    The girl and the father of child need to now need to assume their role as parents and adults. I completely disagree with their ability to balance school, venturing, jobs and the role of parent. Which is the most important role, Parent is the most important role in my book.


                    Is the father a crew member??????

                    Another question if you could indulge me? What is the socioeconomic make up of the crew? Poor inner city, middle class, Rich white folks?????

                    If either of my children get knocked up or knock someone up, scouting will be the least of their worries. Childhood is over. I will support them and continue to love them as a parent should, but they will become adults. Both of them are aware of the consequences and our expectations. I have no illusion they will refrain from intercourse till they are married or of age.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I don't see a problem. I think it should be up to the girl and her parents whether she continues in Venturing. Shaming or shunning her should have no place here.

                      As far as safety for the unborn baby, I think requesting updated medical forms to reflect the change in her medical status would be appropriate.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Meet with your Charter Organization Representative and tell him or her that you wish to keep this Venturer in your crew despite her pregnancy. This meeting should be a private meeting between the registered leaders (adult and/or youth) in the Crew. If she is truly an asset as a leader, make this clear to your COR and stand by your Venturer. Scouting gives support to members who might otherwise not have a strong support network at home: this is your chance to prove the mettle of your crew.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          ScoutmasterBradley,

                          Greetings!


                          I'm reading this post late, but if I may provide my thoughts. Again these are my own opinions.

                          The news of a 16 y/o girl becoming pregnant can be shocking. It will affect her maturity, family balance, and education. As well as educational and character development groups like Venturing, Church and other social experience groups. I don't envy your situation.

                          To answer your questions first.

                          Can we deny or revoke the membership or leadership status of youth (or even an adult) for such a thing?

                          Yes. The unit leader (Cubmaster, Scoutmaster or Advisor) can request youth membership be removed from the charter with the Council Registrar. The COR can request adult membership be removed from the charter with the Council Registrar. It is possible, but your committee should be positive this is the best resolution.

                          How should I and the other adult leaders go about addressing the issue with these parents, this young woman, and the other members in our crew?

                          Either way. If she remains explain to her, her expectations as a member and as a leader. If the committee absolutely decides to release her membership, explain factually why she is not compatible with your own Crews program.


                          Now for my concerns/opinions. At face value, I myself would advocate to keep this youth and family in the Crew.

                          Paraphrasing from G2SS Chapter one, A Scout can be released from membership if he(she) become a danger to other Scouts. Bullying, selling narcotics, cigarettes, alcohol, recorded juvenile offenses by local police, are obviously a dangerous path. Making questionable moral choices or becoming sexually active at an early age with adolescent sexual intercourse, that would be more difficult to define if it is a danger to other Venturers. Did the young lady make the choice to have sexual intercourse? Yes. Was she making good character development decisions? Probably not. Is the young lady responsible? Well now she probably is more responsible. There have been other Boy Scouts throughout the BSA that have made some bad decisions, few are in youth institutions which allow Scouting within their walls; and those Scouts are allowed to follow the Scouting path and pursue Eagle.

                          Now, your Crew Committee and COR will have to decide if her character is a danger to her fellow Venturers.

                          Also, a Scouting unit is chartered with a sponsoring partner. They have their own guidelines. I have known CORs that have asked membership to attend certain churches. I have known other Community Associations CORs that required residence within that community. Scouts and parents residing in neighboring communities were not allowed to join a pack/troop, because the COR would revoke the charter with the unit if they provided resources to families from neighboring communities. The first agreement paragraph of the annual charter agreement states "Conduct the Scouting program according to its own policies and guidelines as well as those of the Boy Scouts of America."

                          Not only can a COR/IH assist in determining if the youth is a danger and should be removed or if the youth had a lapse in moral character and should be retained. The COR may have additional "own policies and guidelines" even more rigid than the BSA, and may determine removal regardless of the Crew Committees decisions.

                          Now. My concerns on how should you and other adult leaders go about addressing the issue.
                          Be factual and be a Scouter, should sum it up. Did she violate policies and guidelines? Can these violatations be resolved, or not resolved? What are the expectations if she remains? What are the character development recommendations if she is released? Those are the specific Q&A I would expect. Dragging in hearsay or slander would not benefit anyone, but being factual, well the truth hurts sometimes.

                          Good luck and hopefully she can build on her character and there is still room for this young lady (plus 1) in your Crew.

                          Scouting Forever and Venture On!
                          Crew21 Adv

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'd like the echo the question as to whether the father is a Crew Member, as that may change my opinion.

                            Either way your Crew Youth Leaders need to meet with the Committee and this gal/pair in order for the group to decide what the best "punishment" should be. Odds are, the ones who come up with the harshest punishments that everyone can agree is fair are going to be the culprits themselves. She may feel that stepping down as Vice-President and not being able to participate in outings (maybe she'll be limited to KP duty) is fair enough, and I think so too. Would really let her show her leadership by continuing her obligations but not getting away with anything.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Interesting thread.

                              Personally I would not formally ask the young lady who the father is or whether he is a Crew member. Not really your business unless the information is volunteered. Very likely you will find out informally before long.

                              If some parents are already unhappy about keeping this person in the program, how are they going to react to issues like Crew baby showers before long?

                              Is the unit entitled to take notice of the fact that several families are unhappy enough to perhaps leave the program? Interesting issue. Perhaps it should be discussed at some length at a parent meeting.

                              The social prejudice of the law these days is to prevent employers and schools from taking action to discipline or discharge single pregnant women. While the Crew isn't bound by that social prejudice, it's worth considering.

                              Also, what is the reaction of the Crew leaders to this issue?


                              Judging by the television program "16 and Pregnant" most expectant teen aged moms have bigger issues than Venturing that come to dominate their time and attention before long. I would expect her to drop out before long as the pregnancy starts dominating her life. Friends can be expected to dump her as the interests that used to unite them dissolve under the new reality.

                              Unfortunately, the reality of a negative example might prove to be a positive education to others in the Crew.

                              Comment

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