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Help! Can you have a toxic scout?

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  • #16
    Yep Turtle, you have a difficult case.

    Prior to any outing I let all the Scouts know that we are all bound by the Scout Law and we do not ever engage in activities or words that fall outside the Law. This allows any adult leader or PL/SPL to call out behavior or language that is clearly not Scout-like.

    In the case of the Scout in your Troop, his language would merit an immediate, "how does that fit into the Scout Law?" He may think he's been quite clever by being the snide cynic -- something that abundant on the internet and several TV shows. If he still does not get it, i.e. doesn't see the need to curb his language, then a suspension would be appropriate.

    It's not as hard as you might think to suspend a Scout for this kind of behavior - let him take a couple months off to think about it and then see if he can return with more Scout-like behavior. Either the Scout is back having learned his lesson, or he's out of the Troop. I've had to do this three times now, and the immediate benefit is an overwhelming sense of relief among the other Scouts - the ones who really are trying to live the Scout Law. It's like the sun comes out after a particularly nasty storm. You don't realize how badly it's affected the other Scouts until it's gone.

    We suspended a Scout in November for three months due to some very unScout-like behavior. He came back in March and let us know very quickly that he had not changed at all. His suspension was extended for a year.

    You and the other adult leaders owe it to the Troop (and this kid) not to tolerate destructive and demoralizing language or behavior.


    • #17
      Basements solution worked for him. I am glad it did.

      I would not try it with a lawyer father.. Someone who is doing a job of a public servent, can be taped without their knowledge. But a private citizen can not..


      • #18
        I agree with most of what's been said above. I've seen this film before and the only way to deal with it is the "straight bat"* approach.

        It is at times like this that "youth led" may have to go out the window. The adults take charge and that means putting toxic scout in his place. And that doesn't mean getting into an argument with him. In fact I would avoid Qwasze's approach altogether. An argument with you is exactly what he will want. When he is caught acting like this he is dragged before the troop leaders, told his behaviour is unacceptable, second time parents are informed and he is sent home. No ifs, no buts. Everything done in a cool headed and calculated manner, just like he does!

        Tried to find it on you tube but couldn't find it. I'm thinking of the scene from Top Gun when Maverik and Goose get a dressing down for buzzing the tower. "The rules of top gun are not flexible and neither am I. You will obey them or you are history".


        • #19
          That is a simple fix.....Moose....

          Everytime your dealing with the scout you tell him your recording him...When scout starts acting up in the group tell him that the conversation will be recorded.....

          He will forget soon enough and provide the self incrimination......


          • #20
            Wow TT, you're in a world of hurt here.

            I agree, this kid's a YPT disaster waiting to happen...totally toxic...wouldn't want my kid to be around him...behavior always gravitates to the least common denominator.

            I'm surprised that the other parents haven't started to chime in on Damien yet.

            If the kid gets a thrill by doing this, then there were be a point where the thrill is gone and he has to escalate to get juices going again. It'll be anyone's guess on what that escalation is.

            Too bad that is sounds like your SM is a doormat on this.


            • #21
              We have a similar situation, although not quite as bad.

              In our case, though, the Scout appears to be better at avoiding having the adults hear the comments. It certainly makes it easier if you have first hand adult observation. I really like the idea of recording things. Smartphones can do this. I may give that a try.

              Our situation is also a bit better because we have more older Scouts who recognize the behavior and have somewhat banded against him. I heard them talking amongst themselves about who was going to keep an eye on JimBob.

              The other advice I would echo is that you need to be on the same page with the SM. I would think a recorded conversation might help with that.


              • #22
                >>I am an ASM..though I guess a "senior" one. I doubt I have the temperament yet for SM or I am just not ready. I was told that this weekend and pretty much agree. But I am deeply involved.

                Next infraction I am circumventing our kind-hearted SM and talking to the parents.

                I will talk, tactfully, to the other Adult leaders.


                • #23
                  I think I have gravitated to the bad cop job and go out my way to appear impartial and really, really try to be fair. Our SM, who really is a good guy, is no doormat but is a real optimist who mostly only sees the good in each boy--I think there is a real upside to that. He has done a great job. I agree that good cop-bad cop works pretty well.

                  I talked to my SM today and we are going to have a ASM meeting with the CC about this and few other bullying issues to make sure we are all in agreement on our approach. Bullying keeps coming up at the PLC's.

                  I do not think I will try to record his conversation--our Troop is chock full of lawyers. But I do keep very good notes.

                  I need to sit down and think of how I should act around this kid--he is good.


                  • #24
                    How good is your SPL? We have had some of this, but it was dealt with by the SPL. The Scout was removed from his POR by the SPL. I think that some older Scouts also had a conversation with the problem Scout. They were not buying what he was selling, and they did not like what was being done to some of the younger Scouts.

                    Once the Scout realized that it was not just him vs. adults, and that he was getting called out by fellow Scouts - he changed his game.


                    • #25
                      "Hey, Wally, have you seen Eddie?"

                      "No, Beav, not since he joined the Boy Scouts."



                      • #26
                        Got a new SPL. He's a good guy he will catch on quick.


                        • #27
                          >>I need to sit down and think of how I should act around this kid--he is good.


                          • #28
                            I would avoid Qwasze's approach altogether. An argument with you is exactly what he will want.

                            Skip's point is correct -- partly. The quips I'm suggesting are not merely for the sake of argument. They are to call the boy out and enable the other boys to rightly think about themselves when they are subjected to harshness (from this boy or any other toxic peer). If it's not gonna work for you, then don't use it! Better to throw a yellow flag down and call, "Unsportsmanlike, offense, #87, 15 yards, loss of down."

                            Certainly, the boy doesn't deserved to be rewarded with a steamed adult who gets rankled by the little cherubs every deceit. However you all choose to act, do so in a matter-of-course fashion.(This message has been edited by qwazse)


                            • #29
                              I had a similar situation a few years back. Discussions with the one involved parent were to no avail.
                              The solution was to require that the dad to attend each event with his son. No exceptions.

                              Even then, the boy was a menace, and I ended up giving him the boot. I took my case to the SE, and he advised me how to proceed. It was a long process, over a year. In hindsight, too long. I should have been more decisive, sooner.

                              Afterwards, a half dozen parents told me they were on the verge of transferring their sons because of this one boy. Don't sacrifice the unit for the one.

                              Don't be caught alone with him. Discuss this matter frankly with the SM. If he will not act on it, remove yourself from campouts where this boy is attending. If it comes down to "him or me", so be it. Don't allow your sons to be around him.

                              If you are the senior ASM, you WILL have the SM's attention. I assure you of that.

                              We wrote a pretty strong section in our troop rules that allows for immediate removal from the troop as a result of some actions. I'll send it to you if you want.

                              This is a matter for the SM to deal with. If he won't, remove yourself from the situation.


                              • #30
                                The usual rule of thumb is that one bad Scout can drive six good Scouts out of the program.