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About maai

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  1. This message is from the person who started the thread. Several people have questioned if the younger scout provoked the boy earlier. Not to my knowledge. The younger boy came to talk to the 4 adults in camp that night: after hearing his story, we sent him back to his tent and brought in the older boy for his interview. He confirmed the story: he wanted the chair, he used the language, he did the touching, all because he wanted to keep the chair. Neither boy mentioned any earlier incident. I will also admit that my perception of the older boy is influenced by my own son, who found the older boy to be a person to avoid because of rough play at the weekly scout meetings and insults to other scouts during the camping trip. My son felt that the atmosphere in camp improved after the older boy was sent home. I was astonished at the cover-up by the unit leadership. I can understand the one leader being overwhelmed with responsibilities the following day such that he forgot to take more extensive actions (his idea of punishment was to 'volunteer' the older boy for a service project at camp, digging a hole; I thought service projects were an honor, not a punishment). What I don't understand or condone is the clampdown by the other scout leaders once the parent of the younger boy became involved. They went into denial mode. The parent of the younger boy asked that this be escalated to district leadership, which they refused to do. They kept putting him off, saying "Let the emotions calm down until the fall" and then once the fall meetings started they refused to put it on the agenda. Finally, the only scout leader who thought it had been mishandled put it on the meeting by inviting a representative of the local police. Perhaps they were concerned about legalities and rumors. We were not convinced they were committed to stopping bullying, or even recognizing it, which is why we pulled our son.
  2. A final message from the person who opened this thread. As some of you may have concluded, I am not a Scouting leader, but instead am a parent attempting to understand the situation as other Scouting leaders may see it. Your responses ranged all the way from boys-will-be-boys to report-to-the-authorities. Now I understand why the leadership in my troop took the course they did. I will say this . . . I wish my son was in Bob White's troop. The situation now is that we held a troop meeting last night. The new scoutmaster, who at camp was the senior leader, started the discussion by characterizing the incident as 'roughhousing'. Even after my description of the incident and remarks from an attending police officer, who said that legally the interaction could be construed as a reportable offense, the scoutmaster concluded the discussion by once again referring to it as 'roughhousing'. One of Bob's messages quoted from the manual, 'Physical violence, hazing, bullying, theft, verbal insults . . . have no place in the Scouting program'. This incident violated each of those. My wife and I have no confidence that future incidents of bullying will be observed or acted upon. If bullying is not noticed it cannot be disciplined. We reluctantly conclude that must withdraw our son from the troop. Bob, I will be quoting from your posts as I explain to this scoutmaster why we are leaving. Once again, thank you everybody for your participation.
  3. This is the person who started this thread. Thank you so much for your thoughtful replies. Opinions vary widely both in this forum and in my troop, and it is tough to call. At first I felt it was a sexual thing and over time I have come to believe it was bullying. At minimum it was bullying. For those who want to know the background, yes, the older boy has bullied before, so much so that he had been the subject of a prior adult meeting. In addition, there were two boys who came to the adults that night to report bullying by this older boy; I told you the more serious of the two stories. I disagree with those who believe that parents have no say in how a troop should be run. The adult leaders are acting in loco parentis. Scouting is all about taking controlled risks, such as how to start fires, how to use a knife, how to canoe. These risks are all controlled. If a parent perceives that leaders are failing to control bullying then they need to challenge the leadership. Bullying runs a gamut. At the milder end is the simple verbal jab, such as calling somebody a 'f____t'. At the extreme end is the bully who throws another boy to the ground, takes out his knife, and carves in his skin (a true story, by the way, from another troop). At some point between those two levels of bullying there is an action that is 'over the line', something that needs strong and quick corrective action. My opinion is that the line was crossed in this incident and that the leadership failed to send a strong message to prevent future bullying.
  4. I would appreciate your advice about a bullying incident. At the weeklong camp one of the new Scouts was fishing by the lake. He had taken his folding chair with him. An older scout (by a year or two)came along and took the chair down the shore several hundred feet. V. did not care at the time because he was standing. At dusk V. went to get the chair. B. refused to give it to him. B. called the younger boy some sexual terms, which did not discourage V. from trying to get the chair. V. had his hand on the chair. B. stroked his hand, saying, "I know you want to get it on with me. Come here and do it with me," and other such talk. V. still tried to get the chair. B. then moved next to the younger boy so that he could make humping movements on the younger boy. Later that night the younger boy talked to the adults in the camp (I was one of the adults), telling the story. B. was lurking in the shadows. After V. told his story and we sent him on his way to his tent (by the way, he wanted us to do bed checks every 10 minutes because he was afraid B. would come after him for reporting the incident). The older boy talked with us adults. He said that he was trying to mess with the younger boy's mind, and that, yes, he had used that language, and yes, he stroked his hand, and yes, he made humping movements. After he was talked to, and as he was going back to his tent, one of the other adults said, 'No more of this humping business, you hear me? No more of this humping business.' The problem is the follow-up. The older boy was not sent home. It was not until the father of the younger boy insisted that the older boy be sent home that it was done. By the end of the week the story going around some of the adults was that it was a little shoving and pushing and boys-will-be-boys stuff and that it was being blown all out of proportion. So I wonder if others in this forum perceive this as bullying as I do. I personally think it to be over-the-top bullying, and quite strange behaviour for a young teenage boy, who usually do everything they can to keep themselves from being labeled homosexual. I don't think it was a sexual thing but a bullying incident. Am I out of step with Scouting here or is it simply a difference of opinion with some of the guys in my organization?
  5. Regarding the study of martial arts, twin_wasp said it right. Interview the sensei (teacher). Ask to sit in on classes. Ask to observe a ranking test. There is one chain of karate schools that thinks it necessary to yell at its students (that's why you want to observe). I have a black belt in Shotokan Karate and studied Aikido for years. Both budos have remarkable qualities and can improve a student's ability to handle the frustrations of the world. I wish my children would study martial arts.
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