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Citizenship in Community MB and Free Speech

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shortridge - Lets substitute just a few words in what he reportedly said:


"If it takes a 12-year-old kid to come up here and tell you we don't need a new jail troop trailer and we need better education tents, then that's pretty sad. Here I am, an A, B student in my school, and I have to come up to," he said, pausing to count aloud, "nine people just to say we don't need this new jail trailer. Bye."


How would you respond to a Scout that used that tone and those words towards your troop committee?

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I would say "Thank you for your thoughts," perhaps ask why he felt that way and whether his opinion was shared by others, entertain other comments and questions, and move on. What would you do, publicly smack him down for disrespecting the esteemed committee members? Give me a break.


I have heard far worse and insulting comments from uniformed Scouters during committee meetings. I still fail to see how this young man displayed poor behavior.


This SE was out of line, not the Scout.

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What would you do, publicly smack him down for disrespecting the esteemed committee members? Give me a break.


Nope, but I would probably privately remind him that it's impolite and inappropriate to address people in that tone.


I have heard far worse and insulting comments from uniformed Scouters during committee meetings


We all have. It's inappropriate for adults to act that way. But that doesn't excuse Scouts from acting that way, either.

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Ya know, when my kids were arguing, I told them that ideally they should begin addressing each other "Oh beloved brother/sister, ..." if they really cared about the point they were trying to make. They never did to each other, but I think that it rubbed off outside of the home because folks would come up and tell me about how respectful they were relative to other kids their age.


That stuff is learned. It's part of communications, not citizenship

per se. And I wouldn't expect the average American 12 year old to be very good at it given the overwhelming education in the media. Disney Channel, for example, is full of dramatic discourse, not eloquent rhetoric.


The SE should not have apologized. He should have explained that the BSA encourages their youth to engage in public discourse and anything that the members of the board could do to help each youth improve their communication skills would be welcome. Then the SE should mention the need for more MB counselors in these areas.


He might also suggest a tour of the jail might help the boy see the other side of the issue.



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Yah, hmmm...


So this was a public meeting with hundreds of people present, on a hot topic?


Havin' been to any number of those myself, my guess is that the young man was far more calm and respectful than many of the adults who were offerin' public comment. Passions run high, and folks get caught up in the moment, eh?


The lad was wearin' his uniform because he was in public with a group of lads for Citizenship in the Community MB. Nuthin' in the least bit wrong with that, eh? It's something we encourage.


The boy has a right to give public comment at a public meeting of an elected body, and what a great topic! Somethin' that he himself and his fellow scouts will be impacted by. A form of citizenship that we absolutely want the lads to experience and engage in as we work to develop their citizenship. Remember, public comment is not partisan politics. It is citizens giving' feedback to their elected officials.


Nuthin' wrong or unexpected with any of that, eh? Now, do we really want the lad to strip off his shirt and pants before he steps forward? I reckon that would require a bigger apology. ;)


I think we all make allowances for 12-year-olds who are learning. What is disappointin' to me is when we adults don't live up to what we would expect.


* We mentor youth. If there are apologies to be made, we have the youth apologize. We don't apologize on their behalf, or belittle 'em in public.


* Public officials don't "allow the youth to attend and speak up". Public officials are obligated by law to conduct open meetings and entertain public comment.


* Gettin' "derogatory" comments from constituents is part and parcel with public service. If what amounts to a gentle chiding from a 12-year-old upsets yeh in the least, then the old saw about heat and kitchens applies I reckon.


All that havin' been said, the SE did his part in handlin' a small PR issue. I think he could have done a better job without belittling or hangin' the boys out, but he did an adequate job.



(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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