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asm238

Body piercing

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Is there a BSA policy on body piercing, tattoos, tongue piercing, baggie pants, big chains etc...?

 

Can the Scout Master set policy?

 

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Any policy on this subject should address the safety aspect only. Its not up to the scoutmaster to decide if a tattoo is ok or not, neither is it his place to rule on body piercings. These are decisions between the boy and his family.

 

That being said, if the tattoo is obscene (and I can see a whole thread on that) then a bandage should be placed over it during scoutitng activties. If piercings such as hoops, bars, whatever present a problem on a trip, they can be adhesive taped to the body or removed or the scout doesnt go.

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At what point is the Scoutmaster entitled to express his opinion? Is there an implied or expressed agreement between parents and BSA that Scout leaders will always withhold their opinions in deference to the parents? What if the tattoo is a swastika or an upside down cross? What if the latest fad is to tattoo ones face with intricate patterns? What if the latest fad is body scaring?

 

My point - Although the Scoutmaster does not have parental authority, he does represent BSA and the chartering organization. Unless the chartering organization determines otherwise, he is free to express his opinions. In particular, if a boy is making choices contrary to the values of the chartering organization and/or BSA, the Scoutmaster SHOULD make mention of it. As a leader and a mentor, the Scoutmaster needs to challenge the boy to think and to perform self-examinations. In short, while the Scoutmaster cannot prevent a boy from getting a tattoo, hes certainly free to communicate his displeasure or disappointment. If parents dont like that opinion being expressed, I dont think they can do much about it - unless the chartering organization doesnt share that opinion.

 

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I thought that the unit can establish guidelines/policies as long as they do not contradict the established polices of the BSA.

 

If a troop/pack wants to establish the no body piercing rule while on scout functions - they can - as long as the rule is approved by the committee and chartering organization.

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Hmmmm.....

 

the jewlery - body piercing - could be handled simply - isn't there a uniform policy or rules against wearing jewlery other than what is part of the uniform? Certainly, I haven't seen any nose rings in the scout catalogue.....

;-)

I don't see any problem with requiring boys to remove distracting paraphanailia as part of a uniform requirement while on troop activities.

As a woman with pierced ears, I always wear either simple posts when camping - for safety and simplicity! And with my uniform at meetings and events, I wear either the posts or ones with the BSA logo.

 

Tatoos are more difficult - as they can't be removed temporarily. that permanence makes a statement in itself about the person.

 

We have a scoutmaster, Eagle Scout who has some nice tattoos - including an indian/eagle morph kind of one that I always assumed (but never asked) had something to do with his personal expression of his Eagle/Order of the Arrow involvement. He has others - and the good taste or respect of the uniform - which are inobtrusively placed to be covered by his summer scout uniform - under short sleeves and knee socks, except one, I think, on a forearm. While the boys are interested and ask him about them sometimes, they have never been an issue with us.

 

Don't kids have to be a certain age to get a tattoo? 16? 18? Otherwise the parents must have agreed to it...

 

I think if a boy showed up with a swastika, however, I would question his scout spirit and his understanding of the symbol he permanently displays vs. His understanding of scouting. Obviously one or the other is a lie, and he's not serious about scouting. A boy who says he is on the Eagle trail, yet displays a hate symbol (like a swastika) is not living the scout oath and law. I would have a hard time advancing that boy.

 

I think we have to accept, also - that not every boy IS serious about scouting. Some join just for the "club" and activities, some really "get" the program. Scouting is not a factory for creating Eagle scouts, or even advancing in rank - being a higher ranking scout should have more meaning than that! in ALL aspect of a boy's life!

 

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Just as a point of interest...

 

Prior to WWII...before Adoph Hilter's NAZI Germany, the swastika was a symbol of brotherhood and was even employed in Scouting. There's an old photograph hanging in the lodge of Camp Rodney (Northeast, Maryland). It's a picture of the camp from the 1920's. If you look closely at the photo, you'll discover a swastika hanging over a door of one of the cabins. I believe, in one of his books, Baden-Powell speaks fondly of the swastaka as a symbol of brotherhood. Not that I'm endorsing the same today, I just thought it was pretty ironic.

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Rooster7: you are absolutely correct! I have a Boy Scout swastika coin piece! It's a gold colored coin that has the swastika on one side and on the other side are pictures representing BSA. I have it packed away right now (from a recent move) and can't quite remember the details of the coin.

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I may stand corrected...The Charting Organization has the option to inforce diplay of these options of dress. If scouts are part of a church they are part of it's youth program. Scoumasters can express their approval or disapproval and can op a recommemdation. Only the COR can bring it to final as decided by the CO. Maybe a troop guide book that has the approval of the troop committee and the Charting organization will help. My personal feelings are tatoos may happen...not much you can do otherwise. If extreem then scout may have a problem. Piercings there should be restrictions. This is just my thoughts. Just what are we going to stand by in BSA? Our children that go to government schools can't even use the word CHRISTMAS now...Calif. ruling in local school this month. I just don't think piercings were ment to be included display while in the Boy Scout Uniform.

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Aren't we losing sight of who we are here to serve? THE BOYS. Unless a piercing is a physical hazard, I see no problem. Its just like long hair, colored hair, earrings, etc. We are trying to reach as many boys as we can. Just maybe that boy with the piercing needs us and we can make a difference in his life. I would hate to lose a potential scout when he hears, "Well you can join but can't have (a piercing, long hair, tatoo....)

 

By the way, the last two scout I presented their Eagle award to had earrings. And I presented it to them proudly. And the best SPL I ever had,

had a piercing, and is now in Airborne Ranger Training.

 

 

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I really have done an about face on this issue. I am, and always have been, dead set against tatoos, and males wearing earings. Tatoos because they are so permenant, and both because those who generally are in a position to help you or hinder you in life are usually "establishment" types, who tend to look at such adornment with disdain. Therefore, I have alsways supported our Scoutmaster, who has banned visible displays of both within our troop.

I still think that neither are not in the best interest of a boy, but I now think that this is enough of an unimportant issue that it isn't our place to insert our values on the boys about this particular subject. I think wearing this stuff is the wrong thing to do. But just because I think it's wrong, does that make it wrong for everyone? I wish, but I know it ain't so.

Believe me, I'll still give a boy my opinion about it, but I am no longer willing to stop a kid from partaking in Scouts becuse I think he looks ridiculous. No one stops me when I wear shorts (and believe me, that's more silly looking than an earing in a boy!). I do agree with the ban of earings during activities that could be unsafe.

Mark

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I am not for any type of piercings on guys & I don't like tattoo's. But it is a fad & kids like fads!

 

My Troop doesn't have any policy regarding this stuff but I have told my Scouts that during special ceremonies like Scout Sunday, Eagle COR's, etc. all piercings must be left unpierced & tattoos covered. They are representing the BSA & Troop 1.

 

A blessed Christmas to all!

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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