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fgoodwin

Parents File Lawsuit Against Boy Scout Troop

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WOW, I guess you can sue for anything but I think this is pushing it a little far. We have a new young scout that definitly has some "issues" beyond the normal ADD etc. and we have said all along if he wants to camp, a parent needs to come. His mom has been o.k. with that so far and we will require it for a long time with him unless some drastically changes..... like some of the others I hope we don't get sued. There definitly is no adult in our small group trained to handle his needs.

Thanks Dave

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We have a high functioning autistic scout in the troop. I believe he is 14 and starting 9th grade. I don't know what it was like with him when he was 11. His mother is on the troop committee and is very active with the troop. She usually attends the outings. He is a great scout and young man. He seems more gung-ho about scouts than any of the other scouts. He knows his scout craft. Currently he is the SPL. He struggles at times but he is doing fine. At times he has trouble putting his thoughts into words and speaking; that is how his autism shows. All the scouts and adults have the deepest respect for him, it's really a great thing to be a part of. My understanding is that scouting and the troop have been a very positive and beneficial influence on his growth and performance.

 

I feel very sorry for the young scout the troop is being sued for. It's too bad he won't have the opportunity in scouts that the young man I know has.

 

SWScouter

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My son who is in college now, has Asbergers Syndrome. This is a type of high function Autism. During his time in scouting I was very involved,(ASM for the troop). He was APL PL ASPL Den Chief, SPL and Brotherhood OA. He aged out as a Life Scout, he decided he did not want to complete Eagle. Scouting was good for him and he was good for the troop. After a few campouts the other adults understood the issues and I did not have to be at every event.

When my son first was diagnosed we were told to be forceful when his needs were not being met. I think that is what is happening here but a suit is over the top. If a troop cannot cope and the family will not or can not be involved then I feel it is unfair to the volunteers to deal with this kids problem since it can cause safety problems with the other boys.

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As a SM, I required that one parent per Scout do one big thing per year. What I got was parents doing two, then three and so on. It was like Christmas most of the time. We always had several ASM's and a whole slew of Committee persons. Taking on a high-functioning autistic boy would probably not be the problem as much as getting these parents to come on board. They sound like they are wayyy toooo busy for this Scouting thingee. I really hope that someone can cut through the smoke in this one.

 

I appreciate the ADA and believe that everyone should make "reasonable accommodations" for those that would like to Scout. I feel sure that many of us know more than one "normal" Scout that we had to make some very unreasonable accommodations for in the past.

FB(This message has been edited by Fuzzy Bear)

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I'm sorry I didn't see this last week. I find it interesting that the troop is in this trouble because they followed the Scoutmaster Handbook.

 

"working with Scout-aged youth who have special physical, mental, or learning challenges will require patience and understanding on the part of troop leaders and other Scouts. Begin by seeking the guidance of the boy's parents. They know him better than anyone..... If the troop does not have adult leaders experienced in dealing with a particular disability, ... parents should understand that they might be asked to provide additional assistance with their son's Scouting experience." (Scoutmaster Handbook, p. 130) It actually is a bit longer, but I gave you the germ of it.

 

There is a reason my husband and I are both fully trained. One or the other of us is almost always at any meeting, campout or event our son is at because he has Asperger's (high functioning Autism) and we don't expect someone else to be able to know all his quirks.

 

Most of the time he doesn't need any help, so we are free to help other scouts, or stand back and chat.

 

 

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I'm not so sure it is the troop that is in trouble. It is the parents that did not read the handbook, prior to accusing the troop, and BSA of not following it.

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A number of years ago we had a new scout join who had developmental and socialization problems, although he was a straight "A" student. When the boy signed up for Summer Camp we sent a letter to his parents requesting that dad attend camp with him, which he did. And he attended all other outings that his son went on. Six years later we presented this boy with his Eagle, and dad has said that us requiring him to attend camps was the best thing anyone ever had done for his son and him. They became closer and got him out from under mommy. Now the scout is in his third year of college, looking forward to law school, and dad is still an active member of our troop committee.

 

We as leaders must know our limits. We can't be experts in every disorder that exists and must rely on parents to assist us.

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gwd-scouter asked, "How does requiring his father to come along prohibit the Scout from achieving the next level in Scouting? Or, any level?"

 

Maybe someone already answered this, but it seems to me that if the father is unavailable, then the boy can't go on the outing. If the boy can't go to an outing, he can't earn the advancement requirements that are completed at the outing (especially summer camp). Boys can't advance if they can't camp.

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MarkS,

 

You make a good point. But nowhere is advancement required to be a member of a Troop.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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"... but it seems to me that if the father is unavailable, then the boy can't go on the outing."

 

Maybe the boy should sue his father instead of BSA.

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I guess I didn't think about question enough - if Dad can't go on an outing, the Scout can't advance to the next level. Didn't think about requirements such as attend five/ten outings, camp a total of 20 nights, etc. If scout can't do this because Dad can't/won't go, then scout would not advance.

 

Anyone know how things have developed in this case?

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The family has filed suit on behalf of their son before. I don't know, it just seems like an excuse for publicity to me. Parents said they did not need to attend with & refused to attend with their son. Then sued because the Troop would not allow him to attend activities on his own & would not advance him.

 

I can understand trying to give their son the room to do things on his own, but I think a better way would have been to attend activities with their son until the Troop leaders became comfortable with the situation. I am sure there are many sides to this story, but I can't help feeling this family handled the situation inappropriately.

 

http://www.prweb.com/releases/disabilities/autism/prweb426197.htm

 

 

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) August 24, 2006 - Lawyers for a young boy with autism announced today that they have filed a complaint against the Western Los Angeles County Council of Boy Scouts of America and Pacific Palisades, CA-based Troop 223 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California for violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The suit seeks injunctive relief and damages for negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

 

The plaintiff C.R., an 11-year-old boy with high-functioning autism, and his parents Michael Reilly and N. Jane DuBovy claim the defendants denied the plaintiff and others with autism equal access to and full participation in the Boy Scouts facilities and services because of their disabilities, which is discriminatory and violates state and federal law.

 

The ADA was enacted to provide relief for people just like C.R., who because of their disabilities and the misunderstanding surrounding their disabilities are considered unable to fully participate in activities others take for granted, said Shawna Parks, Director of Litigation for the Disability Rights Legal Center. Although we have tremendous respect for the Boy Scouts, the organization still must comply with the law and make their programs available to all boys.

 

C.R. joined the Cub Scouts in September 2000. With the help of his parents he flourished for five years and met scouting requirements for promotion to the Webelos and then to Boy Scouts Troop 223 in 2005. Around that time, a scout leader advised the family that C.R. would only be allowed to attend meetings and an overnight camping trip when accompanied by his father. No other child in the troop was subjected to similar restrictions. Because participating in the camping trip was mandatory for moving to the next scouting level, the scouts actions precluded C.R. from moving to the next level. This penalized C.R. through no fault of his own. Because of these restrictions, C.R. was excluded from the camping trip and feels humiliated and rejected by the entire troop.

 

Worse yet, the scouts e-mailed C.R.s parents and actually advised them that they were excluding C.R. from advancing in the scouts because of his autistic disability.

 

We understand the scout leaders concerns, but we have a track record with C.R. and his troop. We feel we have addressed the concerns more than adequately during our years of involvement with Troop 223, said Ms. DuBovy. Based on C.R.s experiences, we know that our child is capable of handling the rigors of scouting with minor accommodations. In fact, he successfully attended an overnight event this year with his 6th grade class without incident. What happened with the Boy Scouts has had a profound impact on our son. We want to fix this going forward so that he can participate just like any other child and so that no other child in our community will be ostracized because of a disability.

 

In addition to a preliminary and permanent injunction that will allow C.R. to be reinstated in Troop 223 at the level he would have achieved before the controversy, C.R. and his parents are requesting a jury trial that would settle any disagreement regarding the Boy Scouts responsibility to welcome and accommodate boys with disabilities into the organization.

 

The plaintiffs are represented by Los Angeles lawyers Barak Lurie, Christopher Knauf and the Disability Rights Legal Center. The case number is CV 06-5171 SJO.

 

Barak Lurie has practiced in the federal and state courts since 1989. His offices focus predominantly in general civil litigation. Mr. Lurie will serve as lead counsel in the litigation.

 

 

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If the article is accurate, the Troop could be in a little hot water!

 

It still seems like a stunt to get mom's agenda pushed. Remember she is an advocate for autism and an attorney. Google her!

 

Why couldn't dad go on the camping trips? Didn't he want to bond with his son? Why didn't mom go? Was she too busy suing people? Why is it always someone else's fault when you can't or won't do something for your kid?

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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For what it's worth I observe that the parents do not share the same surname. Perhaps Dad's not available for camping because they are divorced and he doesn't have custody? In which case, Mom needs to buy herself a sleeping bag!

 

I wonder if dissolving the unit would make the case moot. As a CO, this would certainly cure me of my desire to offer the BSA program.

 

As a volunteer, I don't have a legal responsibility to provide anything for any kid that's not my own. If the parents want "equal access" and even special accomodations, they are free to form their own unit. Isn't this analogous to the gay/atheist debates, or the "no female leaders" debate? If the SCOTUS has determined that we are a private membership organization with freedom to determine our own membership rules, why is this an issue? The parents should be told, "sorry, those are our troop policies. You are free to find a troop with policies more to your liking."

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N. Jane DuBovy said in a statement that she and her husband "know that our child is capable of handling the rigors of scouting with minor accommodations."

 

Guess the minor accommodation of having dad present is what they meant.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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