Jump to content

Recommended Posts

My son was at the Jamboree 2 years ago and his Boy Scout leader who is also his leader at his home troop slapped him in the face for swearing. My son's mouth was cut and there was another scout who witnessed the incident. I was contacted by leaders in Virginia about the incident and my son's leader apologized to me. However, the incident was played down by Jamboree leadership and, I think, swept under the rug.

I did not pursue it in Virginia because I trusted that it was being dealt with.

When my son returned, I learned more about what happened, including a report from the other scout.

I requested that our committee discuss the matter and asked to have a meeting with my son and his leader with others present so that the issue could be resolved.

I received no support from the other parents and committee members because everybody said that the leader was really a good guy and that my son should just "get over it."

I did not want to hurt the leader but I felt that the leader should apologize to MY SON - not just to me and that instead of hiding what happened, it should be talked about and then put in the past.

After no response within the troop, I called council. After getting the runaround, I heard second hand that Council said that they felt it was dealt with at the Jamboree and that they weren't going to follow up.

At that point, I didn't know what to do. My son wanted to stay in Boy Scouts. He really wants to become an Eagle Scout. I suggested he join a different troop but his friends are in this troop. So - I waited and observed.

I have seen a significant change in attitude toward my son. He has been singled out to be disciplined. I've heard the leaders make derogotory comments about him. I was told I was no longer allowed to go on Scout outings. I listened while the leader said he was looking forward to having Shane, Mike, Dan, Ryan and Chris become Eagle Scouts but left out my son's name in his list (these six boys came into the troop together).

Naturally, my son has been resentful about this treatment and I know that he can be difficult at times BUT, I think that he is reacting to the way he's being treated.

Tonight, I arrived to pick up my son at the end of his meeting to find the leader and my son in the parking lot. The leader was screaming at my son. My son was trying to explain something to him but the leader would not listen. Then my son started to yell back and the leader screamed at him to get out -

My son is devastated. He said that he had been telling another boy to stop picking on some younger scouts and the other boy punched him and them hit him in the face with a basketball. My son then pushed him and that's when the leader came and grabbed my son and dragged him out of the building.


I need help! Any suggestions? Thanks


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 37
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Welcome to the forum. Wish it were on a happier note.


Well, let's see:


- 2 counts of assault and battery (one on a military reservation, FT A.P Hill, making it a Federal crime), not to mention blatant violation of Youth Protection guidelines.


- all Scouting activities are open to all parents at any time, period. The SM does not have the right to tell you to stay away, nor should you. I would make sure he knew I was watching his every move.


Taking what you have said at face value, the SM is out of control and needs to be removed from the program. Your son may have been out of line too, but that does not excuse the behavior of the adult. Unfortunately, two years is a long time to wait and the statute of limitations may have run out. Guys like this need to be stopped...and soon...before he does something that an apology won't fix. Wonder if he beats his wife, too? Please start by calling your council Scout Executive first thing tomorrow morning and tell him everything you said here...and let us know how it turns out. Ask for him by name and don't settle for anyone else.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to the campfire.


OOH boy. 'Get over it' and 'not allowed' raised my hackles. I am not as trained or as knowlegable as many on this forum, but, ...red flags went up as I read the posting.


This "leader" if part of the leaders I am with would not have to deal with the scout but myself.(if what has been posted is the complete story)


Ditto with Scoutldr as to proper protocol. And watch this forum for more input.


please keep us informed.




ps: are you a registered adult?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the above messages. Sometimes, I've felt like I'm wrong due to the lack of support, although, when I've talked about this issue to friends in other districts they've said that this behavior would not be tolerated in their districts. I am a registered adult and trained and registered as a leader. I plan to take your advise and make that phone call first thing tomorrow - I'll let you know what happens.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Seriouis stuff here. This is a different category than a discussion of what should or shouldn't occur during a board of review. This response, unlike most of my responses, is not open for debate.


This is a tough one. I think you have some very real concerns. I also think there may be behavior issues on your son's part that are causing you (naturally) as a parent, to get your hackles up. Before proceeding, I ask you to make sure your nerves are in order and that you have calmed down as much as possible.


I think the best advice you have received so far is to call your Scout Executive -- ask for him directly and speak to no one else. Whoops! I just remembered that the National Meeting is going on and chances are 90% that your Scout Executive will be out of the office until at least Monday. You can call tomorrow and ask for an appointment about a youth protection matter. It will get pushed to the top of his pile, but, in fairness to him, you should indicate that the matter is two years old so he knows it can wait until Monday. Quite often scout executives will head to the office even on a Saturday when they've been away because they want to be as caught up as they can when they walk in the door on Monday. Give him a chance to catch his breath, but I think you need to have a face-to-face over this issue.


Go in and explain the facts as best you can. If there have been discipline issues with your son, face them squarely and fairly. However, if a leader did strike your son across the mouth enough to draw blood, it's across the line. A little tap with a big grin on both faces is a different matter (against youth protection guidelines, but fun is fun if both parties are having it. My wife is a teacher and gives "biffs" which are a slight push on the forehead and are very gentle and funny to both parties.)

I've been on Jamboree staffs and there are a lot of people kicking around -- important information doesn't always flow correctly. You can do your best to make sure it flows correctly now.


I want to stress, however, that you should not expect the scout executive to promise action or updates on what he is doing. Confidentiality issues come into play immediately. He will do what he's required to do -- turn it over to children and family services or the police, but then it's out of his hands. You'll hear from the appropriate government authorities if they feel further investigation is warranted. If the scout executive decides that revoking the leader's BSA membership is warrented, he can't notify you of that either. They'll just go away.


The stand of the Boy Scouts of America is that it will make a mistake in favor of the protection of youth. Contrary to what I've seen on some posts, the BSA profesisonals are not trained to investigate child abuse accusations. They are trained to turn them over to the proper authorities who are trained to investigate such matters. If it's any consolation, the authorities don't inform us of the actions they have taken.


I hope this helps. It's the best advice I can give.



Link to post
Share on other sites

An adult struck your child. You are NOT wrong. A crime has possibly been committed and there is a definite pattern of abuse. As a parent and registered member of the BSA, I am horrified, embarrassed and outraged. The latest offense where he laid hands on the child was last night...not 2 years ago.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Guide to safe scouting is specific. Corporal punishment is forbidden in scouting. Regardless of what language your son may have used (if your son said something that bad that another adult reacted by slapping his mouth perhaps the leadership skills of the SM is not your biggest problem)striking the scout is not an option.


In addition I was wondering who else was in the parkinglot when you pulled up? If it was just the SM and your son then you have another Youth Protection violation.


Dsteele is correct. You need to contact your council's Scout Executive. You also have rights outside of scouting that you can excercise but that is a personal choice you will need to make yourself, a lawyer could give you better advice on that than a bunch of scouters.


I would not ignore the SM behaviour, nor would I ignore your son's.


Bob White

Link to post
Share on other sites

to Bob White - you are right that my son has problems. He is in therapy to get help for them. However, what I was told about the incident was that my son was complaining about doing chores (not ok) and said, "This frigging stinks." (also not ok). On the same trip an older scout who later became an Eagle and whose father is an Assistant Scout Leader repeatedly said "F---" and was not even corrected. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, I spoke to a Webelos leader who had brought her Webelos to visit out troop. She reported that some of the boys - not my son were swearing so much that her boys said they were uncomfortable and did not want to join the troop. when she addressed this with our leader, he said there was nothing he could do about it.

Anyway, I guess my point is that I was hoping that being in Scouts would provide my son with good role models and help to build his self-esteem. I KNOW he can be difficult. I live with him. But helping a kid overcome problems requires positive reinforcement, not labeling.

I called Council today - still waiting for a return call.


Link to post
Share on other sites

"I did not want to hurt the leader but I felt that the leader should apologize to MY SON - not just to me and that instead of hiding what happened, it should be talked about and then put in the past. "



Please don't tell me that all you wanted from this guy was an aplology? Protect your son and protect future son's from this man's abuse he has crossed the line and should be removed from the program until a full inquiry can be done.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think we're missing a critical element here. This isn't a two-year-old assault. The Scoutmaster grabbed and pulled the boy out of the meeting Wednesday night. Mgaesser, you need to tell the SE, you have an URGENT youth protection issue. He or his designee should call ASAP, even if he's out of town. When you talk you can set a meeting for the first of the week. I would ask him if you should bring your attorney with you. Whether you do or not (it's up to you) just rattling that saber will let him know how serious this issue is to you.


In addition to the current incident, you need a explaination of what happened after you reported the Jamboree incident. How in the world did this guy have the opportunity to assault your son twice?


At the end of your meeting, ask him when he will report back to you on the actions taken. I would tell him that if I don't hear from him by that date, the following day I will file criminal charges against the Scoutmaster. And you better bet I would dang-well do it, too! This is serious, stuff. This guy has no business being around children, much less wearing a Scout uniform. He should have gotten the boot two years ago.


DS, I hear what you are saying about confidentially and not to expect to hear of any action taken by the SE. That's the proper YP procedure if Mgaesser were a scout leader reporting suspected abuse to the SE. But that's not the situation here. In this case, BSA owes a parent MUCH more of an explaination. Even if the only response from the SE is that the case has been turned over to DSS or the police. If it's my child, "We've handled it internally but we can't discuss it," ain't going to cut it. We can discuss it now or we can discuss it with the police -- and again during the civil trial.

(This message has been edited by Twocubdad)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I want to respond to the vocabulary issue. When I first joined my troop, the language was, for me, intolerable. Apparently the scoutmaster was so inured by it he didnt even hear it anymore. I addressed the scouts that any word they used that I found objectionable they had better be ready to repeat it to their mother with me present. I thought that was the answer, until I heard some of the mothers talking before an event and I decided to go to Plan B.


Plan B is the scouts are free to use any word that I use

and beleive me, I have a widely varied vocabulary consisting of a veritable plethora, a myriad of adjectives. That cut things down pretty well, and I also learned true self-conrol as I could see the scouts leaning in to hear any expletive I may utter under variuos and sundry situations

Link to post
Share on other sites

You need to take your son out of that troop ASAP. He will make more friends and there is no reason that being in another troop will lose him the friends he has there. Explain to him that friends are no longer an issue, that his saftey, both physical & mental are. Find a troop that actually follows the Scout Oath & Law.

Link to post
Share on other sites



Dsteel beat me to the punch. As a parent you are obligated to protect your son, and I blieve the other scouts in your Troop.


In a similar situation, we had an adult who knew he had a bad temper. But he felt his actions toward scouts (physical and mental abuse) was not over the edge because the SM was the only adult confronting him. Since the Troop Committee appeared not supporting the SM, he thought they didnt feel his behavior to be dangerous or abusive and the SM was just over reacting. The problem with the CC was hoping the problem would go away because this adult was a very hard worker and he didnt want to loose him. The other committee members didnt want to offend either the SM or the other adult, so they just stayed out. After a few months and another close call, the SM called and emergency committee meeting and told them that he was reporting the adult to the CE because the committee failed to keep the scouts safe. Either the committee would support his actions or become part of the problem. One adult stood up and said he would talk with the adult and tell him the committee wanted him to step away from the scouts. I believe everyone wanted to do this all along but they needed someone to start momentum.


Once the committee as a whole confronted the adult, he voluntarily step back from personal contact with the scouts, but stayed in the program. He is very active Nationally and we are all friends now.


Part of your SMs problem could be that your committees timid reaction is sending a signal that allows him to feel is behavior is appropriate. And that is very dangerous.


It's not just your son who is in danger. This man cannot control himself and someone is going to get hurt.


Good luck.




Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe we should all back up a step. What about the SM's side of this story. We have heard what the scout told his parents. Maybe its not the whole story. Maybe the commmittee did look at it and deemed it not a problem.


Thats the bad thing about asking about these type of things on these forums, you never get the whole truth, both sides of a story.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...