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Twocubdad

Interrogating Scouts

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So let's say hypothetically there is some rather serious case of vandalism at camp and the camp staff chooses to question members of nearby troops. Are there BSA policies or procedures in place relating to how this should be conducted?

 

Specifically, how long can camp staff detain Scouts for questioning? Do troop leaders have a right/responsibility to be present during the questioning? (Not from a two-deep standpoint, but from the standpoint of protecting the Scout's legal position.) And perhaps a question for our legal eagles, how does this change if law enforcement is involved? How is information gathered by the staff treated by actual law enforcement officers?

 

 

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Up until you mentioned bringing in the police.

My feeling was that if a Lad was guilty of doing something that he ought not to have been doing. The Staff at the camp might find out what happened and then leave it up to the Troop to take it from there.

Of course some SE's might use this to revoke the BSA membership of the Lad? But I'd like to think that wouldn't happen.

When it comes to dealing with the police.

Wow!

I'm not a lawyer.

However my gut feeling is once they start collecting evidence and taking statements the people giving the statements should tell the truth, which very well might include things that the guilty person admitted to them.

 

While I have never and hope never have to deal with a situation where it looks like a Scout is going to be charged with a crime.

I suppose, now that you brought it up that the best course of action would be to not allow anyone to talk to him until his parents arrive.

The parents can then decide what action they want to take.

If it was my kid? I kinda think I'd want a lawyer with me.

Problem with that is that both my lawyers are also Scouter's.

If this is more than a hypothetical situation.

My heart goes out to all involved.

Ea.

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Just like there are no BSA policies or procedures determining how the camp staff must set up the baked potato bar in the dining hall, there are no BSA policies or procedures governing something such as this. It's far too much of an outlier type of incident for a nationwide organization to have specific rules.

 

If I were a unit Scouter and the camp staff wanted to ask questions of some of my boys, I'd insist on being present - not necessarily as an advocate, but as an observer. I would want to talk with the camp director in advance to find out the scope and scale of the questions, and the nature of any evidence. And if anything "hinky" was going on, such as random, unsubstantiated accusations or intimidation of a youth by an adult, I'd be calling a halt to the questions, walking into the camp office and dialing up the Scout Executive.

 

In cases of campsite vandalism I've dealt with on camp staff, we treated the entire unit responsible for the damage unless it was clearly the actions of one individual. We let the unit leadership sort it out. And in almost every instance, the leaders were incredibly apologetic and wanted to set things right.

 

In cases of camp-wide vandalism, the entire camp was held responsible for the actions of the individual until the offenders came forward. As an example, when someone threw a (sealed) plastic bag of feces into the swimming pool, the pool was immediately shut down for several days. There's a lot of peer pressure at work there to get the offenders to step forward.

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I can see a CD wnting to ask a few boys "of interest" about what might have happened ot what they where doing at "4pm on the weekend og X day while at camp?" But that's pretty much as far as any "authority" or "powers" go.

 

The "authority woule be the laws of the state the camp happened in and only if the suspected youth were still in that state or area or jurisdiction.

 

Basically, a CD or Ranger does not have the power to hold or sequester a scout, not is his investigation of a legfal nature. The most he could do is ban the boys from camp, but that in itself may be up to the council or SE of that council.

 

The CD or ranger could not prevent the scouts any outside contact wether it be the SM or parents .

 

If the CD or Ranger really needs some interrogations done, he needs to call the police..who also have to follow the law of the land.

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I agree with shortridge.

 

but I would hold fast on being present, period, no if's or buts.

 

If I can't be present (or the parent), then it's gonna get legal and an outside professional is getting involved.

 

 

 

 

 

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Funny this should come up......

 

What was the level of vandalism????

Carving his name in a picknick table or breaking all of the windows out of the dining hall??????

 

It makes a difference in my book.

 

If it involved a large dollar amount and one of my scouts was involved, I would not let him be questioned by the camp staff period. I would ask that LE be involved and contact his parents so he had proper representation.

 

Shortridge.....someone actually did that????? What is wrong with with these scouts??? That impacted a bunch of scouts in a negative manner.....

 

We had one scout who kept BMing in the shower.....Which lead to no youth unescorted to the shower house and the adult leader had to verify a clean shower before the unit left......guess what it wasn't a problem after this was implemented.

 

Another Troop had the SM's son writing "Troop 123 was here" on duct tape and sticking it all over camp. The troop was asked not to return to that camp.....EVER.

 

 

 

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Yep I've seen the BMing stuff at camp. Not pretty and almost caused the camp to be shut down b/c it was in the dining hall.

 

I've also seen the carving of initials, pornographic graffiti, "painting" the outhouses with deordarant (at least it took care of the smell ;) ) and the XYZ hearts ABC painted on the lookout tower at the waterfront (ABC was NOT amused).

 

Most expensive though was when a "troop" sliced up 1 year old canvas tents. These were the tents used at jamboree the year before, and for all practical purposes were brand spanking new. And every single one of them, 2 jamboree troops' worth of tents, sliced up.

 

The entire unit was kicked out of camp, and the COR had to pay for them.

 

EDITED: LE was involved in the matter as a Sheriff's office was the COR.(This message has been edited by Eagle92)

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So did the COR dissolve the troop???? I would have considered it. I cannot even fathom why the boys would cut up a tent.......let alone 10-15 of them.

 

And these are scouts???? What is wrong with them??????

 

Theft at this years camp was a problem too, we had several scouts loose money at the pool and I had my backpack gone thru at the swimming pool......By a fellow scouter cause it was in the adult changing area. I lost a couple of knives, compass, headlight and first aid kit. I reported it to the CD who mentioned it at the SM meeting the following morning. They are gone, stolen by an adult scouter.

 

It was to the point the boys going to the pool left everything at camp except a shirt and towel.

 

 

really sad.

 

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Base,

 

CO didn't disband the troop, but did kick out all the members, including the one good one. Long story short it was part of SCOUTREACH, kids who really needed Scouting, but they were not scouts for very long. The various sheriffs in the council got together to incorporate Scouting into their outreach programs,and those units usally came to camp at the same time. Most units were no problem, and heck it was fun. But that one unit caused problems.

 

You know it's bad when their closest neighbor decides to post leaders as sentries, have tripwires surrounding the campsite with cans to get people's attention, and the leaders and older scouts were doing fire watches at nite.

 

We actually had staffers stealing. One of my CITs was caught stealing money form the drink machines outside the training post we were working. he was fired, but brought back as his dad was on the executive board. Then when him and a few of his troop mates also on staff were caught stealing stuff in another staffer's tent, they were sent home.

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shame they kicked out the one good one....

 

just curious, why did they need to have trip wires around the campsite??????

 

If I had boys sneaking out at night as SM I would ask for help and probably spend a couple of nights staying up to figure out who it is and send them home.....It is MY responsibility to ensure my scouts are causing issues for other troops. Stealing or Vandalizing your out of my Troop.

 

 

All boys don't deserve scouting..... but that is an entire different thread.

 

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Holy Toledo! I'm reading all this stuff and beginning to believe that I actually HAVE been taken by a rapture to a better place. You guys are living in hell!!! The worst thing I've experienced was someone sneaking a candy bar or skipping out to sleep in his tent or (Horrors!) using an aerosol can to make a 'flame thrower'.

Get thee behind me, Satan!

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Base,

Don't worry about the one good one. For the most part he stayed out of it by helping out in one of the areas. Which leads to an inteesting siutation

 

The under 18 staff in that area hid him when the unit was packing up to leave, and the director didn't know b/c he was part of the group looking for the missing scout. The staffers thought theat if the group left and he was still there, he would be allowed to stay. Didn't happen. But the area director knew he had helped out the previous 2 days, and the CD had heard good thing about him, despite him hiding in orde to avoid leaving, and when I and another staffer brought him home, we talked to the parents handed them an application for Winter Camp staff and the following summer staff app saying we wanted him back.

 

As for the trip wires, they were not placed around their campsite, but another unit's campsite. SM was a vet who after an incident decided to do that. they couldn't find out who did whatever it was that happened, and he wasn't too communicative on the matter.But somone form another campsite snuck in after hours, and the trip wires, cans etc prevented it form happening again

 

Pack,

 

If you work staff for 6 years, you see a few things. Still wished I would have seen first hand the jeep on jacks instead of pics of it.(This message has been edited by eagle92)

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Okay, a little more info, but not too much to maintain confidentiality.

 

According to my leaders on site, the damage was minor and there was some question as to when it took place. But it was to a irreplaceable camp icon so everyone was wigged out. They looked at photos from a year ago and could see no difference. There's no evidence when the damage took place -- that evening, last week, last year....

 

At the time the damage supposedly occurred my Scouts were in their tents asleep. Three senior staff members were in our campsite and verified this. They were still asleep later when the camp staff came and woke everyone after the damage was discovered. End of story, right?

 

Nope. Next morning, my guys and several other units were pulled out of programs for questioning. Scouts AND LEADERS were questioned individually for anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes each. The interrogations were private but two deep. No unit adults participated. Well after lunch they decide to pull my guys back in for a second round of interviews. By mid-afternoon, one of our leaders FINALLY stepped in and said they needed to wrap things up. No all Scouts were interviewed twice.

 

Ultimately, nothing came of it. But our guys lost most of a day at camp sitting on their hands waiting for the investigation to concluded. Clearly this put a damper on the trip and a bad taste in their mouth for this camp. They were finally released about 3:00. In no small measure I'm upset that my leaders did intervene sooner and more forcefully.

 

This is an out-of-council camp so I don't have any contacts the way I would in-council. In some respects it's over and done with, but it still seems to me there needs to be some apology or resolution.

 

Beav, NJ, I'd still like your thoughts.

 

 

 

The Scouts in question had a minor disagreement with a couple staff members. Sometime during the late evening, a valuable piece of camp memorialbilia was said to be vandalized. According to the unit leaders on site, the damage was barely noticeable and there was no evidence as to when the damage had taken place. The staff members the Scouts bumped heads with apparently pointed the finger at these Scouts.

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BM's in the shower. Why do some kids do it? It's beyond me. I attended the 2005 and 2010 Jamborees. In 2005, all we had in our subcamp were portajohns that were like a suana. Step inside one of those sitting in the sun around 3 PM in mid-july and you'll instantly lose 10 lbs sweating. The boys had showers made out of 2x4's and black plastic. We had to send older boys along with our younger boys to ensure they got to take showers. Other older kids would literally jerk a little kid out of a shower so they could take one and then throw their clothes over the side on the shower structure in to the mud.

 

While I was looking forward to Jamboree again in 2010, I had lingering thoughts of enduring the portajohns and he youth having shower issues again. Much to my surprise, we had wonderful facilities. The latrines were trailers with running water and real honest to gosh air conditioning. The showers were air conditioned too and were either converted cargo containers or 18 wheeler trailers with stainless steel showers. Suh-weet!!! Until kids started trashing the air conditioned latrine trailers and taking BM's in the 18 wheeler showers. Not to mention we had kids from across the Jambo decending on our nice facilities wheich meant our kids would end up having to go to bed dirty because curfew rolled around while they stood in line for a couple of hours. The crews that cleaned the latrines refused to clean them due to them being trashed so bad and the subcamp shut them down and the boys had to walk a good distance to portajohns. They couldn't really shut down the showers, but we adults had to start policing them and having kids show us their credentials to make sure they were from our subcamp to be able to use them.

 

The one bright spot was that the troops from our council contingent took it upon themselves to go get cleaning supplies and clean the latrines and showers in order to get the privileges restored for the subcamp.

 

I've never understood the rush some kids get from vandelism and ruining something for everyone.

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I don't agree with the actions of the camp staff. A minor act of vandalism, no matter how memorable the item, is not something that should be investigated in this manner. Sounds like the camp staff let their emotions get to them - suspending the program to hold individual interviews without a troop adult present?

 

If I was there as the Scoutmaster I would have refused to let them hold their "investigations". I would have put my foot down immediately - either kick us all out of camp or get on with the program. My attitude would be: if you can prove a scout in my Troop caused the damage, I'll pay for the repair myself; I am responsible for the actions of my boys and I will make sure that if they were involved, my SPL would handle their discipline.

 

Do not attend that camp ever again. Their staff obviously does not have their priorities straight.

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