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MattR

Eagle and weed

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With a zero tolerance infraction, an apology no matter how sincere is a waste of breath for it surely falls on deaf ears. Consequences are avoided because there is always a work around. By law a child has to go to school. The public school system has to provide an education. And as far as BSA goes they don't have zero tolerance policies and there's another troop down the road.

 

Until someone breaks the cycle and decides to actually help the boy, life will continue on with no lesson learned.

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Pride does get in the way. When my dad was a committee chair, they suspended a boy who had brought beer to camp. They told him if he came back in a couple of months (right before he became 17.5 years old), they would complete his Life BoR and support him in whatever he needed to complete Eagle.

 

He chose not to return.

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At some point, our sons and daughters have to make adult decisions and learn to react to those decisions with outward virtuous actions . I once met a teacher who preached to his parent friends over and over that we have to put our kids in as many decision making situations that we can so they they will practice and developed into decision making experts by they time they are adults. That is exactly what the Scouting program is about and why I am so passionate about it. But Scouting can't do it all, our community is supposed to guide our young people as well.

 

 

This is the most important post to read in the whole thread.  I find that the Scouting even can change the adults' behavior.  I've forgotten how many times I've had to e-mail parents and tell them that their son should be the one responding or corresponding with me and how many times parents try to give me money or permission slips and I tell them to give it to their son to handle. 

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Accountability and responsibility is not just for when the Scouts do bad things, it should apply to everything they do, both good and bad.

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With a zero tolerance infraction, an apology no matter how sincere is a waste of breath for it surely falls on deaf ears. Consequences are avoided because there is always a work around. By law a child has to go to school. The public school system has to provide an education. And as far as BSA goes they don't have zero tolerance policies and there's another troop down the road.

 

Until someone breaks the cycle and decides to actually help the boy, life will continue on with no lesson learned.

 

 

Summed up perfectly- Zero Tolerance takes THINKING off the table period.

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"Zero tolerance" sounds good, which is why it became kind of a "fad" about 20 years ago (I guess.)  

 

"We're going to apply the same penalty to everybody who does a specific act, without taking any of the surrounding circumstances into account" doesn't sound so good.  The problem is that they are basically the same thing, which is why "zero tolerance" never really worked out. 

 

And I can tell you that when you are involved in the enforcement of government rules and policies - as I was (in an oversight role) when I was a school board member - "zero tolerance" usually isn't even legal.  I remember the board attorney making clear that courts and administrative agencies all over the country had struck down disciplinary rules and actions that failed to take all relevant circumstances into account.

 

Of course, in a private setting where the government is not involved, and where you don't have a legal "right" to be there (say, in a program chartered to a religious institution), the people in charge can usually be "zero tolerant" if they see fit, and those who don't like it can leave.  I take it that is DavidCO's situation.  Whether it "works" or not will always be a matter of debate.

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I suppose that zero tolerance policies do, to some extent, take thinking off the table.  At least it might from a unit leader's point of view.  So do the advancement guidelines, merit badge requirements, and YP policies.

 

I think we see a lot more push-back when it is the Chartered Organization who imposes the limitations on the unit leaders' use of personal judgement and discretionary authority.  Much more so than when BSA does it.

Edited by David CO

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"Zero tolerance" sounds good, which is why it became kind of a "fad" about 20 years ago (I guess.)  

 

"We're going to apply the same penalty to everybody who does a specific act, without taking any of the surrounding circumstances into account" doesn't sound so good.  The problem is that they are basically the same thing, which is why "zero tolerance" never really worked out. 

 

And I can tell you that when you are involved in the enforcement of government rules and policies - as I was (in an oversight role) when I was a school board member - "zero tolerance" usually isn't even legal.  I remember the board attorney making clear that courts and administrative agencies all over the country had struck down disciplinary rules and actions that failed to take all relevant circumstances into account.

 

Of course, in a private setting where the government is not involved, and where you don't have a legal "right" to be there (say, in a program chartered to a religious institution), the people in charge can usually be "zero tolerant" if they see fit, and those who don't like it can leave.  I take it that is DavidCO's situation.  Whether it "works" or not will always be a matter of debate.

 

I was on a (public school) school board, and our school board attorney told us the exact opposite.  None of our expulsions were ever overturned.

 

I suppose it might vary from state to state.  The middle states can be a lot more conservative than the coastal states.

Edited by David CO

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I have never had a zero tolerance policy in any of the activities I have been involved with.  I keep it simple, explain what needs to be done and then keep them busy doing the right things.  I try not to leave openings for them to go looking for trouble.  It seems to work, but on occasion someone slips up here or there.  I don't shut the door, I work with the boy to get him back on track.  One of the first things I teach in Scouts is that this is their opportunity to do their best and grow up and when they slip, they learn from it and continue on.  History is always in the past and there's nothing that can be done to "fix it", opportunities to grow are in the future.  The opportunities to grow are endless.  I never shut the door on the future for them.

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As I said, for me zero tolerance is action based without empathy. That being said, for growth to take place, the perpetrator at some point has to initiate actions of acceptance for the misdeed and repentance for the harm caused.

 

MattR never shut the door, the scout in his pride chose not to respect the harm he caused. I supposed we could beg and plead for some hint of regret or guilt in front of the victims, but what's the point if he doesn't mean it?  We can only hope that time wears him down to see the light somewhere in his future.

 

Barry

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This topic reminded me of a something that happened at our son's middle school. In celebration of the school year coming to an end, a few students broke into the school to vandalize the hallways with trash, paint, and animal urine and feces. The boys were identified and expelled for the last three days of the year. Feeling that the boys were actually rewarded instead of given a chance to confront and reconcile for their actions, I called the principle and suggested she "make" the boys clean up the mess. Her short response was that it wasn't safe for children to be in that environment. I was so dumbstruck that I didn't think to ask her of these childrens' health as they distributed the foulness through the hallways.

 

We reap what we sew. The same exact thing happened again at the nearby high school two years later. Those student were caught in the act and the police were called. Personally I feel that personal involvement of cleaning up their mess would have a more intense impact on their reaction to their misdeed than a scolding by the local authority. But I didn't waste my time offering the opinion.

 

Barry

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This topic reminded me of a something that happened at our son's middle school. In celebration of the school year coming to an end, a few students broke into the school to vandalize the hallways with trash, paint, and animal urine and feces. The boys were identified and expelled for the last three days of the year. Feeling that the boys were actually rewarded instead of given a chance to confront and reconcile for their actions, I called the principle and suggested she "make" the boys clean up the mess. Her short response was that it wasn't safe for children to be in that environment. I was so dumbstruck that I didn't think to ask her of these childrens' health as they distributed the foulness through the hallways.

 

We reap what we sew. The same exact thing happened again at the nearby high school two years later. Those student were caught in the act and the police were called. Personally I feel that personal involvement of cleaning up their mess would have a more intense impact on their reaction to their misdeed than a scolding by the local authority. But I didn't waste my time offering the opinion.

 

Barry

 

The school has to follow OSHA regulations. The administrator made the right call.  

 

We get that all the time, particularly with broken windows.  It is often the parents of the vandals who ask us to have their kids fix it themselves. While I totally understand the appeal of this sort of restorative justice, we simply can't do it. It is against the rules.

 

We would send the parents a bill for the cost of repairing or cleaning up the damage.

Edited by David CO

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Ah, I see. So the regulations are different for adults than kids.

 

Barry

 

Absolutely.  OSHA regulations have a lot of age based restrictions.

 

Some of the regulations have to do with training as well as age.  Janitors have to take classes and be signed off in order to be qualified to do any sort of hazardous clean up.

 

You might be surprised at how much training and skill some of our janitors have.

 

I don't think BSA offers a janitorial merit badge.  Too bad.  It might give our students a little more appreciation and respect for what our janitors do for us every day.

 

I might be a little bit biased, though, since I am very good friends with our school janitor.

Edited by David CO
  • Upvote 1

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The school has to follow OSHA regulations. The administrator made the right call.  

 

We get that all the time, particularly with broken windows.  It is often the parents of the vandals who ask us to have their kids fix it themselves. While I totally understand the appeal of this sort of restorative justice, we simply can't do it. It is against the rules.

 

We would send the parents a bill for the cost of repairing or cleaning up the damage.

Well, make them take the training.Or give the kids equal work doing something else, like making sure the floors stay clean.

 

I was in Japan a long time ago and the kids clean the schools. They have no janitors.

 

My guess is something could be worked out, if the schools were interested.

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