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Scoutmaster denies 17 year old Life Scout Eagle

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I couldn't agree with you more, Beavah.  Thank you.

 

As a teacher, I am naturally a bit biased, but I really don't believe teachers are the bad guys.  I like teachers.

 

When I was a young, newly minted teacher, I had an experience I will never forget.  A family at our school owned a small mom-and-pop business, a racquetball club.  It wasn't like these big box fitness centers they have now.  It was a small business.

 

One day, we had a flash flood in town.  The wooden floors of the racquetball courts were ruined.  Insurance didn't cover it.  The family faced bankruptcy.

 

We had a middle school shop teacher with some serious skills.  Under the expert supervision of the shop teacher, the teachers of our school volunteered a weekend and rebuilt the racquetball courts. 

 

I love being a teacher.

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Beav, can I disagree?

 

We can only operate on the facts given - hearsay to be sure, with the understanding (that perhaps should be explicit) that the advice is based on the facts presented.  Those facts do not include AWOL for four years.   (Any yes, anyone can see what their particular bete noire in the facts presented.  That's a corollary to the Hammer/Nail Rule.)

 

The issue is whether the Scout is qualified for Eagle.  That ought to be the only issue.  Determining the answer on that issue would require careful  fact-gathering and careful consideration.  

 

If trying to follow the rules is "lawyerin," so be it.  Understanding the rules is also essential if one is to be "obedient"  You know, one of those values we profess to follow.  I think we are better off with a society of law vs. a society that ignores the law.

 

Which is not to say that I love "zero-tolerance" rules.  Like you, I dislike such rules.  Unlike you, I think they flow from an unwillingness to make the effort and take the risk of exercising judgment.  Homo bureaucratus, a subspecies found even within Scouting, is especially fond of zero-judgment rules.  So easy. "Sorry, but the rules provide . . . ."

 

"Adversarial"?  In this case, we are told that there are already sides.    The question is whether the Scout's side has an opportunity to be meaningfully presented.  What lesson do we teach about how disputes are to be resolved?  With respect and and opportunity to be heard flowing both ways?  Totalitarians are fond of arguing that only one side exists.  "For the people!"  That's not you, Beav.  But it is a lot of "Social Service" agencies - and school administrators..

 

Camping Detour

 

As for the detour into kids going camping outside the troop, don't get hung up on "jurisdiction."  Being hung up is bad for beaver.  Think of "business" -- as in the CO/troop has no business telling kids not to go camping outside of the unit program.  And this was camping, not drugs.

 

I would hope the parents, whose business it is, are exercising good judgment (There's that word again.) in letting the kids camp.  I would hope for a couple of parents within screaming distance. (Sorry, Commando Team leaders. That's just how I think after two years on a SAR team. )   Six 16-year-olds vs six 11-year-olds?  Judgment.

 

SM wants to pitch them out for camping privately?  Bad move in my opinion.  LIke the two SMs in Orange County in the 1950s who wanted to ban Scouts from privately trick 'r treating for UNICEF, you may not like the ultimate result. (They were decommissioned.)  It's voluntary both ways.  Convince is better that using that hammer.  Maybe the patrols should be camping more given that use of the Patrol method is unambiguously required for all troops.

Edited by TAHAWK
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The people who are the most vocal in opposing zero tolerance policies, are usually the same people who oppose allowing teachers, coaches, and scout leaders to exercise judgement.

 

When a judgement goes against them, they lawyer up.

 

Teachers, coaches, and scout leaders used to be allowed to exercise their judgement to provide us with good order and discipline in our schools and youth programs, but not anymore.   

 

I'm not a big fan of inflexible policies, but they do seem to be necessary.  It's no longer a choice between zero tolerance or judgement.  It's either zero tolerance or no discipline at all.

Edited by David CO

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One must always be vigilant of the ever increasing polarization going on in our society in recent years.  It's what makes the issue of judgment on one hand counter oppose that of zero-tolerance.

 

There used to be an acceptable social code that everyone seemed to adhere to that allowed for common sense judgment to occur.  We have legalized the structures to the point where one's judgment is no longer a legal defense and thus needs to be codified.  For years teachers complained about parents stepping back and dumping the upbringing of the children to the schools.  Not everyone did that, but the prevailing winds seem to suggest that and people bought into it as gospel truth.  Well it offered an opportunity for the schools then step in and justify a nanny state position and thus even grew to the point where the schools and it's employees feel they have a legal right to overrule the judgment of even the parents. 

 

50 years ago, this would be an appalling and unacceptable situation in any jurisdiction in America.  Now it is the "social norm".  This overreach by the government schools because of it's mandated mission of forced education for minors, we see an ever increasing enrollment in private and charter schools, home-schooling, and voucher demands from parents who do not see the justification for paying twice for their child's education.  Of course the government can force the double payment because they make the rules.

 

Zero-tolerance nanny state rules don't do much for cooperative efforts for the welfare of the children.  Of course one really doesn't need to cooperate with parents when all one has to do is make a quick phone call to Children's Protective Services and all resistance disappears in a heartbeat.

 

If anyone wonders why there seems to be a touch of animosity between schools and parents it is peculiar to me.  I don't wonder at all, not with the existing conditions of society.  There is very little if any trust between teachers and parents anymore and for just cause.

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The people who are the most vocal in opposing zero tolerance policies, are usually the same people who oppose allowing teachers, coaches, and scout leaders to exercise judgement.

 

When a judgement goes against them, they lawyer up.

 

Teachers, coaches, and scout leaders used to be allowed to exercise their judgement to provide us with good order and discipline in our schools and youth programs, but not anymore.   

 

I'm not a big fan of inflexible policies, but they do seem to be necessary.  It's no longer a choice between zero tolerance or judgement.  It's either zero tolerance or no discipline at all.

Meh, let's be clear about some thing: THESE ADULTS YOU ARE DEFRNDING ARE BREAKING THE RULES!!!

 

Clear enough? This isn't a simple case of misinterpretation, these adults are making up their own rules. Let's not go off on tangents about teachers and coaches and such. These are adults who have promised to uphold the rules and policies of the BSA and have violated that promise. They're wrong and their program needs fixing. The process for bringing that to light is exactly what the Scout is doing.

 

How can you support the adults holding the kid to their standard but NOT the written policies of the BSA? That makes zero sense.

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The people who are the most vocal in opposing zero tolerance policies, are usually the same people who oppose allowing teachers, coaches, and scout leaders to exercise judgement.

 

When a judgement goes against them, they lawyer up.

 

Teachers, coaches, and scout leaders used to be allowed to exercise their judgement to provide us with good order and discipline in our schools and youth programs, but not anymore.   

 

I'm not a big fan of inflexible policies, but they do seem to be necessary.  It's no longer a choice between zero tolerance or judgement.  It's either zero tolerance or no discipline at all.

 

@@David CO

 

One must also remember that teachers, coaches and scout leaders USED TO BE more reasonable in their judgments as well.  While one may not be a big fan of inflexible policies, everyone that can seems to accept them as appropriate.  One doesn't need to resolve issues anymore.  Any minor spark of difference is met with an entrenched response of maximum power to defend one's position.  This is how a piece of bread eaten so as to vaguely resemble a weapon will get a kindergarten child a school suspension.  Hey people the gun's empty, quit pulling the trigger!!!

 

I never thought I would see the day when I would have to hire a lawyer to defend my child's civil rights from the school system.  I did and I won.  Ever since then I have always had a healthy suspicion of the school system.  It was a lesson taught to me by them.

 

35 years ago I worked with a school system that was a pleasure to work with.  No problems and conflicts were quickly resolved with mutual satisfaction.  I would even bend over backwards for the school because they would bend over backwards for me.  Those days are long gone.

 

So the days of teachers getting some slack cut on their judgments went out the window with zero-tolerance policies.

The days of coaches getting some slack cut on their judgments went out the window with contractual policies that dictate over parental judgments.

The days of ScoutMasters getting some slack cut on their judgments went out the window when they left the reservation and started making up their own rules.

 

The art of negotiation has been lost in our society.  I still use it and find I have very little discipline problems nor do I find the need to have parent/scout contracts, or rules beyond my 3 that I have 1) safety first, 2) look and act like a scout and 3) have fun.  By-law citings and contract verbiage are for those that can't negotiate.  Whenever I run up against someone who can't negotiate, I just walk away, it's a waste of time.  Isn't a zero-tolerance policy a result of one's inability to negotiate anything?

Edited by Stosh
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The people who are the most vocal in opposing zero tolerance policies, are usually the same people who oppose allowing teachers, coaches, and scout leaders to exercise judgement.

 

When a judgement goes against them, they lawyer up.

 

Teachers, coaches, and scout leaders used to be allowed to exercise their judgement to provide us with good order and discipline in our schools and youth programs, but not anymore.   

 

I'm not a big fan of inflexible policies, but they do seem to be necessary.  It's no longer a choice between zero tolerance or judgement.  It's either zero tolerance or no discipline at all.

Funny how we got along so many generations with judgment.  Boys mostly carried "pocket knives" to school.  But if some idiot pulled one out and threatened, there were consequences.  So it was up to you to be reasonable.  Now perfectly reasonable conduct is punished - like the Eagle's tiny folder in his survival kit locked in the glove compartment of his locked truck.  The Winter weather where he was made it very reasonable to have a knife to help start a fire.  But the reasonableness of his conduct was trumped by Zero Intelligence rules.  In fact, reason was not involved.  Expelled.

 

I am told by friends in education that parents are less supportive of discipline.  The federal government is less supportive of enforcing laws.  Times are changing.

 

But intolerant rules are still a poor way to teach personal responsibility.   

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Until five years ago, there was a SM in a nearby town who maintained that he could tell when a Scout was 12 years old whether or not he was "Eagle material."  And in fourteen years, he was "never wrong."

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Ok for some reason my comments didn't stick with the quote. I wonder if you live on my neck of the woods, untill 5-6 years ago we had the same type of " scoutmaster" if he decided you were not worthy there was no way you would ever be appointed patrol leader, quartermaster, spl. Or anything else. Eagle? Shoot you would be lucky to get star even if you had two dozen merit badges, and a gold honor medal.

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That's what I was thinking at first when I mentioned the self-fulfilling prophesy issue.  If a person does not think someone is going to succeed they tend to blow them off, but if they think the person will succeed, they bend over backwards helping.    I didn't see this SM's record as a good thing.

Edited by Stosh

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Ok for some reason my comments didn't stick with the quote. I wonder if you live on my neck of the woods, untill 5-6 years ago we had the same type of " scoutmaster" if he decided you were not worthy there was no way you would ever be appointed patrol leader, quartermaster, spl. Or anything else. Eagle? Shoot you would be lucky to get star even if you had two dozen merit badges, and a gold honor medal.

Stunned that no parents have gone to the CO to get him removed. 

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Beav, can I disagree?

 

Yah, sure @@TAHAWK.  I’m wrong more than half da time, eh? :confused:    Da Bobwhites disagree with me just about all the time, but then they’re flighty birds not sturdy, hardworkin’ furry critters.

 

We can only operate on the facts given - hearsay to be sure,

 

Nah.  That’s a choice, eh?   We all know that hearsay is completely unreliable.  That’s why it’s not at all admissible in court.   Knowin’ that, why choose to believe hearsay is “factâ€?  That won’t do anybody any good.

 

Which do yeh really think is more likely:

 

  • That a teenager is bein’ a bit immature and rebellious, or that the Scoutmaster who has given the boy thousands of hours of his volunteer time over the past 5 years and who has da support of other kids and parents is out to get the lad for no reason other than spleen?
  • That a parent is bein’ a bit of a helicopter, or that da SM, ASMs, CC, Advancement Chair, committee who are all volunteers and parents themselves have a grudge and want to just hurt the lad?

So rather than just accept hearsay, I reckon it’s fine to insert a bit of judgment and start calmin’ things down and just askin’ more questions and gatherin’ information.  Our goal as friends shouldn’t be to arm da rebellion and da helicopters and send ‘em off to war.   It should be to provide calm perspective and bring folks back together again.

 

Beavah

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Meh, let's be clear about some thing: THESE ADULTS YOU ARE DEFRNDING ARE BREAKING THE RULES!!!

 

Yah, da zero tolerance policy folks seem alive and well in da BSA, eh?   :p

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Yah, da zero tolerance policy folks seem alive and well in da BSA, eh?   :p

Are you trying to create an argument with that? I'm not sure what it contributes to the discussion at hand. 

 

 

This forum is not a court of law. I don't think we need to be using a legal standard of admit able evidence. We are not a judge, nor jury. It's an opinion forum. Regardless of what the OP has said, regardless of what the Scout, or the SM or the Committee has or has not done there is one INDISPUTABLE fact in all of this. 

 

The BSA has a process for "Eagle in disputed circumstances." It should be followed in this case. It should be used whenever there is disagreement between a Life Scout, and his SM/Committee that cannot be reconciled by said volunteers meeting with the youth and his parents. That is the only thing related to the OP that is completely factual. If a troop is following procedures, then they have nothing to fear. 

 

8.0.3.2 Initiating Eagle Scout Board of Review Under Disputed Circumstances. Pg 59. http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/33088.pdf

 

There are times where a Troop Leader or Committee is off the reservation, making up their own rules and requirements. I've seen it in my own unit in the past. I will never condone that behavior. I don't think it's a zero tolerance mindset. I think it's a following the Oath and Law mindset. What good comes from Scoutmasters ignoring the GTA? If you can make a case for why those rules should be disregarded, I'm all ears. 

 

When faced with situations like the OP, most youth and their parents don't know about 8.0.3.2. No scouts, and most parents read those documents, they generally trust that the Volunteers running the unit are doing the right thing. I think that's a good thing, but it does make it ripe to be abused.

 

That being said, Beaver you are correct. We should take OP's like this with a grain of salt. Anybody who's been volunteering for any reasonable amount of time has met helicopter parents and emperor who have no clothes volunteers who make up their own rules. We all know both types of people exist. 

 

I think for the most part we encourage and empower folks to do the right thing. Sometimes the issues folks come asking for advice on are reconcilable differences. There have definitely been posts where a parents comes to complain and most of the forum members go "Nah, sounds like the Troop is doing it right."  

 

Sometimes, a SM/ASM/CC is abusing their authority, being a bully, and arming folks with knowledge of how the system works in order to resist that is the right thing to do. 

 

It's always important to remember, This is not an official BSA publication.  Everybody is just putting their opinions out there. Cavat Emptor. 

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Ok for some reason my comments didn't stick with the quote. I wonder if you live on my neck of the woods, untill 5-6 years ago we had the same type of " scoutmaster" if he decided you were not worthy there was no way you would ever be appointed patrol leader, quartermaster, spl. Or anything else. Eagle? Shoot you would be lucky to get star even if you had two dozen merit badges, and a gold honor medal.

The other troop in our town has had the same "Scoutmaster" for 20 years.

He "can tell"  if a scout is going to "make it in Scouting" within 2 months of crossing over.

If he is not going to "make it in scouting" he is urged to quit.

He has been a very good "recruiting tool" for us because according to him we "take everyone", and he is right.

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