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tharrell12976

BSA policies regarding withholding advancement

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Sounds like another ego idiot!--get to another troop asap, this guy AND group isn't going to change. The sooner you go, the sooner your son can enjoy scouting and advance like he should!!

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Talk to these people in this order until you get appropriate resolution to the situation.

 

The Charter Organization Representative

The Institutional Head of your charting organization

The District Executive of your district

The Secouting Executive of your council.

 

I at that point the situation is not fully resolved notify the police and get a lawyer this is a case of assault.

Edited by Stosh
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The ultimate trump card ... which may burn his bridges with Boy Scouting, is to file a complaint with your State Child Protective Services Bureau.  Trust me, the local Council will be in hyperdrive forthwith.

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Talk to these people in this order until you get appropriate resolution to the situation.

 

The Charter Organization Representative

The Institutional Head of your charting organization

The District Executive of your district

The Secouting Executive of your council.

 

I at that point the situation is not fully resolved notify the police and get a lawyer this is a case of assault.

I personally don't support this route based from the experience that the charter rep reports to the charter leader. Not only does that take time, the people involved may be less likely to act. And that is if the charter wants to do anything. Go back to my statement that by standers (or people not involved) don't like confrontation. Hopefully their first action will be to contact the SE, which is why going to the SE makes more sense to me. 

 

The DE is ok, but they will be involved anyway if the first call goes strait to the SE. However, I don't like to go around district, so I called the District Commissioner (DC) just before or after contacting the SE. Abuse is one of the few reasons to call the SE first.

 

By the way, typically what the Council will counsel the unit to deal with the situation with them (Council) standing in support. So it always gets back to the CC and COR one way or another. But depending on the order of reporting is how much time for action to happen. I have seen CCs quit because they didn't volunteer for these kinds of issues. 

 

Finally, there is a fear among everyone that this can go too far and create more problems for the adult responsible than intended. But that shouldn't be our problem. The adult has some control. 

 

Some will say the SMs physical action wasn't an act of abuse. But the problem it sounds like from the OPs post is that the SM acted in anger. The anger and how he controlled (or lost control) is the issue in my opinion. 

 

Barry

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I think the best course of action is to stay within the chain of command.  Now with the time element involved, I wold give each step 30 minutes to affect some sort of effective change.  The COR and IH start out because they own the charter.  It is their unit.  If they are happy with the way things are, then move on and keep going until someone does something about it.

 

When it comes ts bullying, I teach my boys the same process.  Keep going until someone helps.If it goes all the way to the police and they don't listen (not really abuse then I like John's idea as well.  You aren't going to solve this on your own.  Keep going until you get help.

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If you cannot re-direct your anger you should not be a SM as you are at the tip of the spear. Far easier to be an ASM. Thus I am not SM material; occasionally I lose it; though I have never touched a scout. And I always apologize to the lad afterwards if I was a dick.

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Hi, I hope I have this in the right forum - I'm new to the site.

 

My son (a 1st Class Scout) recently got into an altercation with our Scoutmaster.  Without going into too much detail, my son, who has never had a single disciplinary problem previously, didn't do what he was told - He didn't feel good, so he laid on a table vice going somewhere the Scoutmaster told him to.  Because of his "defiance", the Scoutmaster picked him up and threw him over his shoulder and carried him to where he was told to go.  My son fought back, hitting the Scoutmaster.  I do not condone my son's behavior, but this Scoutmaster has been mean and demeaning to many of the Scouts in the Troop - Lots of issues here.

 

As a result of this incident, but son has essentially on "probation" and is not allowed to advance in rank for 1 year.  He is ready for his Star Rank Board of Review, with the exception that his service hours completed (delivering items to homeless and needy people through our Church) are not being "counted" by the Scoutmaster.  Our Scoutmaster only approves very limited things for service hours, usually only Eagle Projects.

 

I've heard from some that it is specifically against BSA policy to prevent my son from advancing for something like this.  Can anyone point me to this policy?  I'm building a case against the Troop Committee, who I believe has acted wrongly, and I need some help on the policy.

 

Thank you!

IMHO, unless it was a safety issue, a Scouter shouldn't be picking up a Scout without permission.  I view what your son did as self defense.  That said, I do think, that unless he told the SM about not feeling well, some kind of punishment is in order, but not a year of rank advancement.  

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tharrell12976,

 

    Sounds like this has been the culture of this troop for a while. SM is a dictator and bully, and the troop committee is okay with that. They don't want confrontation, so they do nothing.

 

   All of the previously suggested procedures are fine, but your two scouts should not have to wait forever for the resolution. Find that other troop. Get involved improving that program. Your two scouts can help jump start this slower program. Other scouts and their families may follow you, but this change is for your two sons. Any SM worth his salt would welcome the help and support. The new SM can help get all advancement from the old troop. I've done that many times. The old troop can't hold back advancement.

 

    Change troops now. Don't look back. Life's too short. Your sons are watching. Make it happen. Again, you probably won't be alone.

 

sst3rd

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I think the best course of action is to stay within the chain of command.  Now with the time element involved, I wold give each step 30 minutes to affect some sort of effective change.  The COR and IH start out because they own the charter.  It is their unit.  If they are happy with the way things are, then move on and keep going until someone does something about it.

 

When it comes ts bullying, I teach my boys the same process.  Keep going until someone helps.If it goes all the way to the police and they don't listen (not really abuse then I like John's idea as well.  You aren't going to solve this on your own.  Keep going until you get help.

This a sound approach, and in general, I agree. I guess my experience has me bias because the volunteers tend to hesitate, or not act at all. The hesitation gave one adult the time to loose his temper a few months later and at aggressively to another scout. Professionals are required to act immediately.

 

Getting council involved doesn't guarantee action, as I said our council encourage the unit to take care of the situation. Taking care of the situation can mean just discussing it. Council might not feel obligated to check back later. This is my experience, not my presumption.

 

Barry

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This a sound approach, and in general, I agree. I guess my experience has me bias because the volunteers tend to hesitate, or not act at all. The hesitation gave one adult the time to loose his temper a few months later and at aggressively to another scout. Professionals are required to act immediately.

 

Getting council involved doesn't guarantee action, as I said our council encourage the unit to take care of the situation. Taking care of the situation can mean just discussing it. Council might not feel obligated to check back later. This is my experience, not my presumption.

 

Barry

That's why 30 minutes at each level should be enough time to know whether or not they are going to do something about it.

 

COR: "I'll visit with the committee about it."

Me: "They already know about it."

COR: "I check with the IH and see what he has to say."

Me. "If you don't have a cell phone, you can use mine."

COR: "I'll take care of it tonight."

Me: "Thank you for your time, I'll talk to him myself."

 

Then move on to the next person on the list and start again.  There's not that many names, it shouldn't take long.  I'm thinking communication will move along a lot quicker if it gets to the police and/or Child Welfare level.

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That's why 30 minutes at each level should be enough time to know whether or not they are going to do something about it.

 

COR: "I'll visit with the committee about it."

Me: "They already know about it."

COR: "I check with the IH and see what he has to say."

Me. "If you don't have a cell phone, you can use mine."

COR: "I'll take care of it tonight."

Me: "Thank you for your time, I'll talk to him myself."

 

Then move on to the next person on the list and start again.  There's not that many names, it shouldn't take long.  I'm thinking communication will move along a lot quicker if it gets to the police and/or Child Welfare level.

Nice theory, wished it that way.

 

Barry

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Thank you everyone for listening and for the recommendations and information provided.

 

Yes, unfortunately, this is a very difficult situation.

 

First of all... Yes, we are finding a different Troop.  There is another one in town, and we have already reached out to the Scoutmaster there.

 

Based on the number of people commenting and discussing, I feel like I should explain a little more about the whole story.

 

Due to some things going on in the Troop that my son (12 years old) did not view as fair, after completing the clean up of their campsite (weekly Summer Camp) while other members of the Troop were off having fun (not cleaning up), my son decided he was tired and didn't feel well, so he laid down on a picnic table.  The Scoutmaster wanted him to go somewhere else (where other people were), but my son didn't want to go.  After several attempts at getting my son to go, and my son not going and just laying there saying he was tired, the Scoutmaster picked him up and threw him over his shoulder, because he wasn't listening.  (The Scoutmaster confirmed this in an email, that he picked him up because he wasn't listening and was just laying on the table.)  My son was already upset at this Scoutmaster, because there have been things going on in the Troop for a long time... nothing big enough to raise a huge issue about individually, but collectively, there are a lot of unfair practices going on.  Regardless, when the Scoutmaster picked him up, my son started physically hitting the Scoutmaster and swearing at him.  I do not condone this behavior.  It was wrong, and my son knows that.  After picking him up and getting hit, the Scoutmaster put him down, only to pick him up again and again and again, getting hit and swore at each time.  As I said, my son is 12 years old, and he is very small, about 80 pounds.  There is no reason the Scoutmaster had to get physical with him.  This fighting back and forth between the Scoutmaster and my son went on for about 35 to 45 minutes.  Finally, they reached the area of the Camp Headquarters, where my older son (15 years old) was.  One of the other adults alerted my older son to come help.  My older son ran over to help, and saw the Scoutmaster grabbing my 12 year old by the neck and pushing him to the ground.  The Scoutmaster's explanation was that my younger son wasn't listening and doing what he was told.

 

The further back story is that, just a couple months prior, we found out that my son (12 year old) has been bullied in school all year long - pushed into lockers, etc.  We knew nothing about the bullying until it culminated in my son ending up in the Emergency Room after being choked out by this other kid.  This other kid is also in the same Scout Troop.  We are obviously dealing with the school on the bullying issue.  As far as Scouts goes, we did ask the Scoutmaster for my son and this other boy to not be tent-mates, etc.  No other restrictions were requested, outside of just using common sense - maybe those two shouldn't be off alone together.  However, the Scoutmaster misconstrued (intentionally in my opinion) this, and told this other kid and his father (who was at the summer camp) that they could be nowhere near my son.  This other father was the second adult in this whole situation, so he did nothing, because the Scoutmaster told him he couldn't.  This other guy is a good, decent guy, but I believe (my opinion again) that the Scoutmaster told him he couldn't do anything.

 

So those are the key parts of the back story.

 

As some in this post pointed out, this is only one side of the story.  I truly do appreciate that - I am usually the one pointing that out, that there are two sides to every story.  I recognize that some things are my opinion, but the things I wrote above are what were reported by those involved.  I also know that every parent wants to believe their own kids.  I recognize this as well.  However, my 15 year old son is widely respected by all adults in the Troop as a very mature boy, and I do believe what he says he saw.  He was mad at his little brother at first, until he realized what was really going on.  He also has many examples of similar things happening in the Troop with others, just may be not as bad.

 

We got the Council involved immediately.  The Council deferred to the local Troop Committee, and was there to support.  The Council Executive attended the final meeting of the Troop Committee, where they "doled out the punishments."  My son got a long list of punishments, including not being able to advance for one year.  Further complicating this, my son has been ready for his Star rank for several months, but since the Scoutmaster refused to count his service hours (delivering items to homeless and needy people through our local Catholic Church), he was "not ready" for Star.  Our Scoutmaster only counts two things for service hours:  Eagle Projects and hanging flags on Memorial and Labor Day.  My humble opinion is that Eagle Scouts needs to figure out their manpower themselves... That is part of the project.

 

For background, I am an Eagle Scout and Vigil OA member myself.

 

As I mentioned earlier, I have heard from many people that it is against BSA policy to withhold advancement like that.  I also believe it is not normal policy to have such a restrictive stance on service hours.

 

Even though we are most likely changing Troops, I am not willing to let this go.  I have heard too many things from other parents and Scouts - There is too much of this nonsense going on, and I hate to see others get hurt by it.  Scouting is very important to me and my boys, and I don't want to see others miss out on that experience.

 

I have gone to the local Sheriff's office to discuss filing assault charges.  The bottom line is that I could do that, but without any real physical evidence (only statements from those involved), it is unlikely to go anywhere.  No surprise there.

 

I am familiar with the normal aspects of Scouting, but I haven't been a Scoutmaster or Troop leader, so I haven't dealt with these policies, etc.  I appreciate the help those above have provided on linking me to the BSA policies, etc., so I can do some research.

 

I also am a firm believer in responsibility and accountability.  My son is being held accountable for his actions as well.  I do not condone his behavior. He acted wrongly in hitting the Scoutmaster, and swearing at him, etc.  That is not okay by any means.  But the more I dig into it, I realize that my son was defending himself.  Nothing happened (no hitting, no swearing) until the Scoutmaster physically picked him up... again, and again, and again.... and got in his face yelling again, and again, and again.  Again, it doesn't make it all okay, but it helps explain it.

 

Again, I am holding my son accountable for his actions.  However, the Scoutmaster has had NO accountability.  The Scoutmaster even had the audacity to blame the event on the fact that he had no other option because my son was bullied in school.  This is specifically what the Scoutmaster stated in an email - An email that was a response to my son apologizing for his actions.  Who is the adult here???  At the final Troop Committee meeting on the issue, the Troop Committee (with the Council Executive in attendance) essentially thanked him for all he has done for the Troop and that was it.  It was also particularly painful to watch the Scoutmaster be all "buddy-buddy" with the Council Executive, shaking hands and joking around, just prior to the final meeting where they discussed the punishment.

 

So, as I said, we are most likely changing troops.  My oldest son refuses to be in the troop with this Scoutmaster (I don't blame him).  I want my boys to learn from and enjoy scouting, so it is best for them to move on.  However, I intend to continue to fight against what happened - There are too many other boys in that Troop that are going through similar issues... just maybe not as blatant.

 

Thanks again if you're still reading this.... long, complicated story.  I know what happened was wrong... I am just working on the "evident" to fight back.

 

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...

Regardless, when the Scoutmaster picked him up, my son started physically hitting the Scoutmaster and swearing at him.  I do not condone this behavior.  It was wrong, and my son knows that.  ....

True, cussing is a waste of breath. He should have taken a deep breathed, counted to three, reached around, and poked the bear in the eye.

But the boy was tired, untrained, and not thinking too clearly. I'm sure he'll do better next time.

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Thank you for the more elaborate background to the situation.

 

Personally, I am bothered that the SE would agree with a non-advancement punishment, that person should know better.  A more common punishment for the scout (which may or may not have a similar effect) would be an TBD month suspension from Troop activities.

 

Based on your SM's policies of what is allowable service hours (again, this is against the rules of the Guide to Advancement), this further reinforces my opinion that the SM is a petty dictator looking to have control regardless of rules.

 

Even if not removed from authority, I still would have expected at least some rebuke of how the SM handled the situation.  Anything less will just reinforce to the SM that their actions were appropriate and justified.

 

Unfortunately, for better or worse, if the CSE was involved, then you technically had your review of the situation, and the resolution did not go your way.  Within scouting, there is not much more that can be done - unless an outside report from law enforcement or child welfare (or a lawsuit or the press - which I do NOT recommend) forces them to address the issue more formally.

 

Keep in mind that CSEs have very little restrictions on their power and authority.  They too can be petty, and it is within their power to deny Scouting membership (in ANY troop) to you and both your sons if you raise too much grief for them - especially for a buddy.  I have seen this done to other Scouters before.  A Scout is BRAVE and should do the right thing, but although not a scout law, a Scout should also not be stupid and charge off without understanding potential consequences of their fight.  Your children and their well being come first, but don't join the Don Quixote patrol unnecessarily.

 

A new troop is probably your best option, but if your council or district manages the Eagle boards of review, then look carefully at the makeup of that board for potential conflicts of interests (other "buddies" of the SM or CSE) as your boys advance to that point.

 

Voting with your feet (and whoever goes with you) will probably be the most effective way to express your position that this is a poorly operated troop.  If there were enough other parents, you could try to load the troop committee, but in reality the SM serves at the privilege of the the Chartered Organization, not the Troop Committee.  If the Chartered Org. doesn't see a problem, nothing will change.

 

 

As to the report with the Sheriff ... Even knowing that nothing will be done about it, since you have already talked with them, it may be best to at least have the report filed.  It will create an official document, which may not help you, but may help the next family when a similar instance occurs in the future (and by all sounds of it, that will eventually happen).

 

We all understand tired scouts, and scouts who are bitter or angry about perceived unfairness. It is easy to armchair quarterback, but I expect that a more appropriate response would have been for the SM to tell the Scout that they can either go to where he was asked to go, or he can explain to his parents why they had to come and pick him up from the event; the SM could also have warned that an additional consequence would be a period of time suspension from troop activities to your son, to better consider his choices.  Everything else (both the incident and the post incident response) does not sound like the spirit of the scout oath and laws or the conduct guidance of the BSA were followed.

 

Best wishes, best of luck.

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