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Millie

Parent Issue - Cub Scouts

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Good Morning,I'

I'm a new member here, coming for advice on the recommendation of another Scouter.   

I've been in Scouting for a few years, but this year is my first year as Pack Committee Chair.  

In our Pack, we are blessed with many great families.  We do, however, have one Parent that has been in our Pack for three years and during that time, she has increasingly become argumentative, divisive,  and generally causes upheaval on a regular basis.

We hold regular Parent meetings to discuss plans, receive feedback and basically have an open forum so that everyone has an opportunity to ask questions.  These meetings are well received and have contributed to an overall smoothly operating Pack.  Except for Problem Mom.  

She seems to be very dissatisfied with our Pack.  She doesn't agree with the Bylaws, Code of Conduct, the operating budget/fundraising, our meeting location/date/time or the Chartered Org.  Yet she comes back, year after year, driving to our Pack from a neighboring city where there exists two Packs much closer to her home.  If she offers a suggestion during our Parent meetings and the suggestion is not met with overwhelming approval (from Parents and Committee), she becomes very defensive and angry.

I would offer that we have approximately 50 families in our Pack and she is the only Parent that finds fault in our program.

In the past week, she seems to have taken a step closer to falling off the proverbial cliff.  She is has been contacting Leaders and Parents in our Pack and other Packs, spreading all sorts of nonsense and lies.   In many of these emails, texts, etc, she has represented herself as the Treasurer in our Pack, giving the impression that she is conducting business on our behalf.  She has stated that our Pack is offering to disburse "left over" funds in our "individual scout accounts" to Parents who have either crossed over to a Troop or transferred to another Pack.  We absolutely do not have individual Scout accounts.   It is causing a lot of frustration and confusion.  

We held our Committee meeting yesterday after Church and the Committee presented a suggestion to remove her (and unfortunately her Scout) from our Pack.  The vote was unanimous.  The COR and EO are also in agreement as she has not spared them in her email tirades.  The COR recently advised Mom that if she was not happy with our Unit, she should visit one of the other Units in the area to see if they were a better fit for her.  She is not interested in transferring.  It has really just worn thin with the Committee and many other parents as well.  We are all ready to move on past this and removing her seems to be the final option.

This is a situation unique to me.  Who is responsible for notifying the Mom?  Would it be via a certified letter? A phone call?  She's going to go all manner of "nuts" on us.  Any advise on how to word this or what to say?

Thank you in advance.

Millie

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1 hour ago, Millie said:

This is a situation unique to me.  Who is responsible for notifying the Mom?  Would it be via a certified letter? A phone call?  She's going to go all manner of "nuts" on us.  Any advise on how to word this or what to say?

Thank you in advance.

Millie

 

Sadly, you get this every once in awhile, a serial complainer, never happy, never satisfied. And yet they carry on turning up like a bad penny. Very wearing.

Whoever does tell this mum needs to stick to the facts and leave all emotion out of it. I would put it in writing. I would have thought it would be the chair of the committee that would do it, seeing as it was that committee that pulled the trigger, but I'm talking from across the pond so it might be more complicated than that.

Before you do it I would also talk about how you're going to manage the fallout. I would expect more emails from mom to *everyone*, and you need to have a party line to respond *once* with, then say "we don't comment in public on individual cases". Again, I'm in the UK, so I may have not understood some aspect of this.

Good luck!

Ian

 

 

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Ian,

Thank you for your comments.  You have some valid points and I will discuss with my Committee.

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If this were me, and I was Committee Chair (which is the person who should be doing the notifying), I would first contact the District Executive, or whoever is the professional at your council who is assigned to your district, for some guidance.  You are going to want their support when Problem Mom contacts them, which she most likely will, so it makes sense to try to get them in your corner now.

One concern I have is that I have never heard of removing a Scout because of the conduct of his parents.  And, assuming that Problem Mom is not a registered leader, I'm not sure how you "remove" a parent except by removing her son.  This is one of the things I think you should get guidance about from council.

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As a former school Athletic Director, I have had a few incidents which resulted in a parent being banned from school grounds. Since the kids were not directly involved in the incidents, they were allowed to continue their participation in the activities.

I have never banned a parent for being a general pain in the neck. It has always been for a specific and identifiable act. It seems to me if you have an "open forum" at your meetings, then you must accept the fact that somebody might express unpopular opinions. 

If the parent is actually posing as a registered leader, the best response is to calmly state that the parent is not a registered scout leader and has no authority to speak for the unit or the Chartered Organization.

Edited by David CO
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If you have actual written proof (like emails from her) that Mom is saying she is the pack treasurer when she is not, especially if she is not even a registered leader, I would be sure to mention that if you speak to someone from council.  Some of the other stuff they may or may not see as a huge problem, but I think they would definitely have a big issue with someone falsely holding themself out as a leader, and treasurer may be the most concerning of all.

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48 minutes ago, David CO said:

As a former school Athletic Director, I have had a few incidents which resulted in a parent being banned from school grounds. Since the kids were not directly involved in the incidents, they were allowed to continue their participation in the activities.

I have never banned a parent for being a general pain in the neck. It has always been for a specific and identifiable act. It seems to me if you have an "open forum" at your meetings, then you must accept the fact that somebody might express unpopular opinions. 

I have heard of that happening in public schools as well - actually only once, and it was only one of the parents, the other was banned from school grounds but the father was not. I suspect that in a public school district the administration would have difficulty banning BOTH parents, or a single parent who is the only parent in the picture.  Non-public schools probably have a little more leeway.

The BSA may be another story though, because there is a specific policy that parents may observe all activities in which their child is involved.  That policy was adopted to ease parents' concerns about the tradition of "secrecy" in the OA, but it applies to all Scouting activities.  It probably does not apply to committee meetings though, since the person's child is not there.  I know some committees are open to non-committee members and some are not.  I suspect the BSA would probably prefer that units be consistent - either all parents may attend committee meetings, or none may.  But maybe there are exceptions to this. This is another good reason to check with council before taking action.

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Regarding the scout in question, are you saying that you actively plan to remove the scout from the Pack?

Or are you presuming that when the mother is removed/banned that she will pull her son out of the Pack? 

The mother claiming that she is the Pack Treasurer is certainly a problem, if that's in fact the case. Did she ever previously occupy that role and if so, did you inform her that she was being removed from that position and/or that someone else would be taking over that role?

Beyond the Treasurer's issue, can you provide some specifics or details on the concerns that this mother has? You mentioned the Pack's bylaws, code of conduct, meeting locations and times etc. but can you be a little more specific?

Is her son being bullied? Are leaders trying to add rank requirements? Do the Pack's bylaws align to BSA standards and guidelines? 

Hypothetically speaking, if this other mother in question were to come to this message board, what would her account of this situation be?

Finally, has any member of the committee or the charter organization spoken with this mother, sincerely, and made this mother aware of the concerns of the committee and how her conduct or concerns are affecting the Pack Committee? 

I think it's only fair and reasonable that this mother be given the opportunity to amend her conduct before she and her son are shown the door.

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3 hours ago, NJCubScouter said:

If this were me, and I was Committee Chair (which is the person who should be doing the notifying), I would first contact the District Executive, or whoever is the professional at your council who is assigned to your district, for some guidance.  You are going to want their support when Problem Mom contacts them, which she most likely will, so it makes sense to try to get them in your corner now.

One concern I have is that I have never heard of removing a Scout because of the conduct of his parents.  And, assuming that Problem Mom is not a registered leader, I'm not sure how you "remove" a parent except by removing her son.  This is one of the things I think you should get guidance about from council.

Hi,

Have contacted my DE, and the Regional Director for advise.   I have provided them with all of the documentation (emails, texts, etc).  

At first blush, they are in agreement Problem Mom needs to move on.  Waiting for further response.

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2 hours ago, David CO said:

As a former school Athletic Director, I have had a few incidents which resulted in a parent being banned from school grounds. Since the kids were not directly involved in the incidents, they were allowed to continue their participation in the activities.

I have never banned a parent for being a general pain in the neck. It has always been for a specific and identifiable act. It seems to me if you have an "open forum" at your meetings, then you must accept the fact that somebody might express unpopular opinions. 

If the parent is actually posing as a registered leader, the best response is to calmly state that the parent is not a registered scout leader and has no authority to speak for the unit or the Chartered Organization.

She is not, nor has she ever been a registered leader.  

Unfortunately, she has stepped way beyond being a general pain in the neck.  No one in our Pack has a problem with her (or any other person's) opinion whether favorable or not.  She is welcome to voice her opinion.  And everyone's voice is heard and considered.  Her general stance is we should do everything her way or no way.  After three years, this has just worn thin.  She has gone far beyond a whiny or grumpy parent.

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1 hour ago, NJCubScouter said:

If you have actual written proof (like emails from her) that Mom is saying she is the pack treasurer when she is not, especially if she is not even a registered leader, I would be sure to mention that if you speak to someone from council.  Some of the other stuff they may or may not see as a huge problem, but I think they would definitely have a big issue with someone falsely holding themself out as a leader, and treasurer may be the most concerning of all.

We do have those emails and texts.  They have been turned in to Council.  And yes, they were concerned about her misrepresentation.  They are discussing and I am waiting on a call back with their advice / recommendation.

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2 minutes ago, Millie said:

We do have those emails and texts.  They have been turned in to Council.  And yes, they were concerned about her misrepresentation.  They are discussing and I am waiting on a call back with their advice / recommendation.

IMO, Council may advise but it the Character Organization's decision.

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1 hour ago, SSF said:

Regarding the scout in question, are you saying that you actively plan to remove the scout from the Pack?

Or are you presuming that when the mother is removed/banned that she will pull her son out of the Pack? 

The mother claiming that she is the Pack Treasurer is certainly a problem, if that's in fact the case. Did she ever previously occupy that role and if so, did you inform her that she was being removed from that position and/or that someone else would be taking over that role?

Beyond the Treasurer's issue, can you provide some specifics or details on the concerns that this mother has? You mentioned the Pack's bylaws, code of conduct, meeting locations and times etc. but can you be a little more specific?

Is her son being bullied? Are leaders trying to add rank requirements? Do the Pack's bylaws align to BSA standards and guidelines? 

Hypothetically speaking, if this other mother in question were to come to this message board, what would her account of this situation be?

Finally, has any member of the committee or the charter organization spoken with this mother, sincerely, and made this mother aware of the concerns of the committee and how her conduct or concerns are affecting the Pack Committee? 

I think it's only fair and reasonable that this mother be given the opportunity to amend her conduct before she and her son are shown the door.

When the mother is removed/banned, she will likely have no alternative but to remove her son.  She has no spouse or other family in the area that can bring him to the meetings.

She has never held any sort of registered leader position.   We have in the past invited her to be on the Committee so that she would have more than a voice, she'd actually have a vote, however, by her own admission, she could not pass a background check and will not register.

She just picks apart the Bylaws and Code of Conduct.  Both of which were reviewed and approved by our Council.  They are not anything beyond regular BSA rules, regulations and guidelines for a Pack.    Her gripe with our location is that she wants us to meet at her Church (over 20 miles away from our current location and the core of our Pack population).  Our meeting night interferes with her son's karate lessons.

Her son is not being bullied at all.  He is quiet, reserved, but seems to be well liked.  No twisting of rank requirements.

Hypothetically speaking, if she were to come to this board, it would depend on her mood for the day as to what her account of the situation would be.  It could be anything from our Pack is exemplary, to we are spawns of Satan.  She has been offered the opportunity to transfer to another Pack which may be better suited for her, but she refuses.

Our Executive Officer, the COR, Committee Chair (myself), Den Leader, current Treasurer, past Treasurer, Cubmaster, Assistant CM and many others have spoken to her.  We have listened, tried to help, expressed concerns, etc.  Some days she is gracious and apologizes for her behavior - but then the next meeting, she'll be back to stirring the proverbial pot.

When I tell you that she has been given ample opportunity to correct her behavior, that is no exaggeration.  This has literally been a ping pong match for three years.

 

Edited by Millie

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