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Need some opinions on how to handle this one. We had Troop elections last night. The problem involves the race for SPL. It was between two boys, my son and the current SPL. Let me start off my saying I was quite surprised when my son threw his hat in the ring and he made a very convencing presentation on why he thought he would be a good SPL ("I'm a second class (all we have are tenderfoots and scouts)and am trustworthy, and will respect others and if there are any arguments I will listen to both sides and help you come to an agreement.") Pretty good for a 12 year old thus far and I didn't coach him on that he developed his own speech.


It was a close race 4 to 3 infavor of the current SPL who is 12.5 and second class as well. My son took the loss like a man and heartly congratulated his opponent. I couldn't have been more proud of him when he did this on his own.


After the meeting the boys were playing the post meeting game of football when my son came back into the hall and informed me and another leader that "Johnny told me he wanted to vote for me for SPL but his PL Joe told him "if you vote for SM son I'll punch you in the face." Johnny is a new webelos cross over who has only been in the Troop since February and happens to be a good friend of my son. I asked Johnny on my way out if anyone forced him to change his vote and he said "No" but I'm not sure if he would actually say anything out of fear of being beat up.


On our recent camp out Joe was bully 3 other boys and it was brought to his attention that 1. it is not tolerated in Scouts 2. he will not be going before BOR for Second class as he is not showing scout sprit.


Now the question how would you folks handle the rigged elections? Also, I'm considering removing Joe from his PL office as he is clearly not setting a good example for his patrol or the Troop.



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You have several separate issues, parallel but related.


First, if "Joe" is displaying a negative pattern of behavior, that needs to be dealt with with the committee and the parent(s).


On the election, that one's history. Try to create a more democratic environment for the next one, without any "company goons beating up union organizers".


On "Joe's" POR, if his actions are having a negative effect or sending the wrong message to the rest of the Troop, you need to do something. It may be removal, it may be something else...you're in the best position to determine that.


There's no place for that kind of intimidation in a Scout unit. This should be one place where they're not carrying that kind of burden around with them.



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Thanks KS. I agree there's nothing we can do about this election but you can sure bet there will be an election booth at the next one. Joe's dad is one of our ASM's and he and I discussed his behavior after our last campout. He agreed with holding him from BOR for second class due to his lack of scout spirit. He had already left after last nights meeting so I'll have to talk with him later regarding this episode. I'm considering a SM conference with Joe to inform him that his behavior is going to be watched closer.

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This is one of those cases where you know what happened, but would have a heck of a time ever proving it to anyone.


You should watch this PL very closely. I would recommend a SM conference with the boy. Don't mention the specific situation that prompted it. Just discuss the issues of proper behavior for Scouts, and the expectations you have for those participating in troop functions. Try to get him to do some self analysis if you can.


Also, a discussion with the committee may be in order. I would at least bounce the idea off the CC to see what he thinks.


If you don't think that this is enough correct his behavior and prevent future problems, you may want to remove him from his position. If you think that is necessary, then I would certainly want the committee to discuss the issue as well. I would say the bullying is certainly grounds for removing him from his position.


Further, you should consider having him go before a BOR to discuss these issues and to formulate a plan to get back on track so that next time he will be able to go for his second class.


The thing is, we can only make suggestions. You are the one on the ground who best knows the situation. You must determine how to balance the needs for corrective action with the need to avoid overreacting and driving him out. Hopefully, you can make a carefully measured response, get this boy back on track, and have him continue on with a successful time in Scouting.


Oh, don't forget about that SPL. You can't prove that he had anything to do with fixing the election, but odds are he at least knew about it. Keep your eyes open for any future incidents.

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A couple of things not clear about your post.


You said that the vote was 4-3. Is that your entire Troop or is that just the PLC? You also said that you had a vote for SPL and talked about PL Joe. Does that mean that in a 7 boy Troop, you have an SPL and two or more patrols? In a 7 boy Troop, normally there really is only one "patrol" and there isn't much difference between the jobs of SPL and PL.


Rigged elections do happen and the "best" boy doesn't always win. It sounds as if your son took it well. If he is now Second Class, there will be many, many, many opportunities for him to be SPL of a good Troop and the most important thing is not what badges one wears but the growth in Citizenship, Character and Fitness.


I would suggest that a very important thing now is for him (and other boys) to complete First Class as quickly as possible and then to continue to advance if they choose. As a First Class Scout, he has so many more options and in most Troops, the SPL candidate must be at least First Class.


You do need to address the bullying although, as you know, it is part of life for boys. I would suggest that you be very careful that your addressing the bullying is not perceived as protecting (or even favoring) your son.

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Just thought I'd clarify an item or two. We are a small new troop started last March. We only have young boys 11-12 year olds. We started with 12 boys so after about 3 months had them elect to start patrols and chose patrol members (drew names from a hat their choice of method). As stated in my post we've had two move and two drop out for various reasons. Two had joined during the year and have decided that baseball is more of what they are into. We actually have a total of 9 but two were absent from the meeting.

I really don't care that my son wasn't elected SPL as I told him he will have plenty of opportunities and besides the POR's at this point are so they can gain experience in leadership and will not count for rank advance for S,L,E as you have to been in a POR for 6 mo as a FC,S,L.


At our SM meeting we have been discusing creating a new patrol if we do not pick up any new boys in next weeks roundup and only having one patrol for the 9 scouts we have. As far as Joe goes he wants his buddy to be SPL as he is pressing him to make him ASPL which we have told him will not occur for some time as we are not a large enough troop to need an ASPL.


I'm going to have a SM conference with Joe and the reelected SPL and the other newly elected PL of the Cobra's on their expectations. I handed them their POR handbooks after the meeting and asked them to read them (knowing full well I can't force them to). Then each will know what is expected and Joe will be receivng a little extra attention. Also, I can't see sending Joe to BOR as I take the responsibility assuring to the BOR that he has met all requirements for rank and clearly SS in a requirement that this lad is lacking in.

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You can send a boy in for a BOR even when he is not up for a rank advancment. Any time we feel that a scout may be off track we will ask him to come in and meet with us (the committee) to see how the troop can beter serve his needs.

He may be more comfortable talking to the committee than to you in this case. Set up the meeting but be sure he understands that he is not up for advancement at this time.



John B

CC T115 Naugatuck, CT

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I have to say here, DOH! Joe does not need to be removed from his position, but a stong PLC program needs to be implemented ASAP! There is your solution.



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I'd say the election is a done deal. From you message, all you know is about one boy, how do you really know it was a "rigged" election?


However, there are a couple issues that you should deal with, I"m assuming your'e the SM?


What kind of policy to you have set in place for the boys actions and disipline? For us we have a process we go through, each "offense" gets a stronger treatment.


First time: SPL and SM will have conference with boy about misbehavior or action and will expect change. (A pre-step to this is that the PL and SPL will try to talk with the boys first if it's something they can handle. The first Official step is to get the SM involved)


Second time: SM (with second leader) will have conference with boy and parent


Third Time: Discussion about degree of disipline to fit "crime" with Parents and boy, SM and CC. It might mean temp. removal from meeting, or longer term of removal, or even explusion from troop.


In your case, bullying in unlike scout behavior and shouldn't be tolerated in troop. The rules of our troop are nothing more than our Scout Law(s). Bullying violates a few of them.


Also, you may need further training for your PLC in how to be a proper leader. And your troop might need a general reminder about the points of the scout law and how to respect each other.


I"m willing to bet that if the "bully" boy sees that "being cool" isn't so cool in the troop, he'll change too. ;)

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  • 3 weeks later...

It's been awhile so I thought I'd update everyone on the "rigged" election and our bullying Eagle PL. I had a nice SM conference with the Joe on his bullying behavior after I elightened and provided highlighted the appropriate section of G2SS for each boy.


I informed Joe during the SM conference tht I was a little concerned about his recent unscout like behaviors. I even provided examples of which scout laws and part of the oath he was defecient in. We discussed how living the scout oath and law were part of advancement and that since he was up for advancement to Second class we're new and have no first class or higher scouts)his unscout like behavior did not meet the requirement of demostrating scout spirit. He hem hauld around trying to deny he was having any problem until I brought us a specific incident that occured during out most recent car wash in which he purposefull broke a plastic 5 gal bucket that belonged to our CO. I saw him do this maliciously and called it to his attention at the time in which he said "I didn't do it". Which he recanted once I informed him I was looking right at you when you stomped on it. He agreed that he was after all not doing what he should and wanted to know what he needed to do to improve. I told him remember the law and oath and live them.


Update is it's been three weeks and there have been no more incidents from Joe. In fact, he showed great leadership on a recent recruitin hike with 5 new boys. He actually showed them the correct paths and things to avoid etc. I had another SM conference this past Monday night and Informed him that in the past 3 weeks he has shown inprovement in his scout spirit and that he was clearly ready for his Second class BOR which is scheduled our next one is set for in two weeks. So it worked boy changed his behavor and we have a new leader that is able to teach something he has learned to others.


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