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Boy Scout with Downs Sydrome, Autism Rejected for Eagle Scout

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The Blythe family has withdrawn their lawsuit against BSA.

During the meeting, the group “offered us resources that are available to help Logan earn the Eagle Scout award in a way that is possible for him,” according to a news release from the law firm.

“Since Logan now has a path to the Eagle Scout rank, there is no reason to pursue legal action,” the release states.

https://www.sltrib.com/news/2018/04/04/utah-family-of-boy-with-down-syndrome-drops-discrimination-lawsuit-against-boy-scouts/

I have been puzzled that reports stated a merit badge issue impacted Council approving an Eagle Scout project or that his already awarded merit badges would be rescinded both plain wrong.  At first I thought the reports were wrong, his parents misunderstood, or Council miscommunicated but this seems to have been a bigger snafu. :confused:

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Still very disappointing that the parents had to take it to a point of a lawsuit to get clarity. Seems like the more mature thing would have been to have this conversation, privately, with National since it all appears to be a lot of miscommunication.

We all know that the "withdrawal" story is going to get a lot less headlines and eyeballs as the "BSA sued" story.

A bell that cant be unrung.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, RememberSchiff said:

... I have been puzzled that reports stated a merit badge issue impacted Council approving an Eagle Scout project or that his already awarded merit badges would be rescinded both plain wrong.  At first I thought the reports were wrong, his parents misunderstood, or Council miscommunicated but this seems to have been a bigger snafu. :confused:

My take: this is no snafu. The system worked surprisingly according to plan -- for the attorneys . By their own words the family's lawyers intentionally exaggerated the impact of rejection of the boy's project by using the phrase "effectively nullified" regarding already earned awards. The fact was: the project proposal was rejected. That's all. The attorneys knew darn well that they had no standing. So, their best strategy - in the interest of the firm - would be to make it sound like BSA rescinded awards. Then once the normal procedures transpired, it would make them look like they got them back for the boy. Media circus success.

I hope the parents refuse to pay that firm one thin dime.

Edited by qwazse
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This was all but inevitable. The BSA's policies regarding Scouts with disabilities have been clear for decades now; these lawyers obviously knew nothing about how the BSA actually works, and once they were given a solid understanding of it there was no way they would try to pursue such a flimsy case. But as has been mentioned, the cost of this whole debacle has been yet another opportunity to tarnish the reputation of the program.

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3 hours ago, qwazse said:

My take: this is no snafu. The system worked surprisingly according to plan -- for the attorneys . By their own words the family's lawyers intentionally exaggerated the impact of rejection of the boy's project by using the phrase "effectively nullified" regarding already earned awards. The fact was: the project proposal was rejected. That's all. The attorneys knew darn well that they had no standing. So, their best strategy - in the interest of the firm - would be to make it sound like BSA rescinded awards. Then once the normal procedures transpired, it would make them look like they got them back for the boy. Media circus success.

I hope the parents refuse to pay that firm one thin dime.

I'm going to go the other way - the Boy Scouts caved.  They heard lawsuit and realized the attorney for the family was smarter than theirs.  I don't think the family's attorney exaggerated anything by saying the BSA effectively nullified the already earned awards.  It certainly does seem, based on what the father says he was told, that the BSA, while not taking away the merit badges, essentially said they didn't count since the BSA claims they weren't earned following the requirements (which puzzles me - aren't Councils allowed to modify merit badge requirements under these kinds of circumstances and if so, and noting that this family had been working with the Council all along, why would National then second guess the Council?).  If the merit badges didn't count, then the attorney is correct, by not allowing the merit badges to be counted towards rank advancement, then they were effectively nullified.

I suspect we will never get the whole story.  I suspect that someone at National made a decision based on a complaint (I think someone is on the right track when they said they believed someone at the Council went over people's heads to National since no one would usually need to go to National to get approval for an Eagle Scout project beforehand and no one generally goes to National to confirm merit badges and ranks before completing a project) and it was either poorly communicated to the family by the Council or it was reported exactly as it was to the family and when the family hired a lawyer and announced a lawsuit, someone high up in the chain realized this had the potential to become a national story very quickly and it would look really bad for the BSA.  I have no facts to back it up but I have a feeling that at that meeting with the family, the BSA quickly signed off on the project that was proposed and the Scout will be an Eagle Scout by the end of the year.                                                                                                          

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Posted (edited)
57 minutes ago, CalicoPenn said:

I'm going to go the other way - the Boy Scouts caved.  They heard lawsuit and realized the attorney for the family was smarter than theirs.  I don't think the family's attorney exaggerated anything by saying the BSA effectively nullified the already earned awards.  It certainly does seem, based on what the father says he was told, that the BSA, while not taking away the merit badges, essentially said they didn't count since the BSA claims they weren't earned following the requirements (which puzzles me - aren't Councils allowed to modify merit badge requirements under these kinds of circumstances and if so, and noting that this family had been working with the Council all along, why would National then second guess the Council?).  If the merit badges didn't count, then the attorney is correct, by not allowing the merit badges to be counted towards rank advancement, then they were effectively nullified.

ABSOLUTELY NOT! The Council Executive Board can approve registration beyond 18.  Councils can approve alternate requirements for S-1C.  Councils may approve alternate merit badges used for completing the "Earn X Merit Badges" requirement for Star - Eagle. The Council may NOT alter the MB requirements themselves. When it says "Show or demonstrate," the Scout must show or demonstrate. When it says "explain," a non-verbal scout will need to come up with some kind of method of explaining. If he can not explain in some fashion, he can't earn that merit badge.

Edited by LVAllen

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Posted (edited)

I have finally found a few friends in Utah who know this situation personally, both on the side of the family and a few people working in the council (it helps being part of the tight-knit LDS community sometimes ;)), and it seems clear that his merit badges were never revoked, nor was his membership in any kind of jeopardy - these were all fabrications of his lawyers who didn't understand how the BSA works and wanted to generate press to evoke public sympathy. In reality, what happened was that his project was initially approved, but then rejected the next day so that his standing could be reviewed and his past accomplishments verified. It was never a permanent censure of the boy's progress or rank - it was intended to be a period when his status could be reviewed, understandable when you are told that a boy with the cognative ability of a 4 year-old has met the same requirements many 17 year-olds fail to achieve. But his merit badges were not revoked, now was his rank repealed. 

There was a LOT of miscomminication between the council and national, but even if no lawyers had ever been brought in, the situation would have eventually resolved itself. The parents over-reacted, and didn't understand the actions the BSA took - they thought their kid was being kicked out of the program, called their lawyers, accused the BSA of discriminatory practices, et cetera. They had a very difficult time understanding what was actually happening, and that their child would be able to continue moving forward - naturally, angry people take longer to have things explained to them, and much of it was information they were either unwilling or too impatient to hear. They wanted their son to get his Eagle immediately, and there was admittedly a sense of entitlement to it, as though wanting to earn Eagle should be enough to be rewarded with it. And their lawyers made things worse; they made their frustration feel justified and legally empowering, but without any grasp of what was actually going on with the boy's application in relation to BSA policy. They were woefully ignorant of how advancement in the BSA works, and came out with guns blazing to protest the whole program. The council did a very poor job explaining what was going on to the family, but bringing in legal counsel just made it worse.

In the end though, it was legitimately "one big misunderstanding," and now (after much explaining, counsel, and investigation), the family has finally been made to understand that the BSA does offer many alternative routes for boys with disabilities (not alternative MB requirements mind you, only alternative badges themselves, along with specialized rank requirement alternatives), and the child will be allowed to continue to progress at his own pace - which would have happened anyway, had the council taken the time to explain things clearly, and had the family been patient and sought for help rather than legal action. Now, sadly, the BSA has to deal with all the negative press which could have been avoided entirely in the first place.

Edited by The Latin Scot
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5 hours ago, The Latin Scot said:

In reality, what happened was that his project was initially approved, but then rejected the next day so that his standing could be reviewed and his past accomplishments verified. It was never a permanent censure of the boy's progress or rank - it was intended to be a period when his status could be reviewed, understandable when you are told that a boy with the cognative ability of a 4 year-old has met the same requirements many 17 year-olds fail to achieve. But his merit badges were not revoked, now was his rank repealed. 

 

Thanks for the additional info LS - unfortunately, it suggests that the BSA still stepped in it big time.  And what suggests that is the statement above.  If that's what happened, a really clever lawyer (and somehow I suspect the family's lawyer is pretty clever) could have a field day with a discrimination claim.  Just a couple of questions in discovery - How many other Scouts have had their standing reviewed and past accomplishments verified before their projects were approved have there been prior to this? - How many were not disabled" - would probably be enough for a BSA attorney to plotz.  

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Well, he wasn't all that clever - the legal team is back-tracking big time now since they have come to realize that, frankly, they don't have a case. They were pretty good at getting publicity, I'll give them that, but that only ended up working against them when they figured out they didn't have a legal leg to stand on. 

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4 hours ago, The Latin Scot said:

Well, he wasn't all that clever - the legal team is back-tracking big time now since they have come to realize that, frankly, they don't have a case. They were pretty good at getting publicity, I'll give them that, but that only ended up working against them when they figured out they didn't have a legal leg to stand on. 

BSA loses in the court of public opinion, no matter what the outcome is.  

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1 hour ago, perdidochas said:

BSA loses in the court of public opinion, no matter what the outcome is.  

I dunno, I was able to improve a friend's opinion after a he reposted the first story on his FB page. As much as someone would like to believe that BSA is a heartless beurarcracy, they are more willing to believe ambulance chasers will make a media stink if they see themselves losing in civil court.

Tell your friends "Utah Law Firm Preys on Downs Syndrome Scout and His Family"

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Wait ... what exactly are people funding in this campaign? Lawyers' fees? Project costs? I am highly suspicious of this family's capitalizing off of their 15 minutes of fame. I need to contact my sources again and find out what is going on here.

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They were on our local news last night (canned national story).  Lead into the story was “BSA admits they errored” but when you listen to the story it only said that BSA stated there was confusion.  It could easily been taken that Logan’s parents miss understood the message.  Who know but I’m not sure why this is still national news. This lawyer seems to be milking this for as much fame as he can get.  I think he is probably disappointed the BSA didn’t fight.   

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