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PLC hazing and bullying problem

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4 hours ago, Jameson76 said:

Not to split hairs or lessen the impact, was this a Scouting / Troop sponsored type event or was this just a gathering of youth, some (most??) of whom belong to the troop.

I don't think it matters in this case.  The group interacting were scouts and it's always a game whether something is a scout event or not.

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#1  Bad behavior is hard to change.  You can teach skills. You can help install habits.  You can challenge scouts with hard situations that make them grow.  But bad behavior is much more difficult.  You can make it be less visible when adults are around, but it will come out again when adults are not around.  From my experience, swearing, bullying and abuse stop when the scouts leave and a new culture is created.  

#2  Bad behavior is infectious.  It's like a threshold.  Once it's crossed, it's not an absolute no.  Then, others cross it too.  

#3  You are the leader and you can't always be around.  In fact, you don't want to always be around or require that another adult is always around.  So ... Do YOU TRUST them to leave your son with them?  If not, do you think that trust can be rebuilt ?   ... And this is not just as a parent.  You are the leader then the scout's behavior is a reflection on your scouting unit and you.  

IMHO, it needs to be absolutely clear what is acceptable and not acceptable in scouting.  If the scouts can't function in those boundaries, they need to move on.

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23 hours ago, Bside said:

New member, relatively new Scoutmaster with a few years as an Assistant. Recently, Some members of my PLC had a sleep over. One of the Scouts has developmental delays. He is ADHD, on the Austism scale and has learning disabilities. He is a non aggressive, non violent 13 year old. All of the boys there have known him for a few years through the troop. They all have seemed relatively accepting and patient with him (under adult supervision).

At this sleep over, the other boys began to bully him throughout the night. The adults in the house were sleeping in another part of a relatively large house. At some point, the SPL approached from behind, stood over the boy in his underwear as the boy sat on the floor watching a movie, and straddled the boys neck, pressing his crotch against the back of the boy's head and neck saying he was going to tea bag him. The boy pushed him off and demanded that he stop. The other boys, all part of the PLC laughed at the boy as the SPL persisted, again and again, 4 times until the boy began crying . The boys continued to mistreat this boy throughout the night until he finally called his parents, early in the morning to come and pick him up. 

When his parents arrived, he was crying, angry and very upset. He was ashamed and embarrassed and didn't understand why they treated him that way. As the Scoutmaster, I feel compelled to act. In the few years I have been active with the troop, I have observed instances of bullying and mistreatment among the Scouts. Since becoming Scoutmaster, I have addressed these incidents with the troop many times. I have explained to them that this kind of behavior is unacceptable, impressing upon them that they should be looking out for one another, rather than being unkind. I have explained that the Scout Oath and The Scout Law stays with us all and is not left in the scout room. That they are a code a set of values that we all must try to live by. Values that our society respects. 

I haven't had a chance yet to ask the PLC about this incident. I know from experience that this boy is telling the truth. Before I take action, I must get their side of the story, and discuss the incident with the parents. My plan of action is this; Counsel all of the boys involved. The SPL for his actions, and the rest of the PLC for their failure to put a stop to it. After that the SPL must Mea Cupla in front of the entire troop, explain what he did, why he did it and why it is wrong. He must then apologize to the Scout. I will then suspend the SPL from his position for 3 months. The rest of the PLC that was present will be placed on probation for the remainder of their tenure in their current positions. A further similar act of poor scout spirit will result in me suspending them for 3 months from any leadership positions. 

I invite thoughts and advice. 

From going back and reading your first post and the other posts that have been made on this subject here would be my advise and the reason for the advise.

As Scoutmaster you were aware of the bulling and mistreatment going own within the scouts in your troop.  You addressed  the issue with the scouts since becoming Scoutmaster.  The behavior did not change with this group of scouts.  Therefor actions have to take place within the unit.  On top of this being and issue of bulling it went entirely to another level of sexual assault just due to the fact that the SPL used the "tea bag him". Now I had to look up the meaning of tea bag since I did not know its meaning which I will not list here.  I also have a special needs daughter and can understand that as the parent of the child that these actions took place against that you do not want to be seen as taking sides on what is decided within the troop.  The youth involved should be glad that you do not want to have criminal charges brought against them.  But when it comes to them being members of the Boy Scouts of America that is another story.  Each one of these youth should have read and discussed youth protection with there parents so they and there parents are aware of were the BSA stands on this issue.  When it comes to the scouts this type of behavior cannot be tolerated.  I know that they are still children but this needs to be reported to your Scout Executive.  The reason why this needs to happen is that you as the SM having taken  take youth protection to be in your position  are required to report this issue to your local council.  Really what reporting this to council comes down to is that these are youth instead of adults.  If it were adults it would have been reported to council without question. 

I know at this time you have turned this issue over to one of your ASM and a member of your unit committee but they also need to be aware that they are also required under Youth Protection to report this issue to council.   

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14 minutes ago, ValleyBoy said:

I know at this time you have turned this issue over to one of your ASM and a member of your unit committee but they also need to be aware that they are also required under Youth Protection to report this issue to council.   

Some things you can't hand over.   You need to submit the paperwork.  It's slightly embarrassing to say you handed it over and then submit paperwork, but it's never too late to do the right thing.  Just say you read more on the rules and you needed to report.  

 

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Welcome to scouter.com! 

It sounds like you've got two issues here. The first is that, in Scouting, we use constructive discipline. Our aim is to mold young men, which is difficult if we kick them out at the first sign of trouble. On the other hand, the Scouts' safety comes first, and it sounds like the SPL was acting un-Scoutlike in a way that was endangering another Scout. There have to be direct, proportionate consequences for that action. Given the severity of the breach of the Scout Law, I think an immediate counseling with the SPL and his parents is warranted, probably followed by a removal of the Scout from active participation. It's up to his parents to correct his behavior, but until they and he can assure you that nothing remotely like this will ever be an issue again, he simply can't participate. Given the sexual nature of the behavior, as well as the possibility that your son was singled out because of his developmental delays,  I don't think you have any choice but to give the SE the heads up.

Some helpful tools: 

https://www.scouting.org/health-and-safety/incident-report/

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8 hours ago, WisconsinMomma said:

And, this needs to be documented in case these boys ever pull this crap with another kid. 

I couldn't agree more!  Especially since we are recruiting girls into Scouts.  Some on this Forum might not agree but girls will be going out camping with tents right next to boys.  If boys will do this to another boy, they will certainly try it with girls.  I am sad and disappointed to read this situation.

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On ‎10‎/‎23‎/‎2018 at 5:09 PM, Bside said:

Full disclosure, the victim here is my son. I am furious over this. However, being the Scoutmaster puts me in a precarious position. The father in me first wanted to react like my father would have. To encourage my son to go beat the crap out of this kid. My son has about 75 pounds and 5 inches in height on the SPL. He just doesn't have an aggressive or violent bone in his body. The boys know this and the SPL only bullied him because he knew or thought he could get away with it.

If I act too harshly, I will be accused of favoritism, or over protecting my son. If I let them off too lightly They will feel like what they did was O.K.. I feel like I must have a deliberate, measured response. Something that will resolve the situation but not turn my son into a pariah. Scouting is his only social outlet and he loves it. He has seen most of these boys as friends. He says he wants to just forget about it, but I have never been a parent to encourage him to just sit back and take it. He feels desperate for friends, but he just doesn't know what real friendship is yet. 

This situation on one hand is very simple and clear. On the other hand, it is very complicated. I intend to simplify it and take action to both teach and punish these Scouts. Firmly but fairly.   

Sir, I don't know what to say, as a father of two boys, I am not sure what I would do or say.  I am not sure I would be in Scouting any longer because my protective father instinct would probably have taken over.  I applaud you for holding back.  As a Scout Leader, I am disgusted that an SPL and a group in the PLC would do this.  There is no place in scouting for this type of behavior.  I understand the event was not a Scouting event but it occurred to a Scout by other Scouts in the same Troop.  We teach them to protect each other not assault each other.  Personally, as a Scoutmaster, I would have a meeting with the parents and Scouts that participated in the attach and hand each of them an application and ask them to complete a Transfer to another Troop as their behavior is not acceptable in this Troop.  I would hand them a list of other Troops in the area.  I am not sure they should be in the same Troop any longer.  I have read some good advice on here to let the District handle it.  As you have said, anything you do or say will be under the microscope.  I hope your Scout does not quit Scouting because of this.  I am very sorry your Scout and Family had to deal with this.

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12 hours ago, wdfa89 said:

 And based on what I have read this PLC/SPL is cabal of future kavanaughs. 

What? Supreme Court Justices? 

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I believe the SPL needs a heavier punishment, even if it leads to him being kicked out of the Troop.  Some will disagree, saying that these kids (mostly the SPL) are the ones who need Scouting the most (to help "develop" them into decent people).  While I agree with that statement, I also think this SPL crossed the line.  I'd hope he would continue in Scouts but I would not allow him back in the Troop.  The other kids might need more than probation.  As Boy Scouts, they should have put a stop to that.  I understand they are kids and the SPL is probably older and "cooler" so the other kids look up to him and "follow his lead".  Still, they are Boy Scouts and need to be held to a higher standard.  This needs to be a bigger learning lesson for them than just apologizing and being more closely watched.   

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Being in the UK I won't pretend to know your procedures inside out, I'll leave that to others.

However what these boys did went way over the line. This isn't something that can be treated as a learning experience, it's not the scout who didn't do their chores or who had a falling out with someone that ended in a scuffle or who gave some back chat. This is a group not just of scouts but scouts who are meant to be leaders among their peers, who should be setting the example, who actively ganged up on another scout ending in something that was border line sexual assault.

Whatever the procedure for making that happen the SPL in this case should be gone, out the troop. On most things I see a way back, of making amends and somehow remaining with the troop. Not on this occassion though.

While scouting should be lead by the scouts the adults have a duty to protect the young people in their care and in this instance that should mean the SPL is out.

As for the rest? I'm not sure, I think it depends on the detail of what happened, who was encouraging who and the like. There's not enough detail here to say, certainly I'd be looking to have new PLs elected though.

What you have described is completely intollerable.

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13 hours ago, Ranman328 said:

I couldn't agree more!  Especially since we are recruiting girls into Scouts.  Some on this Forum might not agree but girls will be going out camping with tents right next to boys.  If boys will do this to another boy, they will certainly try it with girls.  I am sad and disappointed to read this situation.

Where my mind goes is -- how will this boy treat his homecoming date if they are alone, etc?  What if he has a babysitting job or other unsupervised exposure to children?  Unfortunately, behavior like this, especially if undisciplined, can become a pattern.  So the kid needs to be taught the hard lesson now and hopefully it sticks. 

Edited by WisconsinMomma
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1 hour ago, CodyMiller351 said:

... these kids (mostly the SPL) are the ones who need Scouting the most (to help "develop" them into decent people).  ...

(My apologies.  I'm taking your statement out of context.)

I always cringe at this statement.  Ideally, the behavior of all scouts benefit from scouting.  ... BUT ... using a troop to fix the bad behavior of a specific scout will have side effects.

  • Drive away existing scouts.   You will lose good kids when choosing to work with the problem scouts.
  • Drive away future scouts.  Create a bad reputation for the troop.  "Oh, that troop has scouts that ..."
  • Risk infecting other scouts with the same bad behavior.
  • Create safety risks.
  • Create problems for the adults as they are involving scouts that will put other scouts at risk.

So, I always cringe when I hear that if any kid needs scouting that kid needs scouting.

Edited by fred johnson

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I am saddened to report that, as I scan my memories, it was in the forums on Scouter.com that I first learned about so-called, 'tea bagging'. And following up on that thought, this is in the category of things that, sadly no matter how hard we try, cannot be 'unlearned'. 

Edited by packsaddle
missing word

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25 minutes ago, fred johnson said:

(My apologies.  I'm taking your statement out of context.)

I always cringe at this statement.  Ideally, the behavior of all scouts benefit from scouting.  ... BUT ... using a troop to fix the bad behavior of a specific scout will have side effects.

  • Drive away existing scouts.   You will lose good kids when choosing to work with the problem scouts.
  • Drive away future scouts.  Create a bad reputation for the troop.  "Oh, that troop has scouts that ..."
  • Risk infecting other scouts with the same bad behavior.
  • Create safety risks.
  • Create problems for the adults as they are involving scouts that will put other scouts at risk.

So, I always cringe when I hear that if any kid needs scouting that kid needs scouting.

Fred gives some very sound constructs here to be thinking about.  and i agree with him on the "if any kid needs Scouting..." As much benefit that Scouting can have for a kid from a broken home, or who has issues socializing and benefits from being in a supportive group, the reality is we can only supplement, not replace, parenting these youth.  The very first conversation(s) that need to take place here are with the parents of these other youth, and give the greater context that as a parent you have issue with this happening to your child, especially if it happened in one of their homes.  Then, there is the other issue of these youth being in the same troop as you and your son, and the nature of how these actions inexplicably are going to affect those relationships.  That too can and should be discussed with these parents.  You cannot really remove yourself from being a parent because you are the scoutmaster- being parent comes first, every time, and you need to allow yourself to do that.  Awful situation, and hope in the long run that these kids can understand the significance of what they did and correct that, and that it doesn't have truly lasting effect for your son.

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