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Bside

PLC hazing and bullying problem

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1 hour ago, Cambridgeskip said:

... 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. ...

'Skip, I don't think you're in a much different situation on your side of the pond. Expulsion (instead of suspension) could be on the table but for one reality: as much as I admire the MeToo movement for shining a light into the dark spaces of our liberated culture, the fact remains that our youth face overwhelming encouragement from multiple medial outlets to physically prey on the weak. In our society, this allows aggressive male behavior to become normative.

By way of example, during one coffee break a week, I help chaperon some youth (mostly high school seniors, very mixed race). For this group, I'm usually just in fly-on-the-wall mode. They had a special guest who volunteers for the local Action Against Rape organization. She challenged them with a few scenarios and asked them to identify them as flirting, harassment, or sexual harassment. One scenario really divided them: You are told, "Let's kiss, or we won't kick it together anymore." (Slang note: at least in our inner city "kick it together", an erstwhile gang phrase, is replacing "go steady" in defining couples who are being exclusive.)

All of the young women, and half of the young men identified that as sexual harassment, the other half boys were eventually won over ... except for one young man, who just wasn't buying the argument that a phrase like that was any kind of threat. What made it interesting was the young lady next to him was really upset that he wasn't getting it. (Of course, she was the kid who happened to be helping draft state legislation on the topic. :eek:) I finally spoke up and explained to him that the statement reduced physical intimacy to a transaction, and that could threaten any person who comes to count on that close relationship. He bought that, sort of, and at least it diffused the fireworks by helping everyone accept why couples with an equal sense of power might be less intimidated by an attempt to link intimacy and standing in a relationship while other couples would find such a linkage as corrosive and demeaning.

After the talk, I went up to the young man and told him to keep asking tough questions. I think he will.

But, think about these youth, five years younger and twice as impulsive and very little chance that they recognize how they are taking advantage of power dynamics. A suspension gives them, even the instigator, a chance to think, maybe for the first time, "Do I really want to be a scout?"

When I was bullied (elementary school), Momma told the guys they weren't allowed around the house until they could be gentlemen. She then told me to "Get big." Eventually, we all came around. I learned to stand up for myself. They learned to be kinder. Many guys just need a stern wake-up call.

Obviously, if this kid was suspended or expelled from other activities for the same thing, then yes, expulsion should be on the table.

Edited by qwazse

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I suspect they got the "teabagging" idea from video games (or videos about games), where it is somewhat acceptable behavior (because video game characters are not anatomically correct).  Regardless of where the SPL got the idea, it is not acceptable in real life -- especially when the Scout repeatedly told him to stop.

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59 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.

I agree completely. That is just what I’ve heard from multiple other leaders throughout my Scouting career. I believe Scouting is a privilege and can be taken away from you if needed. I think that with a harder punishment and even kicking the SPL out of the troop, this kid might learn a valuable lesson about actions and consequences. 

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1 hour ago, fred johnson said:

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

Maybe there is some sort of Scouting program in the local juvenile detention facility.  I say that not to be mean, but just as a reminder that this kid committed what would be a "felony" if he were an adult.

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14 hours ago, Ranman328 said:

If boys will do this to another boy, they will certainly try it with girls.

That's a pretty damning statement to make against boys. 

So, because of this incident, involving this particular SPL, you feel with great certainty that boys will no doubt do something similar to girls?

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2 minutes ago, SSF said:

That's a pretty damning statement to make against boys. 

So, because of this incident, involving this particular SPL, you feel with great certainty that boys will no doubt do something similar to girls?

Let's talk about this particular boy.  The fact that he forced another boy to sit still while he rubbed his barely-clothed genitals on the other boy's head does raise the prospect that he may do so again, to somebody else, of whatever gender.  It also raises the distinct possibility that he may do something worse to someone else, of whatever gender.  It also raises the question of whether this is the first time he has done that to someone.

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1 hour ago, WisconsinMomma said:

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. 

A lot of speculation in this post. 

This discussion seems to be veering from addressing this particular incident to 'boys in the boy scouts are now a threat to the girls in the boy scouts'

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3 minutes ago, NJCubScouter said:

Let's talk about this particular boy.  The fact that he forced another boy to sit still while he rubbed his barely-clothed genitals on the other boy's head does raise the prospect that he may do so again, to somebody else, of whatever gender.  It also raises the distinct possibility that he may do something worse to someone else, of whatever gender.  It also raises the question of whether this is the first time he has done that to someone.

I'm addressing the implication made that 'if one boy does this, all boys are likely to do this.' I'm not defending this particular SPL by any means. What he did was horrendous, but all boys should not be labeled as a threat to girls because this kid can't control himself.

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13 minutes ago, NJCubScouter said:

Maybe there is some sort of Scouting program in the local juvenile detention facility.  I say that not to be mean, but just as a reminder that this kid committed what would be a "felony" if he were an adult.

Many counties offer "youth tours" of prisons for those at-risk.

https://worcestercountysheriff.com/services/community-outreach/youth-tours/

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@BsideI'm very sorry that this happened to your son and the horrible position that this horrendous incident has put you, your son and your family in.

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SSF ... I regret not saying that earlier.  

@Bside ... I'm also very sorry for what happened to your son and what you and he must now address.  

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The question for Scouting is -- is this kid's next tent mate safe?  How do we know for sure? 

That's why it's a Youth Protection Issue to document it.

When I was a teenager, there was a 17 year old who was very sexually forward with me.  Within a year he was charged with sexually assaulting another girl in our town. Knowing his past behavior with me, I believe that his behavior was a pattern.  I don't know what ultimately happened to him.

So, just think about protecting the youth from similar incidents. 

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17 minutes ago, WisconsinMomma said:

The question for Scouting is -- is this kid's next tent mate safe?  How do we know for sure? 

That's why it's a Youth Protection Issue to document it.

When I was a teenager, there was a 17 year old who was very sexually forward with me.  Within a year he was charged with sexually assaulting another girl in our town. Knowing his past behavior with me, I believe that his behavior was a pattern.  I don't know what ultimately happened to him.

So, just think about protecting the youth from similar incidents. 

@WisconsinMomma, this is where it gets really complicated. I consider a 17 year old to be more "locked in" than a 13 year old. This is partly from Jr. High experience (mine, then mine relived again with my kids, then with my scouts ...) and partly from literature. If you have the misfortune of meeting a sexually aggressive 13 year old, there is an opportunity that negative reinforcement will correct the behavior. A boy like this can "flip" from being a terror to being the staunchest defender of the weak. I believe, for both men and women, that window closes between ages 14-15, and suddenly suspensions and expulsions become things to brag about.

Therefore, in a developmental context, for every strategy (expel, suspend, remove privileges, send to training, etc ...), we have to reflect on a couple of questions about how to best protect youth from similar incidents:

  • Can we turn the wayward youth from opponent to ally?
  • How many others will be harmed if we fail?
  • How many others will be protected if we succeed?
  • How will we be able to tell failure from success?

Needless to say, those answers are more obvious for some situations than others.

Because I've seen so many aggressors turn defender, kids like the SPL are not who keep me awake at night. It's the kids who fail to call fools on their folly that worry me the most. A suspension might make onlookers reflect a little, but it won't give them the courage they need for the next time. They'll have to dig deeper for that. If they keep up the pattern of blending into the wallpaper, we're all lost.

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I think we agree that this is a reportable Youth Protection issue.  Right?  Or do you think that this should not be reported to the Council?  

Would you trust this SPL tenting with another one of your scouts?

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After having thought about it, then I think I have had a more formed opinion.  

This boy might need scouts, but he doesn't need this troop. Whether or not to bring this to the authorities is probably a personal decision as a parent.  As a Scoutmaster, I don't think you can make any decision to tell this boys parents that effective immediately he is not welcome at troop meetings.  The troop can be informed that you need to elect a new SPL because the previous one so violated the scout oath and law he will no longer be a part of the troop.  The ones who were there will get the point from that I think.  

 

 

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