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Scoutmaster Teddy

Juvenile Offenses and Ethics

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6 hours ago, Scoutmaster Teddy said:

I've found myself in quite a predicament. One of my Life Scouts, the CC's son no less, was busted for having an illegal substance (weed) in the High School. I have no legal experience and this was treated as a juvenile offense. Actually, I have no access to any record that shows me "proof" that an arrest actually occurred.

I'm going to stand my ground and refuse a Scoutmaster's Conference for Eagle. I may end up losing my job but that's okay.

Hope your holiday season is better than mine!

What's your biggest hangup? Because it was MJ?  Would you have the same stance as if he got caught smoking tobacco or dipping?  What about underage drinking?  

Is this just about being caught or because the cops were involved?

Would a charge of reckless driving merit the same reaction?

 

As @fred8033 mentioned above, marijuana is quickly gaining "acceptance".  Yes, it's still illegal, especially for minor's, but let's not crucify the kid based on reefer madness.

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The weed was only the latest. Selling weed INSIDE of a school is not good. He has plenty of other offenses, including a profanity-laced tirade against a ASM. Poor kid has affluenza since Daddy is a bigshot.

He will get his conference. I will not sign his Eagle paperwork. 

I have two Eagle Scouts threatening to return their badges.

Edited by Scoutmaster Teddy
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Unit leaders do not have the authority to deny a Scout a conference that is necessary for him to meet the requirements for his rank. If a unit leader conference is denied, a Scout—if he believes he has fulfilled all the remaining requirements—may still request a board of review.

The above is the stance of the BSA Guide to Advancement (section 4.2.3.5 Unit Leader Conference).  I can understand the pickle of this situation, as well as the desire of knowing does he truly regret it.  Unfortunately, even having a conversation with him about that can be constituted as his SM conference.  I would say have the discussion with his father, see what Dad is thinking.  Ultimately, the scout can request an Eagle BOR under disputed circumstance (see section 8.0.3.2 Initiating Eagle Scout Board of Review Under Disputed Circumstances), and a denied SM conference or the unit leader(s) not signing the application are grounds for requesting this.  It comes down to your own personal convictions here- I have seen leaders bend because "he's going to get it anyway", but you do have the right to let that be someone else's moral dilemma, not yours.

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20 minutes ago, Scoutmaster Teddy said:

The weed was only the latest. Selling weed INSIDE of a school is not good. He has plenty of other offenses, including a profanity-laced tirade against a ASM. Poor kid has affluenza since Daddy is a bigshot.

He will get his conference. I will not sign his Eagle paperwork. 

I have two Eagle Scouts threatening to return their badges.

Perfectly acceptable. To me, the disrespect to the ASM and pattern of behaviour is far worse, imo, than getting caught up for simple possession (I missed the fact he was selling).

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2 hours ago, Pale Horse said:

 

As @fred8033 mentioned above, marijuana is quickly gaining "acceptance".  Yes, it's still illegal, especially for minor's, but let's not crucify the kid based on reefer madness.

Hmm, so who dictates which laws are ok to break. Parents, SM, CC?

Do the authority’s really care?

Barry 

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1 hour ago, Eagledad said:

Hmm, so who dictates which laws are ok to break. Parents, SM, CC?

Do the authority’s really care?

Barry 

Malum prohibutum vs malum in se: "wrong [as or because] prohibited") an unlawful act only by virtue of statute, as opposed to conduct that is evil in and of itself.

Depending on the state, or country, you live in, and ignoring some philosophical questions of federalism, this scout's possession of MJ is illegal simply because he is not yet 21.

When I was a senior in high school I could legally purchase and consume alcohol approximately three hundred yards from my back door but not thirty feet down the street from my front door simply because I had stepped over a state line.  Today, if my 21 year old son hands his 17 year old brother a beer they have both broken a law.  If instead he hands that beer to me and I hand it to my 17 year old then no one has broken any laws.

I point this out not because I think breaking the law, even a law that may be only statutory in nature, is OK, but because the nature of the transgression , unlawful vs. evil, should affect our response to and view of the transgressor.

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I'm going to emphasize one word in @HashTagScouts post:

On 11/30/2018 at 3:56 PM, HashTagScouts said:

Unit leaders do not have the authority to deny a Scout a conference that is necessary for him to meet the requirements for his rank. If a unit leader conference is denied, a Scout—if he believes he has fulfilled all the remaining requirements—may still request a board of review.

The above is the stance of the BSA Guide to Advancement (section 4.2.3.5 Unit Leader Conference).  I can understand the pickle of this situation, as well as the desire of knowing does he truly regret it.  Unfortunately, even having a conversation with him about that can be constituted as his SM conference.  I would say have the discussion with his father, see what Dad is thinking.  Ultimately, the scout can request an Eagle BOR under disputed circumstance (see section 8.0.3.2 Initiating Eagle Scout Board of Review Under Disputed Circumstances), and a denied SM conference or the unit leader(s) not signing the application are grounds for requesting this.  It comes down to your own personal convictions here- I have seen leaders bend because "he's going to get it anyway", but you do have the right to let that be someone else's moral dilemma, not yours.

Drug Abusers are not Scouts.

Drug Pushers are not Scouts.

Drug Dealers are not Scouts.

It's gonna take time for this boy to prove that he is a scout. Until then, nothing is owed him except someone's boot.

Edited by John-in-KC
Easier screen presentation. JKC
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11 hours ago, Scoutmaster Teddy said:

Actually, I have no access to any record that shows me "proof" that an arrest actually occurred.

...and neither does anyone else, I'm guessing. Would you expect people to back you up in your decision without any authoritative "proof" that the incident actually happened?

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As Scouters, I don't think recourse here isn't to deny the kid a Scoutmaster conference.  The BSA rules seem pretty clear that we as leaders cannot do that.  

If a Scout conducts himself outside of Scouting so poorly that his character and fitness to achieve the rank of Eagle is called into question, then I think the troop needs to ask the Scout to leave the troop.  If the troop continues to allow a youth to participate in Scouting who the Scoutmaster does not believe is worthy of achieving a rank, that seems unfair to the Scout and his family.  We'll allow you to participate, camp with us, hold positions of leadership, pay dues, etc. but not achieve a rank?

Honestly - I think you all meet as a troop committee and decide whether the youth continues or not.  If you allow him to continue, then I think you continue to guide him as he progresses towards Eagle.  If you find him of enough character to continue, but still find his actions distasteful - tell him that.  But, don't penalize him.  The puts you as leaders in a difficult position where you now have to arbitrate worthiness for the rank.  Didn't I read that some Scouts want to return their Eagles because they don't think he should get one?  Marijuana is bad, but consuming alcohol is OK?  Or, maybe marijuana is OK, but just not at school?  Or maybe marijuana at school is OK, but not if he gives or sells it to friends.  These seems like dangerous waters and ones that lead to politics and internal hurt.

I've got no problem if you say - "a youth who brings drugs to school with intent to distribute" can no longer be trusted around the other youth in the troop  That's a very appropriate response.  Not everyone will agree - but that's a fair question of policy for a Scoutmaster or troop committee to decide.  After all, the Scoutmaster has to sign the youth applications indicating his willingness to accept the Scout into the unit.  If the Scoutmaster no longer has confidence in the youth - then ask him to leave.

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In the Guide to Safe Scouting, there are actually very few things that are listed as a reason to revoke a Scout's membership, and most of them relate to violence:

"All members of the Boy Scouts of America are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the principles set forth in the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Physical violence, hazing, bullying, theft, verbal insults, and drugs and alcohol have no place in the Scouting program and may result in the revocation of a Scout’s membership in the unit."

In reality you will likely get no support from anyone up the chain to revoke membership up to and including national even if the scout is arrested, lies to the police, his parents and his EBOR.  He will still be given his rank.   

So since you feel strongly about this don't have a SMC or sign his Eagle application and let the process in the Guide to Advancement run it's course.  If that results in you needing to move on, come over to our unit.

We don't expect any personal responsibility and accountability from the youth any longer.  The BSA uses the word "may" not "will".   The scout being bullied is the one who leaves the program not the other way around. 

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3 minutes ago, PACAN said:

In reality you will likely get no support from anyone up the chain to revoke membership up to and including national even if the scout is arrested, lies to the police, his parents and his EBOR.  He will still be given his rank. 

My reality is that the scout in my troop that brought weed to summer camp eventually had his membership revoked.

On the other hand, self centered and obnoxious scouts can eventually get their rank as well and the SM technically has little say in the matter. I understand that's the way it is but I'm not happy with it. We go on and on about the scout oath and law but they don't hold much weight when push comes to shove. I also understand it's sometimes a hard decision but that's what character is all about.

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25 minutes ago, PACAN said:

In the Guide to Safe Scouting, there are actually very few things that are listed as a reason to revoke a Scout's membership, and most of them relate to violence:

"All members of the Boy Scouts of America are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the principles set forth in the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Physical violence, hazing, bullying, theft, verbal insults, and drugs and alcohol have no place in the Scouting program and may result in the revocation of a Scout’s membership in the unit."

In reality you will likely get no support from anyone up the chain to revoke membership up to and including national even if the scout is arrested, lies to the police, his parents and his EBOR.  He will still be given his rank.   

So since you feel strongly about this don't have a SMC or sign his Eagle application and let the process in the Guide to Advancement run it's course.  If that results in you needing to move on, come over to our unit.

We don't expect any personal responsibility and accountability from the youth any longer.  The BSA uses the word "may" not "will".   The scout being bullied is the one who leaves the program not the other way around. 

I think you have to separate membership in a troop vs. membership in the Boy Scouts of America.

A troop is not a subdivision of the BSA.  The troop is owned by the chartered organization.  As long as membership decisions are not discriminatory, a unit can pretty much ask anyone to leave that they want to.  If they feel a Scout isn't someone who they think should remain in the troop, they can ask him to leave.  The council may push back, but it's not their call.  The only person "up the chain" from the Troop Committee is the Chartered Organization Rep and then the Institutional Head.  As long as they are in support, you're good to go.

The question of whether to revoke membership in the BSA is another question entirely.  It also isn't something that probably ought to matter to the unit itself.  Revoking membership in the BSA is up to the Council & National.  If they want someone who has been accused of using and distributing drugs in school to continue in the Boy Scouts of America, that's their decision.  But, they'll have to help the kid find another unit to continue in.

To me, a unit that removes a scout for this reason is setting a pretty clear line for personal responsibility.  However, letting the youth continue, but trying to bar him from advancing seems like a much less clear statement.  

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JMO, but I would not sign the Scout spirit requirement #2 (assuming that it's not already signed off) or sign the rank application.  The Scout can request a board of review under disputed circumstances and the Scoutmaster can explain in writing what's going on and why you did not sign off in those two places.

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