Jump to content
PARENTinSCOUT

Youth Protection Policy Does Not Prohibit Retaliation

Recommended Posts

I discovered this surprising fact after raising a complaint to the Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Council in 2017 about my troop leader explicitly calling out a parent who brought forward concerns that children were stressed and one suicidal in part due to punitive scouting practices.  The leader claimed the parent was spreading false rumors and threatened consequences (all documented in an email) when in fact, a scout did have suicidal thought and implicated the stress to problematic scouting practices which involved  hazing, corporal punishment and inappropriate manipulation of advancement procedures.

The Council swiftly stopped the hazing, corporal punishment and inappropriate advancement procedures, but left the retaliation incident untouched.  Their reason stated was this is a Charter Organization's matter and not of the Council's.  I later learned from an Area Executive that BSA in fact did not have a policy expressly prohibited retaliation.  There was a PRESUMPTION that retaliation is wrong and should not be allowed, but there is to language to set it as a community standard.  This leader vowed to change this lack of policy language at BSA level, but he retired. 

Having taken the latest Youth Protection Policy training last year, I still did not see any mentioning of retaliation as wrong or prohibited.

This lack of policy against retaliation constitutes a fatal flaw in Youth Protection Policy.  The success of YPP depends on a culture of openness about youth endangerment, therefore, the ban of retaliation must be explicit as a community standard.  That troop (now a former troop) served an immigrant community, which is one of the growth segment of the BSA.  Immigrants, especially, by virtue of their acculturation needs, need to know clearly what is allowed and not allowed so they can participate and build a scouting culture according to prevailing standards.  

Secondly, no serious effort to prevent child abuse can ever happen without clear and convincing deterrent against inappropriate retaliation.  Consequences for breaking the rule should be spelled out.

I was on the verge of putting a petition on Change.org to promote this change in policy.  But since I find this forum, I hope some good will come of it, with your interest and help, so scouting can be what it should be, a safe and supportive place for all children.  Please help!!!

 

Edited by RememberSchiff
removed blank line feeds
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, PARENTinSCOUT said:

I discovered this surprising fact after raising a complaint to the Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Council in 2017 about my troop leader explicitly calling out a parent who brought forward concerns that children were stressed and one suicidal in part due to punitive scouting practices.  The leader claimed the parent was spreading false rumors and threatened consequences (all documented in an email) when in fact, a scout did have suicidal thought and implicated the stress to problematic scouting practices which involved  hazing, corporal punishment and inappropriate manipulation of advancement procedures.

 

It all depends on how the parent "brought forward" concerns. Even if BSA had a retaliation rule, it might not apply to this situation.

I am a teacher. My school has a retaliation policy. This policy would protect me if I were to make a statement to child protective services. It would not protect me if I were to start bad mouthing my school at PTA meetings, sporting events, and parent/teacher conferences.  Retaliation policies do not give me free reign to shoot off my mouth whenever and wherever I please.

People have different interpretations of the term corporal punishment.  Some would apply it only to hitting kids. Others would include physical exercise punishments like doing pushups or running laps. I'm not sure what this parent thinks is corporal punishment.

 

Edited by David CO
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, David CO said:

People have different interpretations of the term corporal punishment. 

Facts entered into evidence:

"The Council swiftly stopped the hazing, corporal punishment and inappropriate advancement procedures"

The Council clearly indicates that something was wrong. The interpretation really isn't in question.

 

3 hours ago, David CO said:

Even if BSA had a retaliation rule, it might not apply to this situation.

So some retaliation is warranted? Your position is that a scouter is warranted in taking negative action toward a parent if that parent didn't follow some undefined procedure in trying to fix a hazing incident? What is more important, that we stopped a hazing incident that could have lead to suicide or that a parent didn't follow the chain of command?

The point of the OP appears to be rather clear. Regardless if you think a scouter might be justified in retaliation in some circumstances (:blink:), BSA doesn't appear to have a policy in place that protects whistleblowers and that is a significant problem.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There have been many stories of "retaliation" without recourse on these forums over the years.  Scouters and Scouts have had their memberships revoked for cause, and some for causes known only to the Scout Executives who seem to have the final say in such matters.

  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This seems rather vague. Youth protection training has nothing to do with interacting with adults. It sounds like there was a youth protection issue and it was addressed. What wasn't addressed was the fact that "the parent was called out" by a scout leader. Am I right about this? If so, that's the point of this thread.

To be honest, if I were "called out" and later proven right, as it seems in this case, I'd be fine with knowing I did the right thing. I'd leave it to the troop to decide what to do with the leader.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These arguments always arise because of vague postings.

OP, if you want meaningful responses then provide details about what happened.  

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I gathered she was saying that the BSA doesn't cover the liability aspect of retaliations. Litigation can be quite expensive. 

Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

I gathered she was saying that the BSA doesn't cover the liability aspect of retaliations. Litigation can be quite expensive. 

Barry

So true as we have all seen with the current state of finances of the BSA.  This expense can be seen in notes in the annual reports, increase in the registration fee, talks of bankruptcy (wonder what happened with that??), opening up joining criteria to increase members.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

All the more reason to purchase personal liability insurance. 

Barry

I have personal liability insurance and I am pretty sure it would not protect me from retaliation. If, for example, a scouter decides to remove me from the committee or exclude me from troop communications, there is no personal liability created by that action that insurance would offset. If a scouter goes so far as to tell me that my scout is no longer welcome in the troop, again, there is nothing that personal liability insurance would protect.

BSA needs a policy that does not allow scouters or troops to retaliate when a person reports violations of BSA policy.

And, if this council did indeed have to step in to stop an incident of hazing, corporal punishment, and other policy violations, those scouters in charge should probably have been at least suspended as well as removed from their leadership roles. Violations of YPT and all that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think the OP is talking about litigation at all.  His or her point is that with all the encouragement to report YP violations one aspect is not covered which is retaliation against the person who reports the violation.

And this person is right, there is no explicit protection.  So for instance, if you're a parent who reports a YP violation, even if the report is valid and the council takes action to repair the violation, both you and your son could have action taken against you by the unit in retaliation for doing the right thing and making the report.  This is a real problem because it acts as a deterrent to other folks to make reports.

To the OP, the situation as you describe it only mentions a threat of some sort prior to the YP violation report and not any actual retaliation taking place.  This may be the distinction that the council is drawing and why they say it is a matter for the Chartered Organization.  Either way the actions sound very wrong and should be properly addressed, I think you or the person threatened should in fact take the matter up with the CO.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The specific incident involved parents bringing up concerns only to "key three". The request was denied and the leader of key three swiftly broadcasted to a dozen leaders that the reporter made false accusations and threatened her with consequences.

At this point, the parents brought the concerns to the Council which they, in their language, used the word "corporal punishment" in stopping wayward scouting practices. All "accusations" were  true, but settled.

But the Council left the issue of retaliation untouched. The reporting parent to this day still receives no apologies from the troop, leader or anyone. The troop leader is still functioning. More than half of the troop left that organization and started a new one.

Is retaliation prohibited is still an open question. Why is there not language about this in YPP? How can this send a message that YPP is credible?

Your thoughts are appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was worried about this very thing the other week. If the adult who was being stupid had actually managed to follow through with his original plan despite my warning, my reporting would have kicked out one or two Scouters. The one who brought the scout to the event and scouter who arranged it. I could certainly see retaliation as a possibility and I was dreading it. I'm extremely thankful that nothing happened to report. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Hawkwin said:

I have personal liability insurance and I am pretty sure it would not protect me from retaliation. If, for example, a scouter decides to remove me from the committee or exclude me from troop communications, there is no personal liability created by that action that insurance would offset. If a scouter goes so far as to tell me that my scout is no longer welcome in the troop, again, there is nothing that personal liability insurance would protect.

BSA needs a policy that does not allow scouters or troops to retaliate when a person reports violations of BSA policy.

And, if this council did indeed have to step in to stop an incident of hazing, corporal punishment, and other policy violations, those scouters in charge should probably have been at least suspended as well as removed from their leadership roles. Violations of YPT and all that.

I'm sure you've heard of defamation of character and false accusations. More common in this culture than we would like to admit.  

Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×