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Is there a policy preventing a scoutmaster from going through a scout’s tote at summer camp?

He claims he was cleaning up and noticed several scouts had medication and cell phones so he then looked at all the totes and took all the phones and meds. 

Kids are upset because they were at their merit badges and came back to find their stuff had been gone through. 

I tried to talk with him to explain how the kids felt, but he states he was protecting himself since the kids had “contraband”.  Just wondering if this should be reported. 

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Welcome @Scoutmomonly.

most Scour reservations have a policy that prescriptions must be held by adults. 

As for cell phones, what is your Troops policy?

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NCAP HS 508: 

Specific Requirements of the Standard:

A . The camp requires that all prescription and over-the-counter
(OTC) medications be stored under lock (including those requiring refrigeration), except when in the controlled presence of health care staff or other adult leader responsible for administration and/or dispensing medications .

 

All bsa camps will require prescriptions to be turned in as part of the standards of running a BSA camp. So even if in general they could keep medicines, at summer camp they cannot.

this does not cover the issue with the SM going through their stuff, which i think could be handled better.

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If this was at summer camp, what was the Camp's policy?  The camp I attended required ALL meds (youth AND adults) be turned in during medical check in and were held at the health lodge.  Anyone needing a dose had to report to the health lodge to have it recorded.  If you didn't show up, they came looking for you.  Inhalers and epi=pens were the exception, of course.

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The camp has never collected the meds. We have never been asked to bring a prescription or to turn them in. We note the meds on the health forms and kids are responsible for taking their meds. Now, I’m not saying I agree with that 100%, but that what it has been for the now five years we have been attending this camp.

I’m more concerned that the scoutmaster felt it acceptable to go through totes without scouts present. I don’t feel this models trustworthiness at all. He disagrees and basically said, “turn me in to council”. So, before I do, I was wondering the policy for searching a scouts belongings. 

Sorry, this is summer camp

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Posted (edited)

I'm not sure council is going to get into this. So save yourself the phone call.

You could call the chartered org rep.

Did the boys know they weren't allowed to have cell phones? I mean before you toss around trustworthy, you need to check that the boys were obedient. The two kinda go hand in hand.

Would I have done things differently than your SM? Before two years ago yes. Since then, I'm not so sure. One scout breaking bad has probably ruined it for the rest.

Edited by qwazse
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There is a more in depth document referenced in the on line guide that you can click through to: https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/HealthSafety/pdf/SAFE_USE_OF_MEDICATION_IN_SCOUTING.pdf

The essence of it is that leaders, parents, and scouts work together to determine what is the best way to handle a scout's medications.  As KC mentioned, some scout camps have their own rules, there are also some states that have specific rules.  Michigan for instance requires that an adult hold and distribute prescription meds.

Our camp does not require that we hold the meds, and within the troop we handle it individually --- some scouts can handle their own, some are better if held by the leaders.  I always know who takes what and check up on it even if the scout is handling it himself (just as I do with my own kids).

So there's really nothing and no one to "report" this to in the sense that something necessarily wrong occurred.  This is more a situation for the unit to work through.  Was there pre-existing guidance within either the troop or camp regarding either phones or meds?  

Going through anybody's personal belongings is something that should only be done after some consideration.  Scout's have a reasonable expectation of privacy regarding their belongings and that should be taken into consideration.

This is the type of thing you have a calm, quiet chat about when everyone is back home, showered, well fed and well rested.

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Maybe the leader had suspicions that something was going on with some of the scouts that was wrong (theft/bullying evidence or illicit substances).  If the felt the need to look through the belongings then there should have maybe been at least 2 adults from the trip and a senior member of camp staff there as a witness. 

With Many youth taking medications daily and the things that could go wrong - I would think the leaders of the troop would have a lock box for medications and an adult responsible for making sure the only kiddo who takes the pills is the one on the Rx. Just think for one minute how dangerous a child’s stimulant medication for adhd could be for someone with other conditions - depending on the dosage it could be dangerous or interact negatively with something else they may be taking. Kids experiment and if they are leaving their pill bottles out in their tent that is pretty irresponsible of them. 

Our troop has a no phones at camp rule. Leaders have them and if a child truly needs to get in touch with someone at home they can by using the camp office or leaders phone.  Have you seen some of the stuff teens post on Snapchat - and nearly every kiddo has a phone with a camera - do those need to go everywhere (latrines/shower house) with them?  No they don’t.  Not to mention how many parents will be upset if the phone is damaged or lost at camp (we’ve had parents irate over missing beach towels after camp)

 

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Posted (edited)

A few key points have been missed.

  • You'll have enough problems at camp that you don't need to hunt for more.   
  • Scoutmasters should't be enforcers.  SM job is to relate to the scouts.  Baden-Powell said ... 
    • “I had stipulated that the position of Scoutmaster was to be neither that of a schoolmaster nor of a commander Officer, but rather that of an elder brother among his boys, not detached or above them individually, able to inspire their efforts and to suggest new diversions when his finger on their pulse told him the attraction of any present craze was wearing off."  Robert Baden-Powell, Lessons from the Varsity of Life, 1933.

This situation ... IMHO ... how I view it ... 

  • there is nothing to report. 
  • you don't have liability.  Usually if the scouts have medicine, the parents provided it.  If they didn't, then you have a larger issue. 
  • the phones absolutely could have waited until the scouts were there or until there was an obvious violation.  
  • the scoutmaster created a wedge between the scouts and himself.  Maybe this is a learning experience for the scouts, but it will be something to work through. 

 

Edited by fred8033
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Referring back to the original posting topic, it was about whether going through a tote without the owner's presence is acceptable.  To be blunt...no.  I wonder how that leader would react if scouts went through his gear while he was away.  I bet he would go crazy.  If there was an immediate risk to life, limb, or eyesight, maybe it would be ok only to eliminate the risk.  Even then, not doing in solo or without owners present is wrong.  In my 30 plus years in law enforcement, searches were always an issue.  With the owner present can save a lot of time when you tell them what you are looking for.  I won't get into the legalities of this leader.

I was thinking how the first scout law applies to this situation.  Seems the leader is not trustworthy in the eyes of the scouts.  In my day as a smart-mouth scout, I probably would have asked him for me to go through his gear, or tell him we are putting two scouts to watch his actions.  I think I have outgrown that attitude, maybe.  The meds are one thing, but OMG a phone at camp, scouts BSA is going to crumble (sarcasm).

 

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Scoutmomonly said:

Is there a policy preventing a scoutmaster from going through a scout’s tote at summer camp?

Not only should it be allowed, it should be required. It is called an inspection. It used to be a routine matter for Boy Scouts to present themselves, and their gear, for inspection, before leaving for camp. It should be a unit policy, and all scouts and parents should be aware of it.

At my school, all lockers are subject to search by an administrator, at any time. There is no expectation of privacy. 

Before any field trip (scouts, sports, band), all bags and luggage are opened and inspected before leaving the campus. There is no expectation of privacy. 

As a parent, you should be more concerned with your child's safety than with his privacy. 

Edited by David CO
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