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25 minutes ago, Scoutmomonly said:

 Half the involved families like this guy’s methods and half do not. The rest don’t get involved and express no opinions. 

It sounds to me like this is a unit problem. You don't just disagree with the Scoutmaster. You disagree with half of the families in your unit. This disagreement needs to be settled at the unit level. 

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

My thinking was that if you need to do inspections, do them in the open.  But - your point is well taken - an environment of constant inspections suggests a troop where the Scoutmaster doesn't trust the Scout.

Of course he doesn't trust the scouts. He has good reason to not trust the scouts. He found prohibited/regulated items in the scouts' gear. The scouts lost his trust, and they will now need to earn it back.

Edited by David CO

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2 hours ago, walk in the woods said:

The joy of Scoutmastership. You take a bunch of other people's kids into the woods for the experience.  You are directly responsible for their well-being and safety.  There are hundreds of written pages of contradictory policy and procedures.  You know that if, God forbid, something goes wrong, your competence, character, and commitment to the kids will be publicly questioned and if it's bad enough you'll be named in the law suit.  But, if you take any action you believe required related to the kids well-being and safety, people come out of the woodwork because you violated the kids trust or hurt their feelings or some other nonsense.  I'm so happy not to be a SM any more.  

 

12 minutes ago, mashmaster said:

Is it within the SM's ability to go through the bags?   yes.  He/she is responsible for keeping the scouts safe and ensuring they are following the troops code of conduct.  

Was he right to go through the bags?  maybe?   Safety is the top priority and honestly all the facts aren't out here for any of us including you to make the call on that .

Should he have done it differently?  Probably.  He could have easily waited until the scouts returned to base camp and had each scout present his gear for inspection to the troop leaders and been there while that happenned.

Is this a permanent stain for the SM?  NO!   The scouts will not focus on it and worry about it as long as the parents let it go.  Cut the SM some slack, he gives a ton of his personal time to all the boys, gives up his vacation to go to camp, and works with the scouts year round without fail.  

Can parents exasperate the problem?   YES!  I have had to deal with parents on issue where they poisoned the youth about the leaders and troop.   Even secretly breaking the code of conduct rules.  The other boys notice and came to me frustrated about why the other people get to do things differently or break the rules.   Discussions with parents normally work but we have had to restrict a couple parents from meetings/campouts where they could manage to operate within the guidelines.   It is a last resort and usually they move to a different troop and repeat the process until they quit.   It saddens me but that is what it comes down to.

We often talk about giving the Scoutmaster a lot of deference in how he runs the program.  But, when you constantly defer to Scoutmaster, it makes situations like this so much more difficult.  Then, when something like this happens, it creates a big, poltiical mess because people start lining up and choosing sides.  Scoutmasters then feel attacked and second guessed.

In my humble opinion - you give the Scoutmaster a lot of respect, but you need to have a troop culture where the leaders work as a team.  Going through the Scout's belongings will be something that will parents will be upset about.  As such, the Scoutmaster needs to be smarter about how he deals with concerns like contraband.   Hold inspections in the open.  If he really feels a search is warranted, perhaps a phone call first to the CC to discuss the concern and develop a mutual plan to address.  Then, if there is any sort of pushback it's now a troop problem - not a Scoutmaster problem.

 

 

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David CO I said half of the involved families. Not half the unit. I agree there is a unit issue. I have tried repeatedly to address this. The conversation is one sided. You can’t solve an issue when only one side sees an issue. 

The items found have not been prohibited/regulated in the previous four years these scouts attended this camp. Nor was their current status well communicated. 

Look, I’m all for following the rules and expectations. I’m a teacher. I also co-led this troop at this particular summer camp outing two years ago. I was unable to due to surgery last year. I get the struggles and liabilities.  I’ve been in this guy’s spot. However, I would never violate a scout by going through his personal belongings while he was out of camp. Especially not the older boys who have a more developed sense of identity. Maybe that’s because I’m a female and I am well aware of the delicate balance I would find myself in by doing that. But I think it is just basic human decency to stay out of things that don’t belong to you. If I had a concern, I would find a more respectful way to handle it.  Obviously, a more immediate threat would warrant a search. But let’s remember, he was concerned about wet clothes and trash initially. There was no perceived threat of any kind. 

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8 minutes ago, David CO said:

Of course he doesn't trust the scouts. He has good reason to not trust the scouts. He found prohibited/regulated items in the scouts' gear. The scouts lost his trust, and they will now need to earn it back.

You're mixing two different things

  1.  @fred8033 was talking about the general case of whether troops should routinely do foot locker inspections before going to camp.  I accepted his argument that if troops are doing locker searches routinely (and presumably without prior cause) then adults are telling the scouts - "we don't trust you".
  2. In the specifc case here -  I agree.  if the Scoutmaster has a reason not to trust then yes, inspections are warrated.  

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26 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

We often talk about giving the Scoutmaster a lot of deference in how he runs the program.  But, when you constantly defer to Scoutmaster, it makes situations like this so much more difficult.  Then, when something like this happens, it creates a big, poltiical mess because people start lining up and choosing sides.  Scoutmasters then feel attacked and second guessed.

In my humble opinion - you give the Scoutmaster a lot of respect, but you need to have a troop culture where the leaders work as a team.  Going through the Scout's belongings will be something that will parents will be upset about.  As such, the Scoutmaster needs to be smarter about how he deals with concerns like contraband.   Hold inspections in the open.  If he really feels a search is warranted, perhaps a phone call first to the CC to discuss the concern and develop a mutual plan to address.  Then, if there is any sort of pushback it's now a troop problem - not a Scoutmaster problem.

As a parent, I wouldn't really care that much.  I'd be more concerned about the wasting of time and what my son will think about it.  Some of my sons would care less.  One of my sons would never get past it and it would setup future battles between the SM and him.

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1 hour ago, ParkMan said:

You're mixing two different things

  1.  @fred8033 was talking about the general case of whether troops should routinely do foot locker inspections before going to camp.  I accepted his argument that if troops are doing locker searches routinely (and presumably without prior cause) then adults are telling the scouts - "we don't trust you".
  2. In the specifc case here -  I agree.  if the Scoutmaster has a reason not to trust then yes, inspections are warranted.  

I don't think so. One of the reasons we do routine locker inspections at school is so students cannot claim that they have an expectation of privacy. This way, if and when a serious concern arises, the students cannot challenge a search. They have no expectation of privacy.

We are not saying, "We don't trust you."  We are saying, "We do not want to establish an expectation of privacy."

It is exactly the same with overnight trips (including scouts, sports, and band).  We do not want to have any policy, practice, or procedure that would legally establish an expectation of privacy.

 

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1 hour ago, Scoutmomonly said:

David CO I said half of the involved families. Not half the unit. I agree there is a unit issue. I have tried repeatedly to address this. The conversation is one sided. You can’t solve an issue when only one side sees an issue. 

The items found have not been prohibited/regulated in the previous four years these scouts attended this camp. Nor was their current status well communicated. 

Look, I’m all for following the rules and expectations. I’m a teacher. I also co-led this troop at this particular summer camp outing two years ago. I was unable to due to surgery last year. I get the struggles and liabilities.  I’ve been in this guy’s spot. However, I would never violate a scout by going through his personal belongings while he was out of camp. Especially not the older boys who have a more developed sense of identity. Maybe that’s because I’m a female and I am well aware of the delicate balance I would find myself in by doing that. But I think it is just basic human decency to stay out of things that don’t belong to you. If I had a concern, I would find a more respectful way to handle it.  Obviously, a more immediate threat would warrant a search. But let’s remember, he was concerned about wet clothes and trash initially. There was no perceived threat of any kind. 

Are you registered?  Are you trained as a member of committee?  Have you considered taking the scoutmaster training?

 

finally, the Guide to Safe Scouting applies ONLY to units operating outside a long term Scout Camp operated by the council. Scout Camps, from Day Camp up to the National bases, operate under National Camp Standards. A few Scout Camps, including Philmont Training Center, operate under American Camps Association accreditation.

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1 minute ago, David CO said:

I don't think so. One of the reasons we do routine locker inspections at school is so students cannot claim that they have an expectation of privacy. This way, if and when a serious concern arises, the students cannot challenge a search. They have no expectation of privacy.

We are not saying, "We don't trust you."  We are saying, "We do not want to establish an expectation of privacy."

It is exactly the same with overnight trips (including scouts, sports, and band).  We do not want to have any policy, practice, or procedure that would legally establish an expectation of privacy.

 

Fair point and understood.

I think ask just about any kid and they'd tell you that school administrators don't trust them.  Do we want to create the same relationship between Scoutmasters & Scouts? 

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1 minute ago, ParkMan said:

Fair point and understood.

I think ask just about any kid and they'd tell you that school administrators don't trust them.  Do we want to create the same relationship between Scoutmasters & Scouts? 

85% of the students at my school have never received an office referral. It is the other 15% who cause all the trouble. 

Most of my students aren't worried about the teachers or the administrators. They are worried about being targeted by the 15%. They want us to have the tools in place to deal with the troublemakers.

Once it is explained to students that these searches are a necessary tool in our efforts to protect them and keep them safe, most students are appreciative and cooperative. The other 15% object constantly.

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Posted (edited)

I'm comfortable to stipluate that an inspection is OK.  I don't see any rights issues with a youth who is voluntarily participating on a trip being asked to present that contents of his locker.  I'm quite OK that it can be done "on demand" so that the Scout doesn't have time to hide anything.  I grant the Libertarians may not agree - but this seems quite reasonable to me.

I tihnk you make the case well @David CO.  What you describe reminds me very much of my childhood in the 80's.  Locker searches were quite normal at school for that very reason.  But again, I had a very different relationship between Scoutmaster Joe & Vice Principal Smith.  Scoutmaster Joe was an advisor, a guide in Scouting.  Vice Principal Smith was the guy who had to maintain order and discipline in the school.  Two very different worlds. 

Now, since it was the 80's, if Scoutmaster Joe had required me to present the contents of my footlocker, I'd have done that.  I doubt I'd have thought much about it truthfully.  Today - just feels different.  To your point - if every Summer Camp it's just part of the process, then I supposed we'd get used to it - or find a new troop.

But, I guess I wonder do we really need to?  Our Troop's Scoutmaster would probably call foot locker searches a waste of time and simply say - "you're an adult I'm not going to check you locker.  But, if I see something I shouldn't see it's mine for the rest of the trip.  Put your locker in the trailer and let's get going."  

 

Edited by ParkMan
added a few more words
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7 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

 

What you describe reminds me very much of my childhood in the 80's. 

 

I was a teacher in the 80's.

I am less concerned about how these "trust" issues are changing the relationships between the Scoutmaster and the Scouts than I am with how they are changing the relationships between Scouts and other Scouts. This new tenting policy has me bewildered. A Scout is Trustworthy, but you can't sleep in the same tent together

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I think this is another case where BSA is 10 or 15 years behind the times. There should be no expectation of privacy on a scout outing. It's not a matter of trust, it's simply the current reality.  There should be no discussion here. Scoutmaster, camp personnel, other designated leaders should have ability to search backpacks at any time if they have just cause. Whether it's cell phones, medications that could make someone sick if not administered properly, or contraband snacks in bear territory, the SM and the camp and troop leaders shoulder the responsibility of keeping everyone safe. 

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20 minutes ago, yknot said:

I think this is another case where BSA is 10 or 15 years behind the times. There should be no expectation of privacy on a scout outing. It's not a matter of trust, it's simply the current reality.  There should be no discussion here. Scoutmaster, camp personnel, other designated leaders should have ability to search backpacks at any time if they have just cause. Whether it's cell phones, medications that could make someone sick if not administered properly, or contraband snacks in bear territory, the SM and the camp and troop leaders shoulder the responsibility of keeping everyone safe. 

I think everyone (well just about everyone) agrees that a search is fine.  The issue is whether a Scoutmaster should go through a Scouts belongings without telling the Scout first and having him/her present.  

 

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