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1 hour ago, Scoutmomonly said:

 Everyone makes mistakes and part of modeling good scouting and leadership requires one to admit their’s. 

There is a disagreement. I'm not sure that there was a mistake. It doesn't do any good to insist that someone admit to a mistake when not everyone agrees that a mistake was made. Better to call it a disagreement.

When you talk with the boys, you should help them to understand that opinions may differ on this question. Practices vary from place to place and person to person. This might help turn this into a conversation rather than an accusation.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/19/2019 at 8:38 AM, David CO said:

 

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. 

If your school is conducting blanket searches of personal belongings, it's violating the law.  A student's rights under the 4th amendment are only bent a little, not waived completely.  If the school has made it clear that lockers are NOT personal, they have every right to open and search the lockers whenever they wish.  But this right doesn't extend to searching through the contents of any containers (like a purse or backpack) within the locker.  So you can go through and find the bag, books, coat and shoes in the locker, but you don't have the right to extend your search to opening and going through the bag inside the locker or turning out the pockets of the coat.

The only way to for a school to gain the right to search the person or personal belongings of a student is if they have a credible suspicion of a threat or risk or crime and the credible threat has to be based upon articulable reasons, not just "They were acting suspicious" or "I had a hunch".  And even then, the search has to be reasonable given the suspicion.  So if you had a tip that a student had a gun, that wouldn't give a school official the authority to search a student's wallet because there is not reasonable possibility of a gun being inside the wallet.

https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/research/education-law/students-have-privacy-rights-under-the-fourth-amendment.html

https://www.uscourts.gov/educational-resources/educational-activities/facts-and-case-summary-new-jersey-v-tlo

*edited*  Having read more detail further along in the thread after I posted this, I'll amend my statement to differentiate blanket searches of bags during the school day or on mandatory trips, and searches that might be well advertised and voluntary conditions of participation in an extra-curricular activity.

Edited by elitts
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Posted (edited)
On 6/19/2019 at 11:14 PM, yknot said:

Why would a scout need to be present? More important that two adults are present so that nothing can be "planted" on a kid. Frankly, it's only scouts where kids' luggage, backpacks, etc., is not routinely subject to adult search. BSA needs to get with the times. Class trips, sports team travel, band trips, it all gets searched no bones, no big deal about it. I applaud that scoutmaster. 

 

Mandatory blanket searches of bags isn't legal for schools, regardless of whether or not they do it. (perhaps excepting voluntary trips where a search is an announced condition of attendance)  So the reason the scout should be present is the same reason they should be present for a search for a school trip; the student or scout should be offered the option of either opening their bag up for inspection, or not attending the trip.

It's the same principle as inspections by the TSA, you don't HAVE to let TSA search your bags just because you are in an airport, you only have to submit to the search if you wish to access controlled areas of the airport.  Everyone has the right to decide "No, I don't want to be searched, I'll leave instead".

Edited by elitts

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On 6/20/2019 at 8:05 AM, walk in the woods said:

I don't know.  Im hearin the argument on the bag search is we should build trust with scouts.  But, the argument in the tent rule is we can't trust the 17 year old scout weve known for 6 years not to abuse a younger scout.

The tent rule eliminates the possibility of an older scout acting as mentor and big brother to a younger scout.

The difference between a bag search and the scout age difference is in the level of harm and irrepairability of harm if an offense occurs.  If a scout brings porn, or drugs, or a weapon on a camp-out there is still a secondary opportunity to do something about the problem.  Because of this, simple possession of one contraband doesn't represent the level of potential harm that should be needed to not go with "trust the scouts" as a standard.  But if a 17 year old does something to a 12 year old in their tent at night, the harm is immediate and lasting and essentially un-fixable so a more intrusive, less trusting method of prevention is warranted.

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On 6/20/2019 at 12:05 PM, John-in-KC said:

MODERATOR NOTE...

Scouter dot com is not a legal forum, and cannot give advice on the law. If you are posting advice, please also post your State and Bar license number. 

Thank you. 

I hope you appreciate the fact that I am showing great restraint by not replying to the posts of those who are claiming to understand the law regarding school searches. It's not easy. It really isn't.

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I really don't see the connection with school bag/locker searches and a search on a scout trip.  School is mandatory and a function of the government.  Scouting is voluntary and not organized by the government.  They are different.

If I were writing some guidelines on how to search a scouts belongings, it would go something like:

- two adults approach the scout and tell the Scout they have a reason to search the scout' s belongings

- if the Scout objects, an immediate call is made to the parent and the scout goes home.

- if the Scout agrees to the search, it is done in full visibility of the Scout.  Any items confiscated are jointly acknowledged.

- items are returned after the event.

- if something is found of grave consequence a phone call is made to the parents and the scout goes home.

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On 6/21/2019 at 3:24 PM, David CO said:

I am surprised at the number of people who are shocked at the idea that a scout leader might see their son's underwear. I grew up in the days when many people still dried their laundry outdoors on a clothes line. We would have laughed at the idea of a boy being embarrassed about a scout leader seeing his underwear. 

That's not my problem with the routine searches.  First, there is accountability. I don't want a scout leader rifling through scouts' stuff without good reason and especially not without a witness.  Second, there are the basic trust issues.  Unless a scout gives a reason that they can't be trusted, they should be trusted. That's the way I was with my own sons, and I would do no differently with other people's sons.  That in no way means I don't think a scout leader (or parent) should never search luggage, just that it shouldn't be a routine thing.  It's just basic freedom and liberty.  I really don't understand why everybody is surprised at my views.   

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On 6/21/2019 at 4:05 PM, Pale Horse said:

Nah, chances are they're still clean. Everyone knows Scouts don't change underwear at camp.

Well, most of them are clean.  

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1 hour ago, elitts said:

If your school is conducting blanket searches of personal belongings, it's violating the law.  A student's rights under the 4th amendment are only bent a little, not waived completely.  If the school has made it clear that lockers are NOT personal, they have every right to open and search the lockers whenever they wish.  But this right doesn't extend to searching through the contents of any containers (like a purse or backpack) within the locker.  So you can go through and find the bag, books, coat and shoes in the locker, but you don't have the right to extend your search to opening and going through the bag inside the locker or turning out the pockets of the coat.

The only way to for a school to gain the right to search the person or personal belongings of a student is if they have a credible suspicion of a threat or risk or crime and the credible threat has to be based upon articulable reasons, not just "They were acting suspicious" or "I had a hunch".  And even then, the search has to be reasonable given the suspicion.  So if you had a tip that a student had a gun, that wouldn't give a school official the authority to search a student's wallet because there is not reasonable possibility of a gun being inside the wallet.

https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/research/education-law/students-have-privacy-rights-under-the-fourth-amendment.html

https://www.uscourts.gov/educational-resources/educational-activities/facts-and-case-summary-new-jersey-v-tlo

*edited*  Having read more detail further along in the thread after I posted this, I'll amend my statement to differentiate blanket searches of bags during the school day or on mandatory trips, and searches that might be well advertised and voluntary conditions of participation in an extra-curricular activity.

IIRC, DavidCO is at a private school, so in that case they have the right to search.  It's not a governmental thing.  

31 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

I really don't see the connection with school bag/locker searches and a search on a scout trip.  School is mandatory and a function of the government.  Scouting is voluntary and not organized by the government.  They are different.

If I were writing some guidelines on how to search a scouts belongings, it would go something like:

- two adults approach the scout and tell the Scout they have a reason to search the scout' s belongings

- if the Scout objects, an immediate call is made to the parent and the scout goes home.

- if the Scout agrees to the search, it is done in full visibility of the Scout.  Any items confiscated are jointly acknowledged.

- items are returned after the event.

- if something is found of grave consequence a phone call is made to the parents and the scout goes home.

The above is very reasonable.  

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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

I really don't see the connection with school bag/locker searches and a search on a scout trip.  School is mandatory and a function of the government.  Scouting is voluntary and not organized by the government.  They are different.

If I were writing some guidelines on how to search a scouts belongings, it would go something like:

- two adults approach the scout and tell the Scout they have a reason to search the scout' s belongings

- if the Scout objects, an immediate call is made to the parent and the scout goes home.

- if the Scout agrees to the search, it is done in full visibility of the Scout.  Any items confiscated are jointly acknowledged.

- items are returned after the event.

- if something is found of grave consequence a phone call is made to the parents and the scout goes home.

They are definitely different, but to my mind the reason why any connection is drawn between them is that a large percentage of the US population agrees with the idea that rights in any situation should be infringed as minimally as possible, so long as a minimal level of safety (though undoubtably there are arguments about that that "minimal level of safety" should be) can be provided to children.  School searches simply represents a well documented area that is at least similar to what we are talking about with scouting so it provide a jumping off point for the scouting discussion.

That said, I think what you've stated is a very reasonable way to handle things.

Edited by elitts

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6 minutes ago, perdidochas said:

IIRC, DavidCO is at a private school, so in that case they have the right to search.  It's not a governmental thing.  

True. But you might also recall that I was an elected school board member for my communities public grade schools and middle school. That was very much a governmental thing. I agree that public schools and parochial schools are not the same.

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My two cents on the topic.

Chartered Partner asserts its ownership of the unit with a written mandate to Scouts and Scouters alike:

We will follow BSA policies of no weapons, alcohol, tobacco , vaping materials etc may be possessed by any Scout or Scouter at Boy Scout Reservations

We will follow Camp Whodunit, BSAs policy of an adult supervising administration of medications .  Four adults, to provide two pair of two deep leadership, will hold and supervise dispensing of meds per the Scout’s daily schedule.

The leaders of Troop 123 will load for camp the night before departure. During loading, each Scout and Scouters camp box or backpack will be thoroughly checked for unauthorized/illegal materials. This include the handover of medications and dispensing times to leadership.  Materials found will be given to the parents, but the

The consequence for possessing the materials above is Parent pick up of their youth at camp, termination of the youths membership, notification of the local council under applicable child abuse law, and handover of the youths’ records in Troop 123 to the family  

 

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Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, John-in-KC said:

My two cents on the topic.

Chartered Partner asserts its ownership of the unit with a written mandate to Scouts and Scouters alike:

We will follow BSA policies of no weapons, alcohol, tobacco , vaping materials etc may be possessed by any Scout or Scouter at Boy Scout Reservations

We will follow Camp Whodunit, BSAs policy of an adult supervising administration of medications .  Four adults, to provide two pair of two deep leadership, will hold and supervise dispensing of meds per the Scout’s daily schedule.

The leaders of Troop 123 will load for camp the night before departure. During loading, each Scout and Scouters camp box or backpack will be thoroughly checked for unauthorized/illegal materials. This include the handover of medications and dispensing times to leadership.  Materials found will be given to the parents, but the

The consequence for possessing the materials above is Parent pick up of their youth at camp, termination of the youths membership, notification of the local council under applicable child abuse law, and handover of the youths’ records in Troop 123 to the family  

 

I wouldn't be a leader for your Troop, sorry to say.  That said, it's not as bad as the situation in the OP. At least it's a standard policy and the scouts are aware of it.    

Edited by perdidochas
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At our camp, the Medical Staff hold ALL medications for ALL Scouts. Prescriptions MUST be in their original containers. OTC medications MUST be in their original sealed packaging. All medications MUST match what is on the BSA Health Record. If the Scout uses an asthma inhaler or any number of self-injectible meds (EpiPen, Insulin, etc.), they can carry one, and a second must be turned in to the Medical Staff. Adults may hold their own medications, but they must be stored safely (locked in footlocker, for instance). For other trips, an adult is designated to hold and dispense all medications. 

As for "contraband" items, I have found over the years that very few Scouts can keep said item to themselves, and someone will turn them in- the usual offense is phone posession. I have been a Scout leader in many capacities for a long time, and I have never had occasion to search a Scout's footlocker at camp, or even to enter a Scout tent unless there was a medical emergency. That has happened exactly once, and I had another adult and the Scout's tent-mate with me, and most of the Troop standing around outside the open flaps. 

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