Jump to content
logistician24

Guidance on Discipline

Recommended Posts

There has been an issue I have noticed over the past year pertaining to one of our Scouts in particular.  He is an older scout both in rank and age and shows no respect to adult leadership nor to his fellow Scouts.  He also has been accused of smoking "pot".  This allegedly happened during the outside "recess" time given to our Scouts after the formal portion of the meeting at our charted organization location.  The parent that reported him chose to not send her son to Summer Camp this year mainly because of this Scout and his antics.  The Scoutmaster addressed this concern with the Scout and his mother and the accusation was denied by the Scout.  However, when the Scoutmaster and the mom were speaking she told him that they give him at him drug tests; some of which he passes and some of which he fails.  Now, I have been told by one of my Committee members that what happens outside of Scouts stays outside of Scouts.  My argument is that once a Scout-always a Scout and there is no timeline, meaning they are not Scouts only on Monday evenings from 7-8:30pm, weekend trips and summer camps, they are Scouts 24/7.  I pretty much got bombarded with everyone arguing against me so I chose to stand-down.  Can I get clarification on that thought?

This year at Summer Camp, the Scout in question told younger Scouts, both in rank and age, that he has THC with him and that he stole items from the Trading Post.  Once I found out I asked the 2 boys to speak with the Scoutmaster.  After the two boys spoke with the SM, we had a Leaders meeting to which I suggested he call the mom and let her know what's going on.  I also suggested that she pick him up from summer camp.  After he spoke with her the other Assistant Scoutmaster reported that the Scout was attempting to start a fire with matches inside an unattended fire ring also not our main fire ring and he was also shining a laser pointer through the woods.  Again, the SM call the mom, and insisted she come first thing in the morning to pick him up.  She insisted giving him a second chance, little did she remember he was attending summer camp on a second chance. It was specifically stated that if the Scout misbehaves so much so to cause disruption and or brings items from the "do not pack list", the parent is responsible for picking them up from camp.  

He was given another second chance.  The boys that told us what that Scout was saying he did, were now afraid of retaliation and also concerned that nothing was being done.  Also a younger Scout mentioned that he doesn't feel safe when that Scout is around him.  I am going to bring up to the Committee that we suspend him for three months.  My concern is that some of the members seem to turn a blind eye and say "oh boys will be boys" and make light of it.  I think that also is because they are friends of his parents and no one wants to be the bad guy or affiliated with enforcing our handbook policy.  

With this long story, I am sure I left something out, but I am reaching out for your guidance and suggestions moving forward. 

Thank you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a little confused on how the report of drug possession was basically blown off and ignored. Or was there more to it? unless I'm reading this wrong, he told other scouts he had weed, it was reported to the SM, and... nothing happened?

He possibly had drugs at a scouting event, in camp, and was allowed to stay without consequence. What am I missing here?

 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the youth had drugs at a Scout camp, the Camp Director wouldn't even give the unit the option of "a second chance", he would need to go immediately.  I am a believer that behavior outside of scouting, when it involves acting directly against the values of the Oath and Law, are significant.  Truly, the actions of this youth were/are being noticed by the other scouts, and that is directly affecting the unit morale and cannot be ignored.  I'm a bit lost on why the option was for the parent to come in the morning- I would have had him sent home ASAP.

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We would at this point require a parent attend camp and activities. That generally forces actions one way or another. 

Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Without delving into details ...

The boy needs to be suspended from the troop. It sounds like he does not want to be a scout (a scout is trustworthy, ... obedient, ... clean). Give him three to six months of not being one. Then he can call if he wants back in. That is how you offer a second chance.

Note, I have learned from this forum that some councils want their DE's to be informed of suspended scouts. So, let your DE know what you're planning to do. They may be able to provide the mom with some helpful resources.

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, logistician24 said:

 

I am reaching out for your guidance and suggestions moving forward. 

 

It sounds like you are an ASM, and you disagree with how the SM is dealing with these situations. You may be right, but I would still suggest that you let the SM take the lead in making disciplinary decisions. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not getting into the smoking pot at a meeting and on the property of the CO, which unless your CO is a dispensary, I am gong to assume they would not be in favor, let's deal with summer camp.

The mom does not really get to "insist" he gets a second chance.  You, from what was stated, were well beyond that.  Mom comes and get him, end of story.  There were certainly some issues that need to be resolved.

In maybe 20 years we have sent two scouts home from camp, we go to two camps each summer, maybe 50 at one and 25 at the other, so a large group.  In both cases what the Scout did was not the main issue, the main issue was disregard for the Youth leaders and in some cases the adults.  The most recent one we called mom and she wanted to know if he said he was really sorry, could he stay.  We advised the troop was well beyond that.  It was 9:00 am, she or dad needed to be there by noon.  

We are a Scout troop and we want to work and build youth, challenge is sometimes we are not the correct vehicle to do that work.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for the responses, input and guidance.  Knowing what I know now, I feel like I have the confidence to push for the three month suspension at the upcoming Committee meeting.  

So you all know, I am the Committee Chair and I feel like the other board members never want to see or hear what really goes on.  They only look through rose colored glasses and make excuses for behaviors.  

I am unfamiliar with what a DE is, so if someone could please let me know, that would be great.

Also, is there refresher training I can take, or is it easier to repeat the online leadership training?  

I told the SM at summer camp, I would support his decision, with the understanding that I was standing firm on his mom picking him up.  The reasoning for her not to was because we were out of council and about a four hour drive.  I know......no excuse.  The SM said, on what firm grounds do we have to send him home other than two Scouts coming forward with information and taking his lighter.  I realize this was a week ago and over and done with, I just wish I had stuck firm and insisted he go home. 

I am grateful/relieved to read that there is agreement to being a Scout 24/7 and the Scouts should live by the Scout Law/Oath.  I go to all the camping events because of an incident that took place last year with my son being cyber-bullied and bullied at meetings by some of them.  I feel the need to keep a good watchful eye on the boys.  I think good Boy Scout leaders are developed by good Adult Leaders.  However, I keep getting told to not interject and redirect.....it's boy lead so let them lead.  

I guess I am not sure what my boundaries are and I do not want to overstep.  

Thank you all for allowing me this opportunity to tell you my situation.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BTW, @logistician24, welcome to the forums!

Sorry for excessive acronyms. DE= District Executive.

The last time dealt with something like this, the CC and SM brought any concerned parents to the meeting. The parent of the scout was not there. We all listened, then advised. The CC and SM then visited the parent and scout.

The scout did send me an apology for his behavior (as, I assume, he did other leaders) He said he'd try to come back to scouting, but never did.

Yes, there is a fine line between watching like a hawk and hovering like a swarm of mosquitoes. Figuring it out varies with the integrity of your scouts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DE means District Executive.  A DE is a paid professional who works for your council.

You mentioned you have a troop handbook.  What does it say?  Who is responsible for deciding issues of discipline in your troop: the Scoutmaster or the Troop Committee?  Before going to your DE / council, I would recommend talking with your Chartered Org. Rep.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@logistician24, I had a scout bring pot to summer camp. Long story short (because everyone else has heard it) the camp director was told, he called the sheriff, the scout was put in to the legal system (and went home that day), and eventually he was removed from scouting because he just didn't understand that he did something wrong. He knew he got caught and that was a problem, but he never understood that a 16 year old can't smoke pot. You're absolutely right to see this as a problem. And since you are the CC, you do have some say in the matter. You oversee the SM.

This was a miserable time for me (I was the SM at the time). I also talked to the CC about this. We had a good relationship.

Good luck.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This isn't something you are going to get answered from a web forum. You'll want to engage your District Executive and a Unit Commissioner if you have one. I'm not sure what you were told when you took on your role as Committee Chair, but here is the job description from the BSA. https://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Troop_Committee_Chair. While not a BSA publication, it cites the Troop Committee Guidebook, which is an official publication of the BSA. 

My own thoughts:

I'm a big proponent of Scouts being in charge and leading themselves.  Still, the role of adults is to establish what the rules are and to define proper conduct. Bullying, hazing, or substance use isn't something where "the Scouts get to lead." I'll often allow my senior Scouts to resolve low grade bullying issues, but I'll be present and consulted. More serious bullying issues, hazing or substance use issues are going to be handled by adults. 

What's the point of all this if we don't hold Scouts to acting like Scouts outside of the troop meetings and outings? Isn't the whole point of this to help them develop into better adults for their whole lives? If we're ignoring Scouts conduct outside of Scouts, why are we going through this whole process? The point of all this isn't just that we teach them to be good Scouts while at Scouting events, but that we support all the other positive influences in their lives to help them be better individuals in their whole lives.

 If a Scout is having run in with authority figures, whether school, parents or the legal system, if I'm a SM or CC I would want to know. The adult leadership of the troop should advise what they believe the troop's responsibility is to it's members regarding that Scout. There are varying levels of grey zone here. Ultimately the Scoutmaster and Committee Chair need to decide what they want to do, and the chartering organization through it's Chartered Organization Representative might have an opinion. 

I don't like to speculate about these specific situations, because I don't know enough about the situation to be helpful, but I'll outline a few more thoughts:

  • The Committee Chair is the ultimate volunteer in a Scout Troop. They are responsible for the entire Troop. The Scoutmaster is responsible for supervision of the youth and program, but the Committee Chair is supposed to oversee the Scoutmaster. Typically this is a less formal and more cooperative relationship. 
  • If other Scouts feel threatened by this Scout, combined with the drug usage, that's a serious problem. Most Scouts don't want to rock the boat and go to adults, so if you're hearing this, you should take it seriously. This isn't something you have the Committee vote on. This is something where you as the Committee Chair gather facts from all the relevant parties, and present your plan to the Committee. They can give their two cents if they'd like, but you aren't under any obligation to follow anybody's opinion's. As Committee Chair, you are responsible for the welfare of your Scouts, the future of your Troop, and the reputation of your Chartered Organization. 
  • The Committee is there to advise you and handle duties you've delegated to them. It's nice and beneficial to have consensus on tough decisions, but good leadership does what is right for the group, not blow around fecklessly to the winds of popular opinion.  
  • Trouble Scout is still one of your Scout's, so you should try to partner with his family to support what efforts they are making to correct his behavior. If they are not willing or unable to correct his behavior you are faced with suspending him until they figure it out. 

Sounds like your unit has a lot of folks trying to be in charge of this situation. As I and others have said, you'll want to engage your District Executive and Unit Commissioner for support, and potentially your unit's Chartered Organization Representative.

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Because the scout is accused of possessing and using marijuana on the Chartered Organization's property, I think it is absolutely necessary to inform the COR (even if this means that the investigation and decision making process might be taken out of the hands of the unit leadership). 

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, David CO said:

Because the scout is accused of possessing and using marijuana on the Chartered Organization's property, I think it is absolutely necessary to inform the COR (even if this means that the investigation and decision making process might be taken out of the hands of the unit leadership). 

Concur. The chartered partner has every right to protect its good name. 

Pin addition, I’m certain in a lot of states, this is an outright violation of the law, AND a reportable youth protection event. 

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, logistician24 said:

 The Scoutmaster addressed this concern with the Scout and his mother and the accusation was denied by the Scout.  However, when the Scoutmaster and the mom were speaking she told him that they give him drug tests; some of which he passes and some of which he fails.  Now, I have been told by one of my Committee members that what happens outside of Scouts stays outside of Scouts.  My argument is that once a Scout-always a Scout and there is no timeline, meaning they are not Scouts only on Monday evenings from 7-8:30pm, weekend trips and summer camps, they are Scouts 24/7.  I pretty much got bombarded with everyone arguing against me so I chose to stand-down.  Can I get clarification on that thought?

Sure. The 24/7 thing applies for some things, but not for others. Exactly where it applies is a source of constant disagreement between scouters both on this forum and in the real world. 

As a practical matter, most unit leaders don't want to take on the roles of police/lawyers/courts. We don't want our committee meetings to turn into a courtroom drama. We leave that sort of thing to the professionals.

I would not penalize the family for volunteering information about the drug testing. While it is not a privileged conversation, penalizing the family would discourage others from engaging in open and frank conversations in the future.

Edited by David CO
  • Upvote 2

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

×