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Is there a national ethics board to submit complaints of unethical behavior of scout leaders and council members?


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6 hours ago, fred8033 said:

… Not much you can do for the past.  Not much you can do about the other scout leader's registration.  BUT, you can let people know so that it does not happen again. 

 

Specifically, the troop can send a letter to the leader’s COR and IH advising them that, with regard to the advancement of a scout in your troop, this leader broke trust.

Regarding publicity, the troop could write a letter to the editor of the newspaper that this scout claimed an award under false pretense.

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15 minutes ago, qwazse said:

Specifically, the troop can send a letter to the leader’s COR and IH advising them that, with regard to the advancement of a scout in your troop, this leader broke trust.

Regarding publicity, the troop could write a letter to the editor of the newspaper that this scout claimed an award under false pretense.

You'd have to be careful with this... slander/libel territory

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28 minutes ago, qwazse said:

Specifically, the troop can send a letter to the leader’s COR and IH advising them that, with regard to the advancement of a scout in your troop, this leader broke trust.

Regarding publicity, the troop could write a letter to the editor of the newspaper that this scout claimed an award under false pretense.

The first is doable.

The second is not going to happen. The local paper is NOT going to publish a letter defaming another person and if they did both the paper and the author would be facing a defamation suit.

Edited by CynicalScouter
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1 hour ago, CynicalScouter said:

The first is doable.

The second is not going to happen. The local paper is NOT going to publish a letter defaming another person and if they did both the paper and the author would be facing a defamation suit.

I agree that the editor would not (and should not) publish a single letter regarding a single incident. However, it may be receiving reports of a pattern of incidents. The pattern could be regarding this one Eagle scout. (For example, he runs for office touting a prestigious resume. However, along with this evidence from the troop, the paper has on file a report of grade inflation, questionable signatures on a petition to be put on a ballot, etc ...) Or, it could be regarding multiple scouts. (E.g. -- this locality might have a spate of paper-pushing parents sweeping up accolades from multiple youth organizations. It might be a cultural phenomenon.) It could be that this council sweeps other things under the rug. (E.g. -- malfeasance with Eagle applications might also parallel a failure to report abuse to authorities.)

Before taking such action, it is fair to consider that the troop might be in the wrong. Maybe they've raised such a high bar that paperwork moves ridiculously slow, and the scout and his parent felt they had no other choice but to seek help beyond his own unit. It could be that this troop is unique in its troubles; however, If @UpstateNYCC is accurate in the depiction of events, the troop might wrongly feel alone, isolated, and left out to dry by council. One way to break this cycle is to communicate to the Fourth Estate. To be clear, I would not want to do this. As a rule I've kept the press at a distance from matters involving scouts. And, if a reporter asks for some exclusive interview from your leadership about some written statement, decline. Your statement should speak for itself. (Yes, I've disappointed a reporter by saying just that. Still, the paper quoted the statement, and we all saved time.)

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14 minutes ago, qwazse said:

However, it may be receiving reports of a pattern of incidents.

For 70 years, they barely mentioned the child sexual abuse.  I seriously doubt the newspapers will now be interested in a paper eagle story.  This is the least of the incidents we should be worried about right now.

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3 minutes ago, David CO said:

For 70 years, they barely mentioned the child sexual abuse.  I seriously doubt the newspapers will now be interested in a paper eagle story.  This is the least of the incidents we should be worried about right now.

I thought I made clear, @David CO, that if it's just a paper Eagle story, it should stop there. But how would one troop know if it is just that?

The political angle is a significant one where I live. Scout alumni in my district have been elected to public office. Scouters in my unit have run and are running for office (and even have their campaign signs on my property). If there was a hint of pretension in any of them, not only would they have my endorsement withdrawn, they would have my vocal opposition. If it were just me being a curmudgeon, I'm sure my observations would go nowhere. But, if someone in more than one or two other spheres also noted a cutting of corners ... it would amount to a lack of public confidence worth exploring. And, that's what reporters are for: to connect dots that we don't have time to observe.

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With regard to the newspaper issue....I would not put anything in the paper about the scout or the scoutmaster - there is enough bad PR about scouting out there.   I have a high regard to the scouting program for what it meant to my oldest son, and plenty of other people that have gone through it.  IMHO, the right way that this should have been taken care of is via council.

If the scout has any character (or gets any as he matures), he will deep in his heart know that he did not earn it, and will not mean the same as if he did.  

As far as the comment "it is fair to consider that the troop might be in the wrong. Maybe they've raised such a high bar that paperwork moves ridiculously slow, and the scout and his parent felt they had no other choice but to seek help beyond his own unit", for full disclosure this was not the case.  The application was submitted two weeks before the scout's 18th birthday (probably not enough time to get it approved and do the project), and our troop has averaged about an eagle a year.  Having said that, even if this was true, it does not justify forging signatures and having your mom write it for you.  There are plenty of ways to appeal this through council....if he had appealed through council and they awarded it anyways (which they always do). I would have been OK - that is the process.  But for another SM to forge signatures and submit it....that's another story.

By the way, I appreciate everyone's perspective on this.

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The scout in my situation was part of a broken home. He was with his mother and his sister was with his father. 

On what ended up being his last night with the troop, the SM and CC confronted the mother because their signatures had been forge on some of the documents. others had been forged as well. 

As that was going on I had a discussion with the Scout, it wasn't even about what was going on, just chatting with him, my son and a few other scouts to distract him from what was happening. But he knew. He broke down in tears and said he didn't earn the MB and didn't do the work for his project, it was all his mother. I asked him what he thought he should do. He said he should go back and do the work, I told him that sounded like the right thing and that we would help him. The kid was torn up about it, but as he explained, his mother wanted it so badly and he didn't know how to say no to her. He was very young, 12 or 13, and he just could not push back on his mother. 

As I said, he never returned to the troop. Over the next few weeks both adults and youth reached out to him and his mother to get him back to the troop and earn his Eagle the right way. We received no reply. 

A couple of months passed and his father and older sister show up and tell us he had "passed" his Eagle BoR in another district. They had not even been aware he was still in scouting and wanted to know what they could do, because they knew he hadn't earned it and were concerned about how he would handle it long term. 

A couple years later my son and I ran into him at an OA event. He was trying desperately to prove he was a good Eagle Scout, but the look in his eyes was sad. My son had been angry with him up until that point, then he just felt bad for the kid. 

That was the last we saw of him. He should have aged out by now, but I am almost positive that Eagle means nothing to him now, and will mean less in the future. 

 

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Thanks @HelpfulTracks. The larger problem, I think, is that Eagle rank has been oversold. I fight this constantly in my troop. New parents come in and think that our troop is something special because some of us adults are Eagle Scouts. Meanwhile, the majority of other adults have put heart and soul into the life of the troop, helping us in countless ways. We Eagle Scouts don’t do all that much besides wear a nice knot.

There’s a lot to be gained in taking pride in one’s advancement — be it Eagle or Tenderfoot. And it always breaks my heart when someone says, “I only earned [insert award that’s not Eagle here].” Drop the “only.” Remember your scouting career with pride!

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8 minutes ago, qwazse said:

New parents come in and think that our troop is something special because some of us adults are Eagle Scouts. Meanwhile, the majority of other adults have put heart and soul into the life of the troop, helping us in countless ways. We Eagle Scouts don’t do all that much besides wear a nice knot.

I have worked with Eagle scouts that had absolutely no business being an ASM or troop committee. They did NOT get it.

I have also worked with people with zero connections to scouting who come in as the den-leader-parent and KNOW how to operate a troop (committee side) or work with scouts (ASM) in ways that amaze me each day.

But there's an assumption, probably justified SOME times maybe even MOST times, that Eagle = knowing "how to scout".

My committee chair was an Eagle. He's said over and over "As a scout, I had no idea any of this (committee stuff) even existed." Right, because as a scout committees should be invisible or not notable. Etc.

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20 minutes ago, qwazse said:

The larger problem, I think, is that Eagle rank has been oversold. I fight this constantly in my troop. New parents come in and think that our troop is something special because some of us adults are Eagle Scouts. Meanwhile, the majority of other adults have put heart and soul into the life of the troop, helping us in countless ways. We Eagle Scouts don’t do all that much besides wear a nice knot.

There’s a lot to be gained in taking pride in one’s advancement — be it Eagle or Tenderfoot. And it always breaks my heart when someone says, “I only earned [insert award that’s not Eagle here].” Drop the “only.” Remember your scouting career with pride!

I absolutely agree. Parents too often think the troop exist to create Eagle Scouts, when I was unit leader I butted heads with adults over that more than everything else combined. 

I always told parents that our job is "to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law." If they leave here as an Eagle Scout with 10 palms and we have not accomplished that mission, we failed. If he leaves here as a Tenderfoot but we have accomplished the mission, it is huge success. 

I also tell parents that it is the youths scouting experience, not theirs, not mine, not anyone beside his. He mist decide what is import, that may or may not be Eagle, and that is not just fine, it is great. 

I had a vision for my sons scouting experience, but I was discipline enough (just barely) to let him decide is own path. He initially wanted to get his Eagle earlier than me and get more merit badges. But somewhere along the way his focus changed to OA, leadership training and high adventure. He still got his Eagle, but missed his initial goals, but the things he accomplished in other areas far far surpassed anything I did. Its been an awesome journey to watch too. 

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46 minutes ago, HelpfulTracks said:

... I had a vision for my sons scouting experience, but I was discipline enough (just barely) to let him decide is own path. He initially wanted to get his Eagle earlier than me and get more merit badges. But somewhere along the way his focus changed to OA, leadership training and high adventure. He still got his Eagle, but missed his initial goals, but the things he accomplished in other areas far far surpassed anything I did. Its been an awesome journey to watch too. 

It's like those Arrowmen are evil twins to my Venturing. I am the guy in the troop who says, "Squirrel!"

And that's why I stump that our goal is to imbue in youth a vision of the pinnacle scouting experience of hiking and camping independently with your mates.

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37 minutes ago, qwazse said:

It's like those Arrowmen are evil twins to my Venturing. I am the guy in the troop who says, "Squirrel!"

And that's why I stump that our goal is to imbue in youth a vision of the pinnacle scouting experience of hiking and camping independently with your mates.

Indeed - my son is finishing up his Scouting career (youth phase) this year in Venturing and Sea Scouts. He has never really pursued rank in either until recently and realized he had already completed so many of the requirements by being so active, now he is trying to complete both Summit and Quartermaster. Same is true for the Outdoor Achievement medal. I am actually nudging him a bit for that one for one reason, it will force him to master lifesaving and think that is a valuable skill to have. 

Interesting thing. He had been so active for so long, he felt a little burned out when he went off to college. Then he realized how much be missed it and this past Summer was a blitz of activity. He is planning the same for next Summer, his last before turning 21.  

If I had to sum up one thing I am most proud of, it will be his overcoming the fear of water. He was terrified of water when he was younger. It took a very long time for him to even attempt the swim for First Class, we were not sure he was even going to try. After he made that, he got his swimming merit badge, and has since canoed countless miles, completed Sea Scouts SEAL training, attended Sea Base with OA and wants to do Northerner Tier with OA, and is in process to complete the mile swim, lifesaving and life guard. requirements.

If not for Scouting I do not think I could have ever gotten him into the water. 

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