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The BSA should get tough on scouts and scouters violating inclusion policies


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11 hours ago, AwakeEnergyScouter said:

And let's also not pretend that girls and boys scouting together is some radical, newfangled thing that's actually outside the US Overton window that some radical radicals are trying to force the BSA and every single individual inside the BSA to adopt as part of a daring cultural war caper to ruin the BSA and/or America. Like... Where is this narrative even coming from?

In case someone needs to hear this, the pack we joined was in the family pack pilot (so parents approve of scouting together and committee voted to enter the pilot), and every single committee member with a son in the pack has at some point or other expressed either gratitude for the girls being there or feminist pride in the girls' achievements. When we joined, they were already ignoring the separate dens by gender rule and the effective dens were just by age. The girls in our pack are actively wanted and the parents have self-selected into that because it's right on the "Family Pack" label. I had to do zero - absolutely none - pitching for gender equality or DEI to the committee, they were already acting out what I think should be done when we showed up, which of course is why we stayed and invested time and money into the pack. (I was asked to join the committee, and asked to take over as CM when the old CM wanted to transition to CC.) Everyone on the committee was a scout themselves in their youth, so this is not some outsider takeover to make it a family pack. The parent so happy about a female sweep of the Pinewood Derby podium in Women's History Month is an Eagle. There are absolutely male BSA members who want girls and LGBTQIA+ folks in too - in his case, the same reasons as mine. The committee is basically a friend group.

Speaking of unit membership policies - I haven't heard a single peep from anyone ever in the direction of banning single-gender units, and yet the question of whether single gender packs and troops are allowed keeps being asked even though the answer to that is also settled. I don't get why anyone would want that but apparently people do, and as long as them doing it doesn't interfere with my scouts' ability to scout together it doesn't hurt my scouts in any way if they do that. The only need to oppose single-gender units would come if they struggle with loyalty to their fellow scouts of the opposite gender. This shouldn't be a problem. I would like to think that if it occurs, it can be solved by working with the Scout Law some more rather than banning a unit type that there is demand for.

So, like FireStone was emphasizing, what's notable isn't so much that logistics and membership policy details could change but that there does seem to be a group of scouts and scouters who are trying to get certain scouts to quit, and that this seems to be nominally tolerated by the BSA and the BSA scouting community. I mean... Do I really spell out why that's contrary to the Scout Law? Surely not.

Since you mentioned "Do I really spell out why that's contrary to the Scout Law?"... can you help me understand how a Pack "ignoring the separate dens by gender rule" isn't contrary to the Scout Law? Does that teach our Scouts that a Scout is Trustworthy? Ignoring rules that don't fit our agenda ("my scouts' ability to scout together") and then making reference to the Scout Law is rich.

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There certainly is room for discussion on those points, and on CO rights when it comes to membership, etc. My concern here is not about individual units, or CO discretion when it comes to who they all

My apologies for not understanding This is a challenging time for young people. Politics and cultural extremisms are driving everyone to pick a side with no gray area. Life was simple when I

Haters gonna hate. It’s hard to toe a hard line as BSA risks losing those who disagree.  Not meant as an excuse, just a reality.  Important thing is that BSA stays on track and does not waiver.  Chang

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41 minutes ago, ToKindle96 said:

Ignoring rules that don't fit our agenda ("my scouts' ability to scout together") and then making reference to the Scout Law is rich.

Let's be careful here...

Rules (and rulemakers) cannot perfectly address all situations.  Just like laws (and lawmakers) cannot.

There has to be room for judgment, common sense, and matters of conscience.

For example, take something simple like the speed limit.  It is the law.  Day to day, I obey it, even though it is really inconvenient.  (Yes, I am that guy on the road, in the right lane with cruise control set to the speed limit 😜 ) But, if I am transporting a Scout to the emergency room, you can bet your boots I am speeding.  I will break that law.  The situation demands it.

For most BSA rules and policies, although they are inconvenient, I obey them.   But I leave room for judgment, common sense, and matters of conscience.  For example, when my son asked to have a friend (who happens to be a Scout) sleep over, and friend's parents approve, it is fine with me, whether my wife is home or not.  I assert that BSA rules take no precedence over my private family life.

The case you cite is dead on, though... and exposes a hypocrisy.  I see many unit leaders shrug off rules and policies, simply because it is inconvenient.  IMO, these folks are dangerous, as they place themselves above rules, policies, and laws, in more and more situations, out of convenience.  These are the ones who slide down the slippery slope and get to the point where they ignore the rationale behind a certain rule, policy (or law).   And they can wind up getting other people (including youth) hurt or killed.

I'll list multiple examples of this, if you care...

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7 hours ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

The forum you spoke of in your OP was not a public forum.  (And this is not a public forum either...)  Could/should someone have stepped in?  That was primarily up to whomever owns/moderates that forum.  If you thought it was egregious or threatening, did you speak up there?

Instagram is a public forum. And the BSA is tagging the troops they repost content from, so the scouts and scouters in those troops can (and do) see the comments. 

Yes I spoke up, as I intend to do anywhere I see this stuff, as well as share my concerns directly with whoever at National I can get to listen, starting with folks like Lisa Schuchart.

7 hours ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

In a public forum, people have the freedom of speech.  In a public forum, you have the right to not listen.

So... what then? Adults should tell their scouts to not look at the posts the BSA tagged their troop in because of peoples' right to make hateful comments aimed at those scouts? Why do the kids have to look the other way on posts that the BSA is making, which should be a space that all scouts and scouters should feel welcome to view and engage in?

The BSA has no obligation to allow any comments on their social media posts. Free speech means you can say what you want without government interference. Nothing about free speech says the BSA has to platform hateful comments on their own posts.

Free speech also doesn't absolve anyone of YPT rules and regulations and the consequences of violating them.

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31 minutes ago, FireStone said:

Why do the kids have to look the other way on posts that the BSA is making, which should be a space that all scouts and scouters should feel welcome to view and engage in?

Because the world where that space is...doesn't exist. 

That doesn't mean we stop trying to make it so, however, it will probably never be 100% copacetic. 

 

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39 minutes ago, FireStone said:

Instagram is a public forum. And the BSA is tagging the troops they repost content from, so the scouts and scouters in those troops can (and do) see the comments. 

Yes I spoke up, as I intend to do anywhere I see this stuff, as well as share my concerns directly with whoever at National I can get to listen, starting with folks like Lisa Schuchart.

So... what then? Adults should tell their scouts to not look at the posts the BSA tagged their troop in because of peoples' right to make hateful comments aimed at those scouts? Why do the kids have to look the other way on posts that the BSA is making, which should be a space that all scouts and scouters should feel welcome to view and engage in?

The BSA has no obligation to allow any comments on their social media posts. Free speech means you can say what you want without government interference. Nothing about free speech says the BSA has to platform hateful comments on their own posts.

Free speech also doesn't absolve anyone of YPT rules and regulations and the consequences of violating them.

Agree with much of this.  If Instagram is a public forum (and it is, because government officials use it to engage with the public) then people can say whatever the heck they want.

Now, BSA tagging and reposting IS a problem.  But that is on BSA...

And yes, adults should tell their Scouts to ignore posts that BSA has tagged for their Troop, exactly because they (as you say) seem to allow people who make hateful comments.  Your Scouts need to learn to speak up to confront, or ignore, just as you and I do.   There are a lot of hateful people in the world... you are not going to shield your Scouts from them, so teach your Scouts to recognize them and how to deal with them.

Again, BSA seemingly "endorsing" content by tagging and reposting is problematic... such is a danger of social media.  I tell my Scouts about these dangers in all social media, and explain to them this is but one of the reasons I do not use it. 

IMO, social media has given a platform for arrogant personalities to amplify, aggregate, and confirm their arrogance and hostility.  (Many times, without any repercussions.) Which is again, why I do not use it.  You can function fine, in fact, even better, in the world without it.

The draw of social media is that it creates an illusion of "missing out."  And fear of missing out (FOMO) drives a lot of adults and youth to social media.  Tell your Scouts that social media is not their friend.  Social media exists primarily, to use and exploit them through data mining, advertising and monetizing content.  And "... the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil."  Tell your Scouts that, in social media, THEY (and their data) are the product being harvested and sold.  Help them see it for what it really is.

https://socialmediavictims.org/mental-health/fomo/

Concur that BSA has no obligation to allow...  and BSA should not "platform hateful comments on their own posts."  Again, sounds like you are railing at BSA primarily, and the haters secondarily...  Tell BSA your opinion that they should either 1) police they content they are endorsing, 2) shutoff the comment features (if they can do that), or 3) abandon the scourge that social media is.

 

 

 

Edited by InquisitiveScouter
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Sadly, at least in our society, it seems as if the concepts on which Scouting is built, again what we all Scout Spirit, are too often seen as out of the main stream, or quaint.  We come back to the slurring tone of "you are such a Boy Scout", and so on.  Well, being a Boy Scout is a positive thing in my view.  And that includes the modern model that includes girls, women, and any that can abide by the Spirit.

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3 hours ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

Your Scouts need to learn to speak up to confront, or ignore, just as you and I do.  There are a lot of hateful people in the world... you are not going to shield your Scouts from them, so teach your Scouts to recognize them and how to deal with them.

I thought that one of the points of YPT was to, in fact, shield scouts from people wishing to do harm? A lot of YPT is about prevention. Allowing hateful comments to remain on BSA social media posts (many remain and aren't deleted) seems like it would go against what we're trained to do, to stop the harm from continuing.

We wouldn't just opt to ignore bullying comments made in-person, we respond to them, stop them, and address the scout or scouts making them.

Comments made to make scouts feel unwelcome in the BSA constitute bullying, no matter where they happen. We certainly can't shield scouts from them everywhere, certainly not all over the Internet, but we should be able to react to them with the world of scouting in, in our units, camps, and the online social environments that we can control, along the same lines that we would respond to any such incident of bullying and/or harassment according to YPT policies and processes. The BSA has the ability to better respond to these kinds of comments, especially within their own social channels. I believe that they should.

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4 minutes ago, FireStone said:

I thought that one of the points of YPT was to, in fact, shield scouts from people wishing to do harm? A lot of YPT is about prevention. Allowing hateful comments to remain on BSA social media posts (many remain and aren't deleted) seems like it would go against what we're trained to do, to stop the harm from continuing.

We wouldn't just opt to ignore bullying comments made in-person, we respond to them, stop them, and address the scout or scouts making them.

Comments made to make scouts feel unwelcome in the BSA constitute bullying, no matter where they happen. We certainly can't shield scouts from them everywhere, certainly not all over the Internet, but we should be able to react to them with the world of scouting in, in our units, camps, and the online social environments that we can control, along the same lines that we would respond to any such incident of bullying and/or harassment according to YPT policies and processes. The BSA has the ability to better respond to these kinds of comments, especially within their own social channels. I believe that they should.

Do you go to school with them?  Sports? Church? Vacation? Everyday life outside of Scouting?

We have no mandate to impose our standard of care outside of the auspices of the BSA events where we are supervising Scouts.

Should you choose to do so, best wishes in your endeavors.  I think you have found a nice windmill, don Quixote.

In the very limited contact I have with them, I seek to arm my Scouts with tools to deal with those situations, and launch them into the wide world to find their own way.  It is very empowering for them, rather than looking to me to fight their battles.

 

 

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I was curious what relevant material the CyberChip Award might have. In the Scout Cyber Chip Contract which is modelled after Scout  Law

Brave: If I witness any instances of cyberbullying, illegal activities, or suicidal threats, I will go directly to my parents.

However from Advancement Updates 2024

"The Cyberchip has been phased out. Scouts should use the Personal Safety Awareness training
at
https://www.scouting.org/training/youth-protection/scouts-bsa/ for both Scout and Star ranks."

From there a video link https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/YPSAT/bullying/story.html which basically says to contact an adult and here is a government link with more links StopBullying.gov

From there more passive information. What Is Cyberbullying | StopBullying.gov

All states have laws requiring schools to respond to bullying. As cyberbullying has become more prevalent with the use of technology, many states now include cyberbullying, or mention cyberbullying offenses, under these laws. Schools may take action either as required by law, or with local or school policies that allow them to discipline or take other action. Some states also have provisions to address bullying if it affects school performance. You can learn about the laws and policies in each state, including if they cover cyberbullying. 

Laws, Policies & Regulations | StopBullying.gov   <- start here.

State Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies 

 has an interactive map and list of state laws.

Federal Law

There is no federal law that specifically applies to bullying. In some cases, when bullying is based on race or ethnicity, color, national origin, sex, disability, or religion, bullying overlaps with harassment and schools are legally obligated to address it. Read more about when bullying overlaps with harassment and how to report it to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division.

 

So...from this brief glance, state cyberbully laws appear school/student centric? If so, maybe the BSA (Glen Pounder), scouters, and other groups can lobby to change that.

To help other people at all times.

Edited by RememberSchiff
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On 3/23/2024 at 7:47 PM, AwakeEnergyScouter said:

... hit women because they're women ... gender-based violence ...  men and women are not equal in value and dignity ...  

I really don't understand where these extremist comments are coming from?  It's out there.  ... Society has been debating major topics for decades and will continue to do so.  The "who can hit who and for what" is mid-evil.  I pray that's not the frame of mind brought to this forum.  ...

The topics now are balanced funding for both Women's Studies and Men's Studies departments.  Inclusion of women on men's sports teams and inclusion of men on women's sports teams.  Mandatory paternal parental leave.  Bring your son to work day.  Why are more women graduating college than men?  ... There is gender discrimination, but it goes both ways.  It's a real topic.  I just don't think it's a healthy discussion for inside a troop.   ... 

We should be treating each other well.  ....  Beyond that, I'd rather see scouts spending their time sharpening a stick to cook a hot dog over a fire.

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One of the kindest, most mature, and friendliest of my scouts made his arguments about why BSA should not have included girls to me and, I later learned, to scouts of mixed sexes in a merit badge class being led by a female camp staff.

Exactly which cudgel should I have had BSA reign down upon him?

Meanwhile I have had to help multiple female scouts stand firm against proper sexual harassment from scouts (or sometimes verbal abuse from scouters). They don’t want anyone to get hurt, they don’t think they’ll be believed, they think they led on, or they think it’s part of the job. It’s been clear to me that my responsibility in each case so far was to affirm the young women, insist that they deserved more respect, and arrange a situation where they could advocate for themselves while not going all “papa bear on a rampage.” The whole process is extremely time consuming and very exhausting, and I’m getting better at it with the help of other scouters.

Would I rather not find myself doing it? Yes. Do I trust National to do a better job than even you strangers in the internet? Not a bit.

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22 hours ago, ToKindle96 said:

can you help me understand how a Pack "ignoring the separate dens by gender rule" isn't contrary to the Scout Law? Does that teach our Scouts that a Scout is Trustworthy? Ignoring rules that don't fit our agenda ("my scouts' ability to scout together") and then making reference to the Scout Law is rich.

Of course.

Had they not done that, they couldn't have served girls at all. They wouldn't have had the leadership. Finding double the den leaders, or getting the existing den leaders to do the same den meeting twice isn't trivial, especially to serve just one or two scouts. And how fun is it to be in a den alone? And tell me, what is the danger we're saving classmates by day from, by making sure that they never do the same activity in a den meeting together? They were allowed to go camping together and do pack meeting activities together, and often are in the same class all day - what would be achieved by strict gender separation for den meetings only? The rule doesn't make sense, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was widely disregarded like the one night camping rule was.

As I pointed out explicitly, that wasn't my personal doing in the first place - decisions the pack committee made before we joined can't possibly be "my agenda", can it? That's why I pointed that out in the first place, to show that the pack already rolled like I liked when we joined. I didn't have to change anything when I joined. What's your agenda in objecting to a pack doing what they can to serve as many scouts as possible safely?

Choosing the word "agenda" suggests that it's a secret, possibly nefarious plan I have, as opposed to a normal scouter doing normal things in implementing the BSA scouting program and wanting to keep their scouts safe. Scouters wanting to implement the program isn't an agenda, that's normal people doing normal things. The rule they didn't have to bend was that girls and boys couldn't scout together, because they were in the family pack pilot - in other words, the program was already for what would become my scouts to scout together.

Even in the BSA, not just from my personal life experience, defending girls and boys scouting together is defending the status quo. "Agenda" is usually used about someone's attempts to change things, girls and boys scouting together isn't a change even in the BSA at this point. The reason I've gone out of my way to point out that I'm an old Swedish scout is so that people here can understand that my strong support of girls and boys scouting together comes from within the scouting movement and from my own life experience. I lived scouting together myself, and so did my dad, and the generation before him. I want the same experience for my scout. That's not radical activism. I want to keep things the same as when I was a kid.

You can want something else, but implying that me wanting to preserve the status quo and being ready to go to bat for it is some kind of activist secret plan is not reading the situation correctly.

Edited by AwakeEnergyScouter
Typo and clarified wording
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46 minutes ago, AwakeEnergyScouter said:

Of course.

Had they not done that, they couldn't have served girls at all. They wouldn't have had the leadership. Finding double the den leaders, or getting the existing den leaders to do the same den meeting twice isn't trivial, especially to serve just one or two scouts. And how fun is it to be in a den alone? And tell me, what is the danger we're saving classmates by day from, by making sure that they never do the same activity in a den meeting together? They were allowed to go camping together and do pack meeting activities together, and often are in the same class all day - what would be achieved by strict gender separation for den meetings only? The rule doesn't make sense, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was widely disregarded like the one night camping rule was.

As I pointed out explicitly, that wasn't my personal doing in the first place - decisions the pack committee made before we joined can't possibly be "my agenda", can it? That's why I pointed that out in the first place, to show that the pack already rolled like I liked when we joined. I didn't have to change anything when I joined. What's your agenda in objecting to a pack doing what they can to serve as many scouts as possible safely?

Choosing the word "agenda" suggests that it's a secret, possibly nefarious plan I have, as opposed to a normal scouter doing normal things in implementing the BSA scouting program and wanting to keep their scouts safe. Scouters wanting to implement the program isn't an agenda, that's normal people doing normal things. The rule they didn't have to bend was that girls and boys couldn't scout together, because they were in the family pack pilot - in other words, the program was already for what would become my scouts to scout together.

Even in the BSA, not just from my personal life experience, defending girls and boys scouting together is defending the status quo. "Agenda" is usually used about someone's attempts to change things, girls and boys scouting together isn't a change even in the BSA at this point. The reason I've gone out of my way to point out that I'm an old Swedish scout is so that people here can understand that my strong support of girls and boys scouting together comes from within the scouting movement and from my own life experience. I lived scouting together myself, and so did my dad, and the generation before him. I want the same experience for my scout. That's not radical activism. I want to keep things the same as when I was a kid.

You can want something else, but implying that me wanting to preserve the status quo and being ready to go to bat for it is some kind of activist secret plan is not reading the situation correctly.

A Scout is Trustworthy. Full stop. That's my agenda--I'm not being secretive about it. I love the tortured logic to arrive at your conclusion though. 

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2 hours ago, ToKindle96 said:

A Scout is Trustworthy. Full stop. That's my agenda--I'm not being secretive about it. I love the tortured logic to arrive at your conclusion though. 

And which part of the Scout Oath and Law makes it OK to make up your own rules when you don't like the ones you agreed to follow when you signed your membership application?

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2 hours ago, scoutldr said:

And which part of the Scout Oath and Law makes it OK to make up your own rules when you don't like the ones you agreed to follow when you signed your membership application?

I figured it was duty to a country of rugged individualists.

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