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


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On 4/8/2024 at 4:42 PM, AwakeEnergyScouter said:

And why would the medium in which the opinion is expressed matter? Why would something be ok to say on a Zoom or online but not in person?

I would say an adult leader meeting or online forum dedicated to "issues and politics" are acceptable places to discuss membership changes, whereas your child's Pinewood Derby or Blue and Gold Banquet are not. 

Again, I'm generally onboard with the recent membership changes. I'm not suggesting the presence of girls or LGBT youth in Scouting is bad, unwanted, or antithetical to the aims of the organization.

Change takes time. The BSA doesn't exactly have a great reputation for change management. 

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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

I guess it depends on what side of the fence one stands on where the haters are. Just look at the title of this discussion, The BSA should get tough on scouts and scouters? One fairly new scouter even

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?

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4 hours ago, BetterWithCheddar said:

I would say an adult leader meeting or online forum dedicated to "issues and politics" are acceptable places to discuss membership changes, whereas your child's Pinewood Derby or Blue and Gold Banquet are not. 

An adult leader meeting is different from an open online forum targeted at scouters. If this was a restricted-access forum, then it would be equivalent to an adult leader meeting. This is on the open internet, no authentication required. This forum is indexed by search engines. That's how I found it, scouting-related searches turned up discussion threads here. It's a perpetual adult leader meeting that anyone can walk into.

We will never see the scouts "come into the room" and will never know who heard us here. In a physical room, if a scout suddenly walks in and it's a conversation that's inappropriate for scout ears, everyone stops talking. Here, we just keep going. The difference that matters is can scouts "hear" what's being said. It's not whether it's online or in meat space.

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31 minutes ago, AwakeEnergyScouter said:

An adult leader meeting is different from an open online forum targeted at scouters. If this was a restricted-access forum, then it would be equivalent to an adult leader meeting. This is on the open internet, no authentication required. This forum is indexed by search engines. That's how I found it, scouting-related searches turned up discussion threads here. It's a perpetual adult leader meeting that anyone can walk into.

We will never see the scouts "come into the room" and will never know who heard us here. In a physical room, if a scout suddenly walks in and it's a conversation that's inappropriate for scout ears, everyone stops talking. Here, we just keep going. The difference that matters is can scouts "hear" what's being said. It's not whether it's online or in meat space.

My views are a little different. I think people pretty much have a right to say whatever they think, wherever they want, and it's better to know what those thoughts are. If those views include thinking a certain class of children doesn't belong in a youth organization they are involved with, then they shouldn't still hold an active role within it. If registered leaders hold these views -- that girls in this case, or gay, minority, or non Christian religious scouts in other cases, shouldn't be in scouting in opposition to BSA policy -- then they should not be adult leaders responsible for these children and should step down. It is preferable for people to be honest about how they feel, because otherwise how does a parent know they are unwisely entrusting their child's safety to someone who doesn't think their child should be there in the first place? Broader society is largely trying to move past the point where you are not welcome because you are Black or Jewish or Muslim or Gay or a Girl. There are organizations you can belong to if you still hold those views, but BSA is no longer one of them. Parents of any of these classes of children in scouting have an expectation that their child is being entrusted to registered adult leaders who support BSA policies. 

Edited by yknot
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4 hours ago, yknot said:

My views are a little different. I think people pretty much have a right to say whatever they think, wherever they want, and it's better to know what those thoughts are. If those views include thinking a certain class of children doesn't belong in a youth organization they are involved with, then they shouldn't still hold an active role within it. If registered leaders hold these views -- that girls in this case, or gay, minority, or non Christian religious scouts in other cases, shouldn't be in scouting in opposition to BSA policy -- then they should not be adult leaders responsible for these children and should step down. It is preferable for people to be honest about how they feel, because otherwise how does a parent know they are unwisely entrusting their child's safety to someone who doesn't think their child should be there in the first place? Broader society is largely trying to move past the point where you are not welcome because you are Black or Jewish or Muslim or Gay or a Girl. There are organizations you can belong to if you still hold those views, but BSA is no longer one of them. Parents of any of these classes of children in scouting have an expectation that their child is being entrusted to registered adult leaders who support BSA policies. 

This, by far is the most hostile post I ever read on this forum. Can you imagine how many of our kids would get education and skills instruction if every teacher, little league coach, dance instructor, and so forth who doesn't agree with all the policies of the organization stayed away from kids? There would be nobody.

This forum has had hundreds of these kinds of discussions for 30 years, but there is a difference between posters today and the earlier years; Posters today don't want to learn why folks think differently, and they want to censor any speech they disagree with.

Ironically, free speech is how bad policies that can be dangerous to youth and adults are exposed. We live in a dangerous time.

Barry

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1 hour ago, Eagledad said:

This, by far is the most hostile post I ever read on this forum. Can you imagine how many of our kids would get education and skills instruction if every teacher, little league coach, dance instructor, and so forth who doesn't agree with all the policies of the organization stayed away from kids? There would be nobody.

This forum has had hundreds of these kinds of discussions for 30 years, but there is a difference between posters today and the earlier years; Posters today don't want to learn why folks think differently, and they want to censor any speech they disagree with.

Ironically, free speech is how bad policies that can be dangerous to youth and adults are exposed. We live in a dangerous time.

Barry

There's nothing stopping people from having these kinds of discussions here or anywhere. But if that's how someone feels about a certain class of kids and it contradicts the policies of the organization they work or volunteer for, they shouldn't be responsible for kids of that class. That's the conventional viewpoint, often reported on in the media, and I'm hardly saying anything as controversial or as pearl clutching as implied. BSA policy for the past six years is that girls are scouts. It's really not about the adults anymore, it's about the scouts. 

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1 hour ago, Eagledad said:

This, by far is the most hostile post I ever read on this forum. Can you imagine how many of our kids would get education and skills instruction if every teacher, little league coach, dance instructor, and so forth who doesn't agree with all the policies of the organization stayed away from kids? There would be nobody.

This forum has had hundreds of these kinds of discussions for 30 years, but there is a difference between posters today and the earlier years; Posters today don't want to learn why folks think differently, and they want to censor any speech they disagree with.

We censor speech all the time in the BSA, we're supposed to. Certain kinds of speech are not allowed according to YPT policies. Speech that is intended to make youth feel unwelcome on the basis of gender, for example, is not tolerated.

I personally have no particular issue with someone thinking that girls shouldn't be here. What I do have an issue with is what kicked off this thread to begin with, people taking it from thinking this stuff and progressing to saying it in settings with scouts and scouters encounter it.

So circling back to yknot's comment, that people who hold the viewpoint that girls should not be in Cub Scouts or Scouts BSA "should not be adult leaders," it's not necessarily hostile if those views turn into actions/speech that violates YPT.

Now yknot and I may differ on whether saying girls don't belong here in any setting, like one adult saying it to another vs. an adult saying it in front of scouts, for example, where I think that yknot might believe that both scenarios should make someone ineligible to be a leader while I don't. But I don't think it's particularly hostile to suggest that people who hold these viewpoints might be folks who could be problematic as leaders. If someone doesn't feel that girls should be here, could they objectively sit on an EBOR for a girl?

We don't have entirely free speech here, it's just how it is and it's part of the gig if you're an adult who interacts with scouts. YPT says there are, in fact, things that cannot be said. Those who violate those policies can and should face consequences for doing so. You may view that as "hostile", but that's just how the BSA is. We operate under a set of current policies or we can work to change them. That doesn't mean, however, that adults can violate those policies and not be held to appropriate consequences. They can speak out in an appropriate manner. They cannot speak out in forums and settings where scouts can see/hear/read it.

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I am unclear who violated which BSA policy if at all. Many here have voiced different opinions regarding various BSA policies and not just membership. I believe BSA policy still allows CO's/units some say in their unit membership.

IMHO, part of leadership, character-building, and citizenship is teaching our scouts how to respond thoughtfully and positively (Scout Oath and Law) to what they perceive as an injustice, incorrect, or plain stupid.

At a monthly School Board meeting should I pull scouts when cuts are discussed to their favorite programs? Let them hear, think, and then speak in their own defense.

Here is an interesting read, actually as I understand BSA policy, from https://scoutingwire.org/social-media-guidelines/

I will quote a short extract. Note "social media" here includes forums not hosted by BSA or units. 

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR SOCIAL MEDIA USE

For practical considerations, the BSA expects adults intending to use social media on behalf of Scouting to follow the following:

  • Social media must be monitored. A qualified staff member or volunteer should have the responsibility of monitoring social media channels daily, and backup administrators/monitors should be designated so there is no gap in the monitoring.
  • Integrate your communications. Create a strategy to surround your intended audience with your key message(s) through print, the Web, email, radio, TV, word of mouth, and social media.
  • Talk to your audiences and let them talk to and about you. By posting content on a consistent schedule, you can tell your story and encourage conversations in the community.
  • Social media takes a thick skin. Negative conversations are happening already, but now you have a voice in the conversation.
  • Don’t delete negative comments unless they violate the terms laid out in the BSA Social Media Digital Contract. 
  • Be prepared to respond to negative or inaccurate posts if response is warranted. Some negative comments do not require a response, while others should be taken seriously and addressed. Factors such as the number of followers and the severity of the conversations should temper if and how you respond.
  • Direct media inquiries to the appropriate person. Media inquiries coming through social media should be referred to the Scout executive or a designee for an official response.
  • Be Scout-like. When disagreeing with others’ opinions, remain appropriate and polite. If you find yourself in a situation online that looks as if it’s becoming antagonistic, do not get overly defensive and do not disengage from the conversation abruptly. Ask your Scout executive or the designee for advice on how to disengage from the dialogue in a polite manner that reflects well on the BSA. (Here in our scout-like way, we agree to disagree and move-on. Humor helps too.)
  • Build trust by being open and transparent. Share information and what the challenges and opportunities are for Scouting in your community.

So Scouts and Scouters how are we doing here? In another section of this link, it discourages PM's as akin to private rooms. Good thought or an infringement of free speech?

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On 4/13/2024 at 6:38 PM, yknot said:

… But if that's how someone feels about a certain class of kids and it contradicts the policies of the organization they work or volunteer for, they shouldn't be responsible for kids of that class. …

This is argument ad absurdum. In my years as an advisor I didn’t care how people felt about my venturers. (And some voiced fairly negative opinions.) I expected my youth to take it on the chin and press on.
Those same people taught my scouts incredible skills. For that, they earned the right to voice any opinion they may have had. Needless to say, over time their opinions became more nuanced after working with my youth.

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1 hour ago, qwazse said:

 I expected my youth to take it on the chin and press on.
 

It's hard to get past that sentence. We're not talking about rain or snow here. I've been in a lot of places where people didn't think I belonged and didn't want me there. I persevered and maybe that was character building but it also almost got me killed. I would not subject any youth under my care to such a thing today. Thankfully, we mostly don't have to because most youth organizations have moved beyond such backward ideas. There are plenty of things out there that can build character that don't have anything to do with a person's race, religion, orientation, or gender. 

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8 hours ago, qwazse said:

I expected my youth to take it on the chin and press on.

I agree with yknot. This is harsh. Like, taken aback harsh.

On 4/13/2024 at 6:59 PM, RememberSchiff said:

IMHO, part of leadership, character-building, and citizenship is teaching our scouts how to respond thoughtfully and positively (Scout Oath and Law) to what they perceive as an injustice, incorrect, or plain stupid.

At a monthly School Board meeting should I pull scouts when cuts are discussed to their favorite programs? Let them hear, think, and then speak in their own defense.

Adults undermining the sense of worth of a child by communicating that that specific child is unwanted is not the same as not getting what you wanted or an inconvenience. It does real harm to children to hear that adults that have power over them don't think they should be where they are, even though the rules and society at large say it's fine. (As I write that, specific adult faces flash in front of me.) Losing a favorite after-school program isn't like being singled out to be told by adults that there's something bad about you and you shouldn't be where you are. But not your friends, note. The damage comes largely from that you're not in the same boat; the afterschool program isn't being shut down, you just can't be in it anymore because Reasons but not something you did, something you are. The impact of being excluded for something you are is very different.

Did you know that 40% of LGBTQIA+ youth want to commit suicide because of the poor treatment they get? Scouts of all things should be a safe place for them to be accepted unconditionally. Racism and sexism take a toll, too. Meeting unkindness from so many people for something you are, not do, has a different impact than losing something you liked along with all your friends who are in the same boat. The patterns in how people behave grate on you in a different way than one-off things, especially when the gaslighting starts. Black youth who are met with low regard in their community exhibit more depressive symptoms after then also experiencing more racism than usual. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30652904/Than usual. Imagine how much sadness and depression we could prevent if they experienced no racism. This happens in scouts, too.

A Black scouter shared the story of his son being called the n-word in scouts. The other white scouters were not so interested in dealing with the hurt that this caused, and the parents denied that their scouts would ever do what they just did.

The patterns after the scout law is broken when it's due to other scouts and scouters disliking the presence of a scout in a particular demographic are very similar to what happens with whistleblowers. Organizations often try to gaslight whistleblowers, which makes the retaliation harm worse because it shatters your confidence in how the world works when the institution that was supposed to protect you harms you instead and then tries to pretend otherwise. There's a second layer of betrayal there.

I have been in that position of being expected to fix adults or deal with adult dysfunction that other adults didn't want to deal with as a child. I was very angry at them and I lost all my respect for them. Children having to lead adults is confusing lha, nyen and lu, the natural order of things. As a hat goes on the head and not the feet, adults lead children, not the other way around. Finding opportunities for children to practice leadership is good and important, but children are still children. The opportunities need to be age-appropriate. There is such a thing as throwing children into the leadership deep end without swimming lessons, and asking them to sacrifice their own well-being to show adults that people are people isn't age-appropriate. It is our duty as the adults in charge to protect scouts - really do it. Mandela, Gandhi, and MLK were adults when they did their human rights work. We should not expect children to fix adult messes.

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2 hours ago, AwakeEnergyScouter said:

 

I agree with yknot. This is harsh. Like, taken aback harsh.

Adults undermining the sense of worth of a child by communicating that that specific child is unwanted is not the same as not getting what you wanted or an inconvenience. It does real harm to children to hear that adults that have power over them don't think they should be where they are, even though the rules and society at large say it's fine. (As I write that, specific adult faces flash in front of me.) Losing a favorite after-school program isn't like being singled out to be told by adults that there's something bad about you and you shouldn't be where you are. But not your friends, note. The damage comes largely from that you're not in the same boat; the afterschool program isn't being shut down, you just can't be in it anymore because Reasons but not something you did, something you are. The impact of being excluded for something you are is very different.

Did you know that 40% of LGBTQIA+ youth want to commit suicide because of the poor treatment they get? Scouts of all things should be a safe place for them to be accepted unconditionally. Racism and sexism take a toll, too. Meeting unkindness from so many people for something you are, not do, has a different impact than losing something you liked along with all your friends who are in the same boat. The patterns in how people behave grate on you in a different way than one-off things, especially when the gaslighting starts. Black youth who are met with low regard in their community exhibit more depressive symptoms after then also experiencing more racism than usual. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30652904/Than usual. Imagine how much sadness and depression we could prevent if they experienced no racism. This happens in scouts, too.

A Black scouter shared the story of his son being called the n-word in scouts. The other white scouters were not so interested in dealing with the hurt that this caused, and the parents denied that their scouts would ever do what they just did.

The patterns after the scout law is broken when it's due to other scouts and scouters disliking the presence of a scout in a particular demographic are very similar to what happens with whistleblowers. Organizations often try to gaslight whistleblowers, which makes the retaliation harm worse because it shatters your confidence in how the world works when the institution that was supposed to protect you harms you instead and then tries to pretend otherwise. There's a second layer of betrayal there.

I have been in that position of being expected to fix adults or deal with adult dysfunction that other adults didn't want to deal with as a child. I was very angry at them and I lost all my respect for them. Children having to lead adults is confusing lha, nyen and lu, the natural order of things. As a hat goes on the head and not the feet, adults lead children, not the other way around. Finding opportunities for children to practice leadership is good and important, but children are still children. The opportunities need to be age-appropriate. There is such a thing as throwing children into the leadership deep end without swimming lessons, and asking them to sacrifice their own well-being to show adults that people are people isn't age-appropriate. It is our duty as the adults in charge to protect scouts - really do it. Mandela, Gandhi, and MLK were adults when they did their human rights work. We should not expect children to fix adult messes.

"We should not expect children to fix adult messes."

Sadly, IMHO, that is in a way, exactly what we, as adults are doing by not tending to our societal issues, by non participatory citizenship in regard to finding leaders that can and will do what is needed.  I have joked a few times of late with more senior youth that my generation is leaving the mess for their generation to fix.  Not the way it should be, oviously.  

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Salomon Rushdie spoke on 60 minutes regarding censorship.

"There seems to be a kind of growing orthodoxy, particularly amongst young people, that censorship … is a good thing," Rushdie told correspondent Anderson Cooper. 

"The thing that's different now is that it's also coming from progressive voices," he said. "There are progressive voices saying that certain kinds of speech should be not permitted because it offends against this or that vulnerable group."

Rushdie said that when speech is suppressed, the people who are first impacted are often minority groups.

"To support censorship in theory on behalf of vulnerable groups is a very slippery slope," Rushdie said. "It can lead to the opposite of what you want."

In his interview with 60 Minutes, the author said there is value in hearing from voices that offend because they challenge people.

"There's now a kind of offense industry," Rushdie explained. "Offense has become an aspect of identity politics. And my view is it's very easy for a book to stop offending you. You just shut it." 

Source:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/salman-rushdie-on-censorship-in-america-today-60-minutes/

 

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