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Youth Protection in Latrines

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I'm a Webelos Den Leader. Last weekend I attended Webelos woods with my son. Lots of fun.


Issue #1:

On Saturday I asked the district execs there if there were any youth protection or 2-deep leadership issues with me, a leader, being alone in camp alone with my own son. They said that was no problem, which makes sense since we spent the night in the same tent anyway.


Question #1: Do you agree that it is OK for parents and their sons to be in one-on-one situations even if the parent is a leader?


Its an odd question - the answer seems obvious, but I thought I'd ask to be sure.


Issue #2:

This brings up the latrine question. On the same day I walked with my son to the latrine. He headed to one of the stalls and I headed to the urinal trough. I found myself worried that a youth might come in and see an adult (me) urinating, so I tried to stand with my back to the door (as much as possible) so that my privates wouldn't be in view.


After I was done, but before I put myself back together, a youth walked into the latrine and headed to the urinal. Again, I was quite concerned, finding myself now in a one-on-one situation with a youth. I called to my son that I'd meet him outside and exited the latrine.


Question #2: How should leaders/adults handle "group" urinal troughs?


Question #3: How do you leaders/adults prevent one-on-one situations in latrines?


The only solution I can think of is to always take another adult to the latrine with me. Wait a minute, that is what women have been doing for years (sorry ladies, I couldn't resist).


While I'm asking ...


Question #4: Do you ALWAYS demand boys use the buddy system - even when they are simply going to the latrine a few yards down the road in a Scout camp?


Your answers are very much appreciated.

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Q1: A father/son 1-on-1 can look inappropriate to an observer who doesn't know the family...but it's sometimes inevitable. For example, after I drop everyone else off, guess who's left alone with me? My son...can't help it, unless I call him a taxi from the last drop-off.


Q2#3: I think there should always be adult and youth facilities wherever possible. Barring that, there should be a flip-over sign (youth/adult) at the entrance. When that's just not possible, like at non-council property, I always go to a stall for privacy reasons -- if the youth isn't going to protect his privacy, I'll make sure to protect my privacy.


Q4: We insist on buddy system if they're leaving the camp site, even to the latrine...heck, especially to the latrine. I don't expect a buddy to stand next to a Scout like a urinalysis observer, but if he's nearby or even right outside the door telling him to hurry up, I see that as reinforcing YP because another person in the latrine will know that Scout isn't alone. Besides, it's so much easier to be consistent than situational (i.e., buddy system unless it's less than 50 yards, or to the bathroom, or ten minutes or less, etc.).





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When separate adult facilities are not available and the occupied sign is nonexistent, I always announce my presence before entering. If a boy(s) is in there, I remain outside until he is finished. While doing my business, I find that singing a song makes the time go by much easier and ensures that possible entrants are aware of my presence.

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"Adult leaders must respect the privacy of youth members in situations such as changing clothes and taking showers at camp, and intrude only to the extent that health and safety require. Adults must protect their own privacy in similar situations."


This is from the protection of privacy part of the YP training. It's a good question. When I took BALOO, I was planning a camping trip for the pack, and one of my concerns was how to handle the bathroom facilities. The sign was one way to handle this (take one to put on the outside of the latrine door/doorhandle); another was to have someone outside the latrine to let others know it was in use. As for father-son, that would not have occurred to me as it would seem to be the same as sharing a tent, but perhaps consistency would be key--if not for you, then for your son--but that's just a thought not a policy.



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#1 - No problem. IF someone asks, tell them you're family.


#2/#3 - This can be a challenge. Some effective approaches are presented here. I've had the situation in public restrooms as well. I try to avoid it whenever possible. I like the fact that our CO has a "family bathroom" (private, one stall), I use that whenever possible.


#4 - At our camp, latrines are visible and within throwing distance from the campsite, so we don't require buddy system. But at other camps, if the latrine is out of site or a greater distance, we always require the buddy system.

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Good questions... I think we have all been in them boots before.


You got the qoutes from the G2SS... so here is what I do.


If I go with only my son...which is rare, we share a tent.. that is not a problem.


Going to the latrine... I wait outside until my son gets done then I go in. I tell my son to tell the next person that they can't go in.

Make the business quick and get out.

I have walked into restrooms where there are a group of Scouts and I turn and walk out right away.


I think that the G2SS and YP are ways or managing risk. If you put yourself in a compromising position you will get comporomised.



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Ya know...I must need YP again. I honestly would not give it a second thought to be in a public restroom with a scout. The restroom is open to the public. Anyone can go in. I'm in and out of there as fast as I can (never really liked public restrooms though obviously it's a necessity).


Would Scout leaders also not enter a public restroom when there is a Scout inside?

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I find the safest route is to just not relieve myself for the whole weekend. Can't get in trouble if I'm not in there... :)


Ok, just kidding.


Q1 is an easy one. You're always ok with your own son. No prob there.


Q2&Q3. Depending on the facilities, this can get interesting at times. Like others have said, I usually announce my presence to see if anyone is in there, and then wait if there is. Once in there, I usually make enough noise to make sure others know I'm there. I will say that most of our camps have the "flip" signs.


Q4. I always push for the buddy system regardless of the distance, but especially if it's out of view. Easier than trying to figure out when it's ok and when it's not.

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Thanks for all the replies and advice. To clarify on the type of latrine, it was a three-holer with a large trough and no inside lock on the door nor a sign on the door. I think my best best was to wait until the latrine was empty and then use the last stall rather than the trough, and to keep myself "covered" as much as possible. Then if boys had entered, once finished, get out a quickly as possible.


tortdog said:

"Would Scout leaders also not enter a public restroom when there is a Scout inside?"


That view concerns me. His question is the foundation of my questions 2 & 3. The Youth Protection says very clearly "One-on-one contact between adults and youth members is not permitted. In situations that require personal conferences, such as a Scoutmaster's conference, the meeting is to be conducted in view of other adults and youths."


It doesn't say one-on-one contact is usually not permitted, or that it is not permitted when convenient, or that it is not permitted except in public places, or that it is not permitted execpt in places where someone else could walk in at any time.


I've talked to some people at work, and they say it is OK to have one adult and multiple youth contact (one-on-many). I disagree with that. If this was the case, the second sentence of the above quote would end in "... the meeting is to be conducted in view of other adults OR youths.", but it doesn't. It says "adults AND youths".


In my view, when youth are present there must no fewer than two adults present, with the exception of the parent/son one-on-one.

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I dunno! A public restroom is just that - public. If I go in & then a Scout comes in?


I'm all for youth protection but does it apply everywhere?


Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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My teenage son enters public restrooms while total strangers are in there. But I guess it's best to avoid even the possibility of the appearance of impropriety.


As a note, BSA does allow an adult to be alone with several scouts--this is explicitly allowed for merit badge counselors, for example. There is, I think, some lack of clarity between the concept of no one-on-one and two-deep leadership.

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The G2SS says 2-deep leadership is required on trips and outings. It also says one-on-one contact is not permitted. Don't try to extrapolate that to mean one adult and multiple youth is not permitted.


Keep in mind that the G2SS is not a list of what is permitted, thus you won't find any statement that says one-on-many is OK. If it was not OK, the Guide would say so.

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