Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
T216

should alcohol use affect advancement

Recommended Posts

Cynics might observe that it's easy for boys who are already Eagle Scouts to be in favor of high standards for those seeking admission to the club.

 

And off-the-cuff reactions aren't a suitable basis on which to make decisions that need to be carefully thought out.

 

 

 

Seattle Pioneer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eagle in KY writes: Kahuna, Please re-read all of T216's posts. It's clear that (1) the drinking is illegal, (2) it's happened on multiple occasions (and likely to continue), and (3) the parents - even if they haven't seen it - acknowledge that it's going on.

 

I have re-read all the posts. Perhaps you were reading something different than I. It is NOT clear to me that the drinking is illegal. As to to the other two points, they are different if No. 1 is untrue. Please re-read all my posts.

 

What is clear is that the boy has violated a pledge he has signed as a member of his troop. As such, he isn't entitled to advance at all until some understanding is reached with his leader.

 

I am not callous about the idea of 15 year olds drinking. I just think we need to keep our heads when something like this happens that can afford us an oppportunity to do something to help the boy see his error in terms of violation of a commitment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kahuna wrote "I have re-read all the posts. Perhaps you were reading something different than I. It is NOT clear to me that the drinking is illegal. As to to the other two points, they are different if No. 1 is untrue. Please re-read all my posts."

 

I've compiled some highlights of T216's comments. Highlights are mine:

 

Posted: Thursday, 8/4/2005: 8:55:28 PM

However, it has come to light that he drinks some with his buddies. Not on scout trips, but over the weekends or other "social" times, not scout-related at all. Troop committee has reviewed with all Life scouts the importance of their oaths to stay subsdtance-free, but yet this boy seemingly doesn't see anything wrong wiht having a beer or two at times. Nor do his parents.

 

Posted: Thursday, 8/4/2005: 9:24:49 PM

I told the dad, i'm not pretending to be the boy's parent or tell you how to do your job (as parent) - other than the obvious that what he is doing is against the law. But along these lines, how do you expect us (troop leaders) to sign off on his being an Eagle scout, when we know that he is choosing to drink underage? Yet the dad doesn't feel we should do anything, and that this shouldn't affect his son's advancement at all.

 

Posted: Thursday, 8/4/2005: 9:41:37 PM

Not that i think it has bearing on the real issue at hand, but i would like to add in that i have no reason to believe that the parents are buying it for him. (But yet the dad told me that they choose NOT to have a "zero tolerance" policy at their house. They know the son drinks beer from time to time (I really do not know how frequently) and do not have a problem with it).

 

Posted: Thursday, 8/4/2005: 9:55:07 PM

But he's 1. breaking the law and 2. not living by the Oath to keep himself "physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight" - which includes staying away from alcohol and drugs. Not just on scout activites but in everyday life.

 

Posted: Friday, 8/5/2005: 8:57:20 AM

The District leader said he definitely would not sign him off at this point but that he was going to check with "higher-ups" to see what they say. To his knowledge, there is not a clear black-and-white policy on this - other than the basic requirement that an Eagle candidate is supposed to be "the cream of the crop and a role model in his life and in society" - and that someone who is 15 and is underage drinking on a recurring basis doesn't currently fit that mold in his opinion, regardless of his other scouting accomplishments.

 

Posted: Saturday, 8/6/2005: 6:35:41 AM

PS: Drinking under age 21 is against the law in our state. There may be an exception for religious services, but that's not what's occuring here.

 

Posted: Sunday, 8/7/2005: 12:13:40 PM

i don't consider it hearsay when the dad has directly acknowledged the drinking.

 

Kahuna, I realize you are an attorney are paid well to parse words. But I will say it again. I clearly see that (1) the drinking is illegal, (2) it's happened on multiple occasions (and likely to continue), and (3) the parents - even if they haven't seen it - acknowledge that it's going on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kahuna - i have tried to research it some, and everything i have found indicates it is against the law for drinking in North Carolina under age 21 (used to be 18). There probably is an exception somewhere for religious services, but i haven't found it (and haven't kept looking night and day). I have not seen anything that differentiates drinking "at home" versus away from home - to my knowledge it's all illegal.

 

I wouldn't have as much of an issue with someone who tries a beer once, but 1. this is apparently ongoing behavior, with the parents NOT disturbed about it AT ALL and 2. it is a direct violation of what the boy agreed to, and Troop Committee reminded him of earlier this summer so as to not do anything to slow down his advancement, yet he has chosen to drink anyway??? I think that shows he doesn't value the merit of the Eagle Award enough (yet). I'm not proposing we kick him out of scouts or forever deny him his Eagle - but i don't think he's ready for it yet.

 

And it disappoints me greatly that the parents also signed a Scout Parents Support Commitment of our policies and expectations, yet they are now taking a different position that this shouldn't affect his advancement. I just can't agree with this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I vote NO.

 

The punishment does not fit the crime.

 

Every Scout recites the Scout Oath and Law. They are not exclusive to becoming or being an Eagle Scout.

 

So if anything, if this is a credible concern, you should be considering kicking him out of the Troop... not disabling his ability to advance.

 

But even then, Scouts are not Gods. The Scout Oath and Law are ideals to live by. Much like every US citizen should vote... but they surely don't.

 

I think if you want to disable his ability to make Eagle Scout that you should return your High School Diploma for skipping class once or twice.

 

Besides, it's all hearsay... let the parents handle their kids. You are there to run a Scout Troop... not a religious sect.

 

Phillip

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eagle in KY writes:Kahuna, I realize you are an attorney are paid well to parse words. But I will say it again. I clearly see that (1) the drinking is illegal, (2) it's happened on multiple occasions (and likely to continue), and (3) the parents - even if they haven't seen it - acknowledge that it's going on.

 

Please understand I am not trying to parse words or make a legal argument (although it IS in my legal nature to be argumentative and persuasive :) ). I have pointed out that T216 believes it is illegal, but is not absolutely certain, at least to my satisfaction. I have also pointed out that what is not in dispute is the fact that the boy has violated his pledge to his troop. To me, that is the more important issue. You may not agree.

 

In any event, as others have said in this thread, it is up to the parents to deal with the issue at home. In the troop we have a possible violation of law and definite violation of a pledge made to the troop. Both can certainly be used in the Scoutmaster's ultimate discussion with the Scout. I'm just trying to avoid someone running off to the police and creating a problem that is unnecessary. If a conference and threat of not signing an Eagle app now or in the future unless he changes his ways does not change his behavior, the troop will probably lose the boy anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I One would wonder if these parents are parents or just trying to be best buddies with their son.

 

1.) They should know that giving alcohol to a minor in against the law. Parents or not!

 

2.) They should know that their son can be ticketed for procession of Alcohol.

 

3.) They should know that their son can be arrested for Alcohol consumption.

 

4.) They should know that they can be arrested, fined, or 90 days in jail or both, for giving their son alcohol.

 

BSA has a strict policy against alcohol use and drug use. They also have a strict policy of no alcohol or drug use on any scout property, or any state property or private property where scouts are camping.

 

As a past substance abuse counselor, and probation officer, I'm telling you the truth.

 

When he turns 16 years of age, the alcohol use is not going to stop it will increase, because his buddies who drink will be drinking with him.

If he is driving, he is at high risk, because after one or two drinks the brain is already reacting to the alcohol in the system.

 

Then there is the chance of a DWI, drunk driving, and sometimes death related to a drunk driving accident.

 

So this young man is a high risk, and his high risk behavior is a wonderful gift from his parents and those who supply him with alcohol or drugs.

 

As an adult leader, why would anyone want to put themselves in a position of playing alone with the parents. If he leaves the troop so what, you can notify the District Eagle Board of review about this, and you can notify the Scoutmaster of the next troop what took place.

 

If it was me I would be talking to that Scoutmaster, before I transfer his records to him.

 

You may save a young mans life. Ask yourself is it worth it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kahuna, I, and I think others, agree that the bigger issue from our (Leader) point of view is not upholding the legal law but the Scout Law.

 

All, How about this perspective - What are we as a scouting organization and what is he, as an Eagle Scout, going to get out of receiving his Eagle? You'd have to assume that he has worked hard up to this point but, as T216 states "He wants to get his Eagle immediately and basically be done with scouts. I do not sense that he will be one to continue to participate in scouts once he gets it." So, this tells me that he wants this to simply serve as a trophey on the mantle. It may be that it won't represent his adherance to the Scout Law. I am not making the assumption that this drinking issue indicates other anti-Scout Law activites nor am I saying that he "owes" the organization of Scouting anything. But the Rank of Eagle, as does being a Scout, does offer a representation of what kind of values and morals one has. How would an organization such as the BSA look if the quality of an individual that leaves the organization is not one that represents what that organization stands for? Isn't that part of our responsibility as leaders?

 

From a curiosity stand point, what, if anything, would T216 and others "in-the-know" be liable for if this boy did do anything that was related to his drinking? I am sure there would at least be a few "What if I had only..." questions asked.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

interesting, and timely, news item I came across today:

 

interesting, and timely, item that was in the North Carolina Banker's Association (not sure why) newsletter today:

 

ROAD TO ALCOHOLISM

 

Research from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the Skipper Bowles Alcohol Center at UNC-Chapel Hill shows that children who begin drinking before age 15 have a four times greater chance of becoming alcoholics than those who begin at 21. Medical research also shows that teen drinkers run the risk of brain damage that will impair memory and cognitive skills. Those health risks are strong arguments against allowing teens to drink at home.

 

 

 

 

Troop Comm will have a discussion with the scout. We have had a discussion with the parent (both myslef and then separately, wiht the same message I had, my Troop Comm Chair met with the dad for awhile). I do not plan on turning the parent/boy into authorities, as some have suggested. I know some think i should, but i'm not going there. Not even remotely thinking about that. I do want to help the boy but i don't think sending authorities into his home is the answer. These are NOT "bad people" - although i wholeheartedly disagree with this particular part of their parenting. But bringing in law or social services is just not approriate here at all, in my opinion. I think it would do more harm than good, to tear their family up. And i don't think it's the solution at all.

 

We will talk to the scout, and my plan right now if i hear what i think we will hear (the scout acknowledging that he has "had a few beers") is to stress the REQUIREMENT that he give up alcohol completely as he seeks his Eagle rank - that we will not reward him with that rank if that is his ongoing attitude to both the law and "keeping himself clean and phsycially strong", as well as the commitment he made to our troop, continues to be violated. As we reminded him early in the summer. If the case is that he has kept drinking, then he needs to accept the consequences, which is a delay in his rank until such time Troop Comm feels comfortable that he has in fact made the right commitment to scouts and its values, and for his demostrated example as an Eagle candidate. And if he can't/won't lay off beer for 3-6 months (time period NOT to be defined), then he has a much more serious (and it already is serious) problem than he would be acknowledging. Either that or he sure doesn't value the rank of Eagle much, if he had to give up beer to get it but won't.

 

This of course will require his ongoing participation in scouts this fall, which i don't think he was counting on, but that's the price he is going to pay for the decisions he has made (assuming we confirm with him that's the case - and at this point i do think he will be honest with us) - as well as our feeling that he hasn't learned nearly as much from scouts as he could.

 

Thanks to all for input. I will post later with any new info, or after the meeting with him. Likely not to be until August 24, although i'm sure i will keep coming back to this forum before then just to see additional posts.

 

 

PS: I do plan on sharing that news item with the scout and dad. I'm thinking the dad won't like it, because he will have the attitude "that doesn't apply to us", maybe, just maybe, it will make him think a little more about his attitude towards his 15 year old "having a few beers"

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good luck with your plan, T216.

 

 

My own suggestion was somewhat similar.

 

I'd suggested adjourning the Eagle Scoutmaster Conference or BOR if you discovered alcohol was being used. Then ask the Scout to research the effects and risks of alcohol use, the legality of alcohol use by minors and whether this was consistant with Scouting.

 

Set the next date for the Scoutmaster Conference or BOR in 30 days and see what the Scout reports back.

 

Personally, I wouldn't ask him to promise not to drink in the future or delay his eagle unless he volunteered that he was going to continue to drink. If he doesn't do that, I would trust him to make wise decisions about managing his life, and go ahead with the Eagle.

 

I like the article you refer to --- it explains why you have an interest in underage drinking and explains the added risks the presents to young people.

 

I'm not saying your plan to require six months (or whatever) of being alcohol free is wrong. Just that it gets you involved in managing the boys life in ways that I'm not comfortable with, especially in the face of unsupportive parent(s).

 

In my view, your responsibility reasonably ends when you are sure the Scout has the information he needs to make a wise decision. I'd then trust him to do the wise thing.

 

We recently had an eleven year old Scout we suspended for a month after he 1) stole $30 from a tentmate 2) pushed a much larger Scout and sent him sprawling and 3) sprayed a Cub Scout with deoderant ---all on the same weekend campout. In the five weeks he's been back (including summercamp) we haven't seen these aggressive behaviors repeated. If we are lucky, we will have chosen wisely and helped a boy improve his self control in very important ways.

 

I hope your plan works for you.

 

 

 

Seattle Pioneer

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cubmaster Jerry: My point exactly. I agree with you also that I felt some concern about "trophy" aspect as expressed by the parent. I've seen kids before who just wanted to get it out of the way and move on. It would make me very wary of being accomodating to that.

 

As to the liability of those "in the know" it's hard to say, but I feel that since the Scoutmaster has discussed this with the parents, the liability issue is primarily in their lap. If, on the other hand, the leaders had witnessed the kid drinking or personally knew of some drinking activity that the parents were not aware of, there would be a responsibility to share it with them. I would still be leary of involving the police, unless he was driving DUI, which presumably he isn't, or engaging in some other dangerous activities while drinking. If we share what we know with the parents, I think we discharge our legal obligations as to liability. The fact that the troop is dealing with it in terms of his advancement indicates they are taking it seriously and doing the best they can in the Scouting arena.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am the mother of an Eagle Scout and Life Scout (ages 16 and 13), I have also been an attorney for 27 years. Several things are evident in this matter. 1. The child is breaking the law. 2. In some states the parents may also be breaking the law (contributing to the delinquency, furnishing alcohol to minors etc.) 3. In cases like this, the parents are often furnishing alcohol to children other than their own. (clearly a violation of law in every state that I know). 4. You can bet your life that other boys in the troop know of this boy's conduct. (they aren't stupid you know, and I'm sure the kid brags about his parent's bizarre permissiveness). 5. Based on my experience, this boy will wind up in trouble, probably very publicly, before he goes off to college. The newspaper will describe him as "an Eagle Scout".

 

Why on earth would you give this kid an Eagle Scout badge? It is a horrible thing for the child ( teaching him that rules have no consequences). It is a horrible example to the remainder of the troop. By allowing this boy to be an Eagle Scout you are telling the other boys that it is OK to break the law (not to mention the morally straight problem). You are also making yourself and your scout organization into absolute hypocrites. You evidently preach one thing (Scout Oath, Scout Law), but when push came to shove, you caved in so you could avoid an uncomfortable situation. In truth, if you deny advancement to this boy, he will probably drop out. That will be regretable because he obviously needs adults with common sense in his life. However, what would be accomplished for him if he gets a meaningless badge? The parent's won't create a fuss because they aren't really going to want the ramifications of their abusive behavior to be made public. Please, please don't hurt the rest of the boys in your troop by allowing this child to advance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am the mother of an Eagle Scout and Life Scout (ages 16 and 13), I have also been an attorney for 27 years. Several things are evident in this matter. 1. The child is breaking the law. 2. In some states the parents may also be breaking the law (contributing to the delinquency, furnishing alcohol to minors etc.) 3. In cases like this, the parents are often furnishing alcohol to children other than their own. (clearly a violation of law in every state that I know). 4. You can bet your life that other boys in the troop know of this boy's conduct. (they aren't stupid you know, and I'm sure the kid brags about his parent's bizarre permissiveness). 5. Based on my experience, this boy will wind up in trouble, probably very publicly, before he goes off to college. The newspaper will describe him as "an Eagle Scout".

 

Why on earth would you give this kid an Eagle Scout badge? It is a horrible thing for the child ( teaching him that rules have no consequences). It is a horrible example to the remainder of the troop. By allowing this boy to be an Eagle Scout you are telling the other boys that it is OK to break the law (not to mention the morally straight problem). You are also making yourself and your scout organization into absolute hypocrites. You evidently preach one thing (Scout Oath, Scout Law), but when push came to shove, you caved in so you could avoid an uncomfortable situation. In truth, if you deny advancement to this boy, he will probably drop out. That will be regretable because he obviously needs adults with common sense in his life. However, what would be accomplished for him if he gets a meaningless badge? The parent's won't create a fuss because they aren't really going to want the ramifications of their abusive behavior to be made public. Please, please don't hurt the rest of the boys in your troop by allowing this child to advance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After reading Eagle Mom's post, I will re-iterate what I said earlier:

 

Every Scouter has access to a youth services expert who can assess the situation in light of local law. That expert has the authority and responsibility, if needed, to call in law enforcement or social services for intervention. The intervention may be needed not only for the youth, but for his parents.

 

Who is that expert? Your Council Scout Executive.

 

We don't know, here, the local law on what an underage person can do in his/her own home, under supervision of parents. As Eagle Mom stated above, there may be parental abuse going on.

 

Report. Set the SM Conference and Eagle BOR aside for the moment. Report. Are we to tolerate abuse of our youth on any level? Is that the intent of YP and G2SS? Report.

 

I have said my piece. You have to be at peace in your own heart.

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
Sign in to follow this  

×