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Scout committed a felony

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This is such a sad situation.


We had a boy in our Troop with very similiar circumstances. To try to make a long story short, at about 17, he left a campout with two other Scouts and brought back wine and pot and enticed a younger Scout to try the pot. He belonged to a different Troop at the time. The legal system did it's thing, including time at a boot camp type insitution. The Troop kicked all three boys out. This one remained out of Scouting until about 3 1/2 months before turning 18, when he approached our Troop looking to transfer. We never were comfortable with his or his father's reason for wanting to transfer, but took him in. He completed three or four of the tougher MBs while with our Troop, and did a mediocre but acceptable Eagle Project.


When it came time for him to turn in his application and solicit recomendations, his old SM heard that he was on the verge of making Eagle Scout and requested a meeting with our SM, where he told us about the boy's history. We involved the DAC and even the Scout Executive, who all determined that it should be the EBoR that should decide. I had to excuse myself from the board, as I already had my mind made up and was certqain I could not be open minded. We recruited adults from his church and some teachers to serve on the board, gave them all of the facts, and they said no.


It's important to understand the reasoning. Everyone on the board, our SM, the DAC, and I all felt that any youth needs the opportunity to make ammends for mistakes they make. Had this boy come to our Troop, told his story, described how he has fixed himself, and demonstrated he had behaved himself for the last few months, EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US WOULD HAVE BEEN THRILLED TO VOTE YES AT HIS EBoR. Instead, this boy was given plenty of opportunities to explain why he transfered, to tell the truth, and to demonstrate Scout Spirit by being Trustworthy, and by owning up to his mistakes. He failed each and every time he was given the chance, until he was face to face with his old SM, who pretty much embarassed him into telling the truth.


My point here is that young people make mistakes, and as much as we wish it weren't true, Boy Scouts are not immune. Given the right guidance, and enough time before he turns 18, a Scout certainly should be permitted to rehabilitate his standing. If he does, then he should not only be allowed to earn Eagle, it whould be celebrated. If he decides that he wants to wear an Eagle badge rather than BEING and Eagle Scout, then we should do our best to prevent it.


In any case, these are hard positions to take. As EagleDad said to me when I discussed this with him last fall, the best we can do is to make sure that the young man becomes a better person for the experience, whether that includes earning the rank or not. But I understand your pain while dealing with this. IT was the hardest thing I had to go through in Scouting.



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Interesting story, Mark. I think it illustrates the flexibility and careful judgements that ought to be made when confronted with such an issue.


While I'm not Catholic, it also reminds me of the Catholic view that everyone is sinful, and yet everyone deserves the opportunity to be forgiven.


On a positive note, our Troop suspended an 11 year old boy who managed to do the following on a weekend campout we had with a Cub Scout Pack: 1) stole $30 cash from his tentmate 2) pushed a much larger Boy Scout and sent him sprawling and 3) sprayed a Cub Scout with deoderant.


After a fairly formal hearing with the Scoutmaster, Troop Committee and the boys father, he was suspended from the troop for the remainder of the month, about three weeks.


Since then, he's avoided serious issues like the one above, and we've concentrated or correcting less serious behavior problems, like cussing.


My feeling as a Scouter is that some bad behavior can be ignored some of the time. Other bad behavior can't be ignored and must be confronted. But our aim should be to correct bad behavior and teach boys to be good Scouts, not necessarily to punish boys in ways that fit the crime.


This requires wisdom and good judgement. I don't claim to be an Xpert on making such decisions, I just do the best I can when confronted with such issues.




Seattle Pioneer

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Seatlle Pioneer writes "While I'm not Catholic, it also reminds me of the Catholic view that everyone is sinful, and yet everyone deserves the opportunity to be forgiven."


That is not accurate. Catholicism teaches that every person who sins has the opportunity to repent and do pennance, for which their sins are forgiven.


To commit a sin and have no remorse is not a free ticket to expect forgiveness simply because the person you wronged was Catholic.


Perhaps rather than sharing what you think another religion believes you would share YOUR religions view on the topic. We would gain greater knowledge from you sharing the belief of the faith you practice, rather than from what you think is believed by a faith you do not practice.


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Not all the facts have been presented, and that's ok; the question is "What is the purpose of scouting?" Do we only select boys who are squeaky clean, who have practice the scout law and promise long before they join, or is the goal of scouting to build the character of the boys to become good citizens ? Is this not a learning experience, hopefully we learn from our mistakes.

Being in the USA, the view points of juvenile procedures, are very forgiving ,mostly in the confidentiality of the criminal record.

Yet, we are questioning if the scout should advance in rank to Eagle, what the differance from any other rank in that of advancement. Do we hold the Board of Review to lessor standards if the rank is only First Class, or Star ?

What of his peers, as this is a boy run program, what do they believe should take place.

And last, is Eagle an award or a journey of learning; the analysis is our ability to make the scout oath and law vital in the lives of the boys.

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What happened to you is hurtful and then finding out who did it is confusing. I am glad you brought your problem here to share with some who have dealt with similar kinds of hurt and have had similar kinds of confusion in their own lives. One's reaction is generally based on having some experience with a specific situation. Most likely, you have not dealt with something that appears to be so unexpected. It makes for a combination of anger and disorientation. It is the grouping of these two opposing thoughts that can bring about the feeling that makes one want to vomit.


If the young man had been a non-Scout, a person that can be profiled as someone that meets your expectation of a thief, then it would be easier to follow this through the court and hope that some kind of restitution could be made or the person would simply sit in a jail. In this instance, the young man doesn't fit the idea in your head of a thief and you feel that he will somehow escape punishment. You might also be thinking that the young man will grow up and take a position of responsibility without having the strength of honor to make good choices, a prediction that makes most uneasy.


The problem is that many now know of his misdeed. It is in this knowledge that honor is bestowed whether it is in an Eagle badge or a job or if a person goes to the other side of the world where only he knows. He is attempting to build a life of honor and if he dishonors it by acting the thief, then that carries the burden of non-accomplishment for life. Even if he does not admit it, he will continue to make himself the victim of his own charade and he will need to decide to make the repair himself, which always looks emotionally like an unsightly scar.


He still must go before the judge, his SM, his Troop and his family with the knowledge of this crime all around him. He may even get away with less punishment than that of a non-Scout. The problem is adjusted in the weight of his own personal consequences which he may presently deny but remains just the same.




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Something that we sometimes forget is that advancement (the Eagle) is only one of the eight methods of Scouting and the Eagle is only a part of advancement. Yet often, as this thread illustrates, we think that the only thing that matters is "Did the boy make Eagle?" or "Should we let the boy make Eagle?"


At this point, should the boy make Eagle Scout? With the facts as present, I don't think so but we don't have all the facts. Should he be thrown out of Scouting (and denied the Aims and the other seven methods?) Again, I don't have the facts but I would hope not.


And I hope the situation presented to the Scout isn't "We've decided that you are unworthy of Eagle. End of topic." Rather, I would say "You have done some actions that are very unScoutlike. You will need to prove yourself as a Scout before you can be considered a Scout in good standing." If the boy then asks "Can I go for Eagle?" I would suggest that the answer needs to be "That is very far downstream. First, you need to prove that you understand and live by the Scout Oath and Law and then, possibly, other things can be considered."

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I have followed this with interest because we've had a couple of situations where boys have made some very poor decisions, but nothing nearly as serious as this - they haven't victimized other persons. I think there could be a large range of responses.

Our community (in the larger sense of people outside family and church) is very supportive and almost nurturing in response to young persons who make bonehead decisions from time to time. If the infraction is outside the scouting environment and if these infractions are addressed effectively outside scouting, I see no need for 'double jeopardy'. In fact, we have used the scouting side as the 'carrot' for improved future decisions. And it has worked so far.

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I know that many of us have seen similar situations pop up from time to time. In general, I agree with NeiLup's stance. The boy is probably not ready but shouldn't be discouraged from improving.


I know of one circumstance in my troop where a boy from a different troop was caught with 2 other boys stealing some of our gear at summer camp. The reason I mention this is because of the method he chose to right the situation.


At one of our troop meetings, this young man asked to speak during opening announcements. He introduced himself as "one of the guys who stole your stuff at camp". He said he was sorry, had been put on probation in his troop, and was there to make sure that all of the gear lost was replaced. He announced that he would be standing out in the foyer area after the Scout meeting and would take descriptions of the lost gear which he would then replace. He was there all by himself, his mother having decided to wait in the car.


As you might imagine, his statements were met with dead silence -- at least for a few moments. Then the boys and adults started clapping. After the boys started filing out of the meeting area, many/most of them stopped by to tell him how brave they thought he was. Even the adults stopped by to shake his hand (including me because they had stolen my headlamp). He delivered each piece of lost gear personally including, we think, a few that were probably just lost and not stolen.


This boy is still in Scouting. He's a Life Scout now, off of probation in his troop, and doing fine in Scouting. I had the pleasure to have him on CS Day Camp staff for a couple of weeks last summer. I don't think he'd be the same if he had dropped or been dropped.



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Thanks to everyone who replied. I am not sure how this discussion has turned into worthiness of Eagle, however let me say that it is highly unlikely that he will ever earn it. My intension was to get advice about what I should do as a Scouter. I am taking nldscout advice and writing a letter of NON-Recommendation. Here is why! After he was identified, his ASM, mother, and I went with the police to discuss the matter. At that time I was leaning toward just letting him pay me back, and not have him charged. I know people make mistakes. His just happened to be a felony. I didnt want to jeopardize his Eagle. I knew he was less than 6mo. from this 18 and he was still working on his project. However his actions when questioned by the police spoke volumes about his character. He actually said to the officer, and his mother There isnt a d$mn thing you can do to me. Instead of me calling the officer the next day and let him know what I wanted to do, the officer called and told me that he was already charged. I havent witnessed any remorse for his crimes only that he is sorry he got caught. I do believe that people can change. I hope he can change. I hope that by allowing him to stay in the troop, the leaders can show him what living by the Scout Oath and Law are all about. It will take a long time for people to look at him as trustworthy, if ever. There is a reason that the first point of the Scout law is Trustworthy. Before someone jumps on me, I know the other points are no less important. During my time with the scouts I have met excellent SMs and ASMs who didnt earn their Eagle. This boy can turn his life around, if he does what a testimony.

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Should this boy earn his Eagle? Should he even remain in Scouts?

In our Council a Scout (three MB from Eagle) has been removed from Scouting because someone started a rumor at the District level that he "was removed from school by a policeman." No conviction. No crime. No facts. No reality at all.

Council refuses to release any details or the source of the rumor stating only that the Scout can go through the- secret- Regional Appeal Committee and appeal the unknown rumor.

The Scouts and Scouters (like myself) that have written to defend him face reprimand and possible dismissal for publically contradicting a Council level decision. The Unit Commisioner has already delivered the message from the DE that some Scouters "don't need to fill out the ap" for 2006. The boy's parents- MB counselors and Cub leaders- also face 'non-renewal' of their next membership.

Is this supposed to give one warm fuzzies about 'second chances' and reacting to 'youthful exhuberance (sp?)?' Upon what should this Scout 'reflect?' Be 'remorseful?' When the "more constructive" route through the District and the Council yields responses like, "We have a right NOT to tell you..." what then should this Scout, his parents, and all of the other Scout members do? THAT is why this topic is on the forum.

Before someone says it; yes, I am angry at this situation. The reality of BSA politics makes many of these posts seem almost silly.

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Having been involved in a couple such cases I am troubled by green sm's account. If he knows that it is a rumor why is he paying attention to it? The actual problem could easily be something entirly different. While he may be curious as to what is going on, curiosity does not outweigh the scouts right to privacy or the BSA's obligation to confidentiality on behalf of the scout. I guarantee you the scout knows fully why these actions were taken against him as do his parents, and they do not have to say to anyone else what they know. They are welcome to use the BSA confidentiality to say "we don't know".


We had a SM who we removed for violation of the YP policies. there was no accusation of impropriety but an upcoming event was in violation of the polices. He was told in writing not to hold the activity and he did anyway. He was told exactly what rules were being broken before and after in writing and removed from scouting.


SUCH A FUSS he raised. He said he had no idea what was going on. that no one was telling him anything other than he was out, that he NEVER did anything wrong, and of course HE was going to sue EVERYBODY!


WE said nothing at the district or council level to ANYONE. This was a confideential matter between this SM and the council SE and it was NOBODY ELSES BUSINESS. He never appealed and he never sued. He fussed for a few weeks and then quietly went away.


Neither is the case anyones business but the family and the SE. I can expect anyone who trys to undermine the confidentialty due the scout and his family, will be removed from membership.


Writing a letter of support will not be punished, nor will it likely alter anything. But talking publicly will be punished. Write the letter and then keep still about it. It is a private matter and no about of concern or curiosity will change that.

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With respect to BobWhite, you are incorrect. I have seen the letter that was sent to the scout and subsequent documents. The Council is not claiming confidentiality for the SCOUT rather they are claiming their own "right" to conduct the revocation "confidentialy" and without revealing any information to anyone. The SE has previously stated (under oath in court) that the BSA is under no obligation to tell even the accused any information. Other Scouters have ALREADY BEEN TOLD their 2006 apps may not be approved.

Unfortunately you are correct that the letters of recommendation will probably not change anything.

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