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Just Asking

Scout Policy on drugs

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We have a scout in our troop who was found to be selling and using drugs. His school wanted to expel him, but approved his appeal. This last week he tested positive for drugs at school. The scouts just went on a weekend camp-in and this scout was in attendance. His mother makes him attend scouts as a punishment.

 

What is the policy of BSA when it comes to boys taking drugs? I am torn. As a mother, I do not want my child engaged in activities with other boys who are taking drugs. As a scout leader, I wonder if the scouting organization may help him to follow a better path in life.

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No specific policy, other than that illegal drugs (and alcohol & tobacco) are not allowed at any activity involving participation of youth members.

 

It's up to the Chartered Org. & committee how to deal with a boy who is a known drug dealer and abuser. I think a wise program looks very carefully at whether it has full disclosure & support from the parents, the kind of specially trained & experienced adults, and the right mix of "good" and supportive kids to be able to take on a youth like this as a "special case." In a few cases, the answer might be "yes, we can provide the resources to take a shot at being a sane, drug-free, supportive "home" for this boy, without putting the boy or our other kids at risk."

 

In most cases, I suspect an honest assessment would be "no, we really don't have the experience or ability to handle a youth drug offender who is still abusing" on adventure activities in the wilderness.

 

 

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I echo Beavah's comments. You are putting the rest of your troop at risk by permitting a known drug user to attend your campouts. What if he has some sort of reaction, an outburst of some sort, picks a fight, etc... who knows what could happen?

 

I realize that its a bunch of 'what ifs', but you don't sacrifice the safety of the group for one kid.

 

I personally would not permit this situation in my troop. I would discuss this with the commitee and get their support. Additionally, I would not permit the scout to attend meetings without a parent present. It seems this parent may be trying to pass the kid off to the troop so they don't have to deal with him.

 

Sorry you have to deal with this...

 

 

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At the very least, he would not be able to advance...there's that pesky "Scout Spirit" requirement for every rank.

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I can't see how making this boy attend scouts as a punishment is likely to benefit anybody involved. If this is a "drop off" situation where the parent is uninvolved, it sounds like the troop is being unfairly taken advantage of by this parent. Unfortunately I have to agree with Beavah here; we can't be expected to stand in as therapists and counselors in serious situations like this, if we're not qualified to do so. This mom needs to get this boy some professional help and BSA just isn't designed to do that.

 

Now, if the mom is willing to be an active leader (and you'd want her as one) and the boy is receiving professional help, and all the other things Beavah mentions, then maybe. But I think I'd also want to put conditions on him attending camp outs or trips, beyond those I'd put on attending weekly troop meetings.

 

Maybe the best thing you can do for this boy is to help him and/or his mom identify some professional resources in your area and encourage her to get her child the care he needs. And if you remove him from your troop, consider inviting him (and mom) to return again when he is in a position to do so. I don't think we're obligated to include drug abusers/pushers in our membership but I do think we should keep the door open for the future and make sure boys like this one know we haven't entirely given up on them, either.

 

Tough stuff, isn't it.

 

Lisa'bob

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A troop I served years ago had a similar situation. The committee agreed that scouting can be of benefit to most. Because we wanted to ensure safe haven for all, it was mandated that the youth with a "drug issue" was always accompanied by his parents or legal guardian.

 

Just Asking: It's a tough issue. Have you spoken with your Unit Commissioner or District Commissioner? In our situation the drug use expanded beyond school and community and into a scout outing...and that's when a parent-attached-to-the-youth's-hip mandate came into use. Because the drug-user was a minor, our SE reminded us that we had to keep discussions very limited (as to what the problem was and who the youth was). It was a mess, but there were no more drugs on outings.

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What Beavah and Lisa'bob said.

 

Additionally, since the young man HAS a record, I'd have two adult leaders and two elder youth shake down his gear upon arrival at the camp site.

 

In addition to the UC and/or DC, I believe the District Special Needs folks should be in the loop, as should whoever the resident friendly attorney for the District/Council and the resident law enforcement officer. All are resource folks for the Troop leadership.

 

Finally, this is one that has to be discussed between the SM/CC and the IH of the Chartered Partner. The Chartered Partner has to be willing to assume some risk here, and it's the SM/CC's job to do the selling.

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JustAsking,

 

You state that this Scout's mother makes him attend Scouts as a punishment. I am not sure how we know this, but perhaps a Scoutmaster conference is in order. Really talk to this Scout to find out what is going on in his head. Find out if he is at all interested in the Scouting program and continuing in it.

 

If you find that he is not interested, then perhaps a talk with Mom is in order. You can explain that because of the recent behavior and his not really wanting to be there that it seems too risky to the others for him to continue. If he is not interested, he won't really care if he screws-up on an outing.

 

If you find that he is interested in continuing in Scouts, then you have some hope of reaching and helping this young man. Explain to him that you need to set some ground rules to ensure the safety of the other boys and the piece of mind of the adults. Come up with whatever seems reasonable (e.g.: gear and pocket checks on arrival for outings, behavior expectations...) and put it in writing. Again, have a meeting with the boy and Mom to go over these expectations and perhaps to get a signature that he'll abide by the rules. If he is willing, you have a chance.

 

Just my thoughts...

ASM59

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There is a Judge near Houston that makes boys and girls that have just started getting in trouble to join Boy Scouts of Girl Scouts. They have a choice of that or going to a juvenil facility. There was a hugh outcry in the beginning. But his success rate of kids not repeating offenses is like 85%. And over 50% of the kids stay in the scouting programs after they have served their required time.

Like my dad always said. "Give kids good positive activities and keep them good and busy and they don't have time to get in trouble."

 

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Lynda,

 

What arrangements are in place between the judge concerned and the local Council and District? Is perchance the judge an active Scouter in his own right?

 

I do not disagree that kind of option may help quite a few young men and women, but I suspect there is more of the judge's story to be told. :)

 

I for one would enjoy hearing more about this :)

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