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PeteM

Scout with a knife!

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Greetings,

I have finaly found a site that I think can help me.

 

Last week at summer camp, while I and another leader was out of our site attending a meeting, my son (I'm the SM), was being a bit on the annoying side(he was pounding his walking sitck against a tree, making a lot of noise, and another scout told him to stop. My son didn't stop and kept on doing it. The other scout then kicked my son out of his camp chair and took off running with my son gaing ground in chasing him. They ended up at my son's tent where some words were exchanged and my son, (for reasons that he says he doesn't understand himself) pulled out a pocket knife and opened it and pointed it at the ground.

The other scout ran away screaming "he has a knife!!!", and my son, realized what he had done, dropped his knife and sat down and cried.

 

I came back from my meeting and was approached by my SPL and informed of the problem. I then informed my other leaders and turned it over to the asst. comm. chair, who promptly had a small meeting, Stated that he would take away my son's Totin' Chip (understandably) then he asked that either his mother come and pick him up or I remove him from camp, which I did and that both boys would have to appear before the troop committee. The other boy was not asked to leave camp, since they decided that all he did was a bit of bullying.

 

Some other info:

My son is ADHD and was at the end of his medication day and was going to have his evening dose when I returned from my meeting.

 

The other scout was unruly all day and was disrespectful for the boy leaders and other scouts in the troop. In other words, he was looking for a fight with someone and found one.

 

I am at a loss as to how to proceed next.

 

Thanks,

 

Pete(This message has been edited by PeteM)

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I may get blasted for this, but I think the ADHD/medication thing is irrelevant and should not be used as an excuse. Children need to learn that there are consequences to their inappropriate behavior, regardless of the perceived reasons.

 

Pulling out a knife in the heat of anger is never acceptable behavior. We should also have zero tolerance for "bullying". Not sure I would categorize this as bullying...sounds like a typical spat between adolescent boys.

 

I don't think I would have sent the scout home if it was a first offense, but I won't second guess your Committee. That being said, I think the other scout was equally at fault and should have received equal punishment. As we say in this forum, all we have to evaulate is what you write, and we assume there are always more sides to the story that we can't see.

 

Welcome to the forum...

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No,

I was NOT using the ADHD medication as an excuse, but as more info into the possible reasons for the behavior. When he (and others that are severly ADHD reach the end of their medication day, they could have some unusual behavior problems.

 

Thanks for your input, and I will consider your and all responses to this problem

 

Pete

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Ah that's tough, sorry that you are having to deal w/ this Pete. However, I have to say I agree w/ the committee chair's request to remove your son from camp. Pulling a knife - even though it sounds like your son didn't intentionally plan to do so and even though he pointed it at the ground, not at the other boy - is a serious act and needs to be treated that way. And if I were a parent of a boy in the troop and I heard from my son that the SM's kid pulled a knife on someone at camp and didn't get sent home? Well you can imagine that people would draw some unpleasant conclusions (right or wrong, it would still happen). Many camps also have a disciplinary policy in writing that states that knife incidents are grounds for immediate dismissal from camp so if your comm. chair hadn't done this and word got around, the camp director might have ended up getting involved and doing it anyway.

 

As for your son, well I'm sure he learned something valuable, if painful, from this experience.

 

And the other boy? Did he receive any kind of punishment for his role in all of this? Respectfully I disagree w/ scoutldr that he should receive equal punishment because based on your description I don't think he did something equally serious. But I think some disciplinary action would be appropriate. At the least, he shouldn't have followed your son into his tent (does your troop have any rules about this? My son's troop, for example, requires permission to enter someone else's tent - gives the boys a bit of privacy and a place to cool off when tempers flare) and then this wouldn't have escalated.

 

Lisa'bob

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You should be thankful that the other scouts parents didn't press criminal charges. They had a legal right to do this. Your son pulled a knife on their son. YOur son should have been sent home. Just because another boy is looking for a fight doesn't mean your son had to give him that fight. As far as using the walking stick to beat on a tree. The walking stick should have been taken away from your son. Had be been in my troop this is what would have happened. He would have lost the right to carry a walking stick. We tell our boys that they aren't hammers, they aren't swords. If we catch them using them in any manner other than as a hiking stick they lost the right to carry them for the remainder of the outing. Simple.

 

Sorry but I really get tired of hearing "he suffers from ADHD one more time as an excuse for bad behaviour I think I might scream."

 

Had one of my Cub Den leaders that is an sub teacher in the middle school. Had an 8th grader pull sissors on her and point them at her in class. She went to the principle and was told

"this kid has issues" To which she said he will have bigger issues if he pulls sissors on me again

Two weeks later this same kid pulled sissors on another student and actually injured that student.

I have worked with ADHD kids since long before it was the "IN" excuse and believe me they can control their actions to a large part.

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Well,

His walking stick is gone for one month. (I let my SPL decide on this).

 

As to the ADHD, how do you handle this sort of thing?

 

There are at least 3 other scouts on medication in my troop and sometimes they get rather disrespectful to everyone that tells them "NO", so what do you do? Do you have policy set up n your troop on the methods to deal with this problem, or do you say "I don't buy this ADHD condiction as an excuse"?

 

Thanks

 

You should be thankful that the other scouts parents didn't press criminal charges. They had a legal right to do this. Your son pulled a knife on their son. YOur son should have been sent home. Just because another boy is looking for a fight doesn't mean your son had to give him that fight. As far as using the walking stick to beat on a tree. The walking stick should have been taken away from your son. Had be been in my troop this is what would have happened. He would have lost the right to carry a walking stick. We tell our boys that they aren't hammers, they aren't swords. If we catch them using them in any manner other than as a hiking stick they lost the right to carry them for the remainder of the outing. Simple.

 

Sorry but I really get tired of hearing "he suffers from ADHD one more time as an excuse for bad behaviour I think I might scream."

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"I then informed my other leaders and turned it over to the asst. comm. chair, who promptly had a small meeting, Stated that he would take away my son's Totin' Chip (understandably) then he asked that either his mother come and pick him up or I remove him from camp, which I did and that both boys would have to appear before the troop committee. The other boy was not asked to leave camp, since they decided that all he did was a bit of bullying...I am at a loss as to how to proceed next."

 

Sounds like its been handled by the committee and there is no 'proceed next' to be done, at least officially.

 

I would suggest your having some nice father-son conversations with your boy to help him understand his actions and possible ways to control his anger, annoying behavior, etc. This is needed not just for scouting, but to benefit him as he matures into a man.

 

Likewise, after some time passes, you may want to consider some bully-proof training for your entire troop. All boys know bullys, most do not know how to deal with them. The bully's in your midst may find that they need to change as well.

 

Good luck.

 

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Hey there Pete! Oh, the life of an ADHD parent, never a dull moment!

 

First, yep, your son blew it big time, & he knew it. Sending him home & removing his knife privileges was a good move. Hopefully he will remember it. I, too, believe the other boy deserves some sort of recognition for his part in this. It takes 2 to tango, as the saying goes. Talk to your CC & maybe come up with some Troop service for the 2 boys to do TOGETHER (properly supervised by an adult, just in case). Learning to work with folks you don't particularly like is a good skill to learn.

 

Boy do I HATE when people start claiming that all ADHD is, is an excuse for bad behavior. As Pete explained, it is NOT an excuse, it IS, however, the REASON the behavior occurred. It means that this boy is not necessarily a crazed, knife wielding, juvenile delinquent. What he is, is a boy who allowed his repetitive, annoying, impulsive behavior, caused in part by his medication, to get way out of control.

 

Pete, make sure that you have your son talk to his doc about this incident. He needs to talk about it & understand. Have them work on things he can do to help himself. You might also see about changing his meds. The roller coaster ride some of these meds take the kids on is very nasty. The short term ones are especially bad when they are abruptly dumped from the system & leave the kids with horrible rebound that is 2X as bad as any of their original symptoms! Ask about the timed release ones that leave the system slowly & evenly. It might help.

 

As you might be able to tell, I'm in the ADHD Parent club too!

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Pete,

Welcome to the forums. Lots of answers and opinions here. I hope your next thread has happier news!

 

First, let me congratulate you for having an SPL who handled the issue in your absence and promptly reported to you upon your return. I'm sure this must be a very common occurrance - boys with knives do stupid things from time to time. It's our job to keep them safe (from each other as well as from themselves) and to teach them.

 

Three years ago at summer camp we had a similmar situation. One scout, in anger, used his knife to cut up another fellows hat. No direct confrontation. If we hadn't been 500 miles from home, I would have sent him home. As it was, we had a long conference about anger, displaced behaviors, and long term consequences. He was very quiet for a day and I've never hald another problem with him.

 

Being the dad of the offender is especially tough on you. You need to be impartial but still support your own son. It sounds like you have done that. I agree with the leadership decision to revoke his Chit and to remove him from camp. That must have been a shock to him; I hope it served it's intended purpose and has not discouraged him from Scouting in general.

 

Going forward. I'm sure you know best how to counsel your own son. Perhaps to avoid conflict of interest, another ASM should counsel the other fellow. The issue should definitely be raised in the next SM conference (but not BoR) for both fellows.

 

Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

 

-T

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Hi PeteM,

Welcome to the forum.

I think that SemperParatus has said just about everything I would have said.

I was trying to find something on the BSA web site the other day and came across a very good presentation about dealing with Scouts with ADD.

You more than lightly know a lot about it.

I didn't.

Sure I have worked with a fair number of Scouts who have ADD.

At this time we have a 16 year old who at times can be the most annoying Lad.

Rightly on wrongly when he starts to get bad, I tell him "Hey Andy your becoming a pest." This seems to work.

The bigger job is not my dealing with him, but trying to make the other Scouts understand that what he has is a problem that he needs help with.

With each and every Scout ADD or not is accountable for their actions. They (The other Scouts) need to know that Andy isn't trying to be a pest, but at times he just can't help it.

While I think the Committee Person may have made a few mistakes, for the most part what he or she did was in keeping with the guidelines of the BSA.

As I see it you have two Lads who have done something that isn't right.

Trying to say one is less wrong or more justified

than the other is not dealing with the problem.

It is up to the Committee to deal with both Lad's.

As active Leaders we at times find it hard to allow the Committee to do what they are there to do.

Your role in the Troop is to provide a program for the Scouts, one of whom is fortunate enough to be your son.

Scoutmasters son's are not little Angels!! But they need to be dealt with just like every other Scout.

I thank God that no one was injured.

From what you posted both Lad's were in the wrong.

Bullying is not acceptable.

Pulling a weapon is not acceptable.

However it seems that the Committee is dealing with it.

You might want to share with your Committee:

ChildLine: www.childline.org.uk/bullying.asp

NSPCC: www.there4me.com

Bullying Online: www.bullying.co.uk

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/onelife/personal/index.shtml?bullying#topics

Parentline Plus: www.parentlineplus.org.uk

Eamonn

 

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Looking ahead at what can be done to help the troop deal with ADHD situations... Our troop has had many ADHD kids in our troop. For those with more severe control problems, we use a "magic word" that allows either side to notify the other that things are escalating out of control. Neither side is allowed to abuse or overuse it, and all must respect it. The word we use is "tilt" -- indicating the world is tilting out of control. If the ADHD boy says it, it means he has recognized things in himself that mean he is out of equilibrium (and there ARE signs -- they just need to learn to recognize them). He then takes a personal "time out" to regroup. If troop leadership or the other party feels the ADHD boy is out of equilibrium, he may say tilt. The same results. No arguing, no discussion. It allows a cooling off time. It must be monitored closely so it is not abused.

 

While it sounds like this situation was handled well, keep in mind that not all knife situations are equal. Several years ago at summer camp, our SPL (who is ADHD) came over to talk to me (SM) while I was peeling potatoes for the adults. This was not a stressful talk, but for whatever unknown ADHD reason, he grabbed my wrist & stabbed my pocket knife into his chest! Whoa! Neither of us got sent home from camp ;), but I learned a LOT in a hurry! Fortunately, it was not a deep cut, but it could have been much worse!

 

Ma Scout

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Pete, do I assume there wasn't an adult in camp when this happened? I know it's difficult (and impossible at times),

 

Anger management is something with which I have more than a passing familiarity. ADHD and its attendant impulsivity are only part of the problem, IMO. In managing my own temper, and teaching my hot-headed sons (one of whom is ADD) to manage theirs, it has been critical to teach them how to put a breath between trigger and response. Very difficult to do and the method differs with every person, but the payoff is enormous. Both of my sons are seen as very even-tempered now, as is their mother. I wish I hadn't had to self-teach, it would have been easier. I started with both of them when they were about six - when the seriousness of their tempers manifested itself. I already knew from my own experience how serious it could get if not dealt with early.

 

For example, with son 1, telling him to clench his fists at his sides helped. With son 2, it's a visualization exercise where he looks at the person and visualizes (fill in the blank). With me, it's more of a physical shutting down.

 

Vicki

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I worked with ADD kids back in the early 70's.

When it was just beginning to be studied. Had one mother would tell people, in front of her daughter. "YOu have to understand Becky has a problem with behaviour and you simply have to make allowances." One day I told her that Becky had two problems One names Barbara and one named Robert. I never had any problem with this child. Only time she was a behaviour problem was when her mother or dad were around. ADHD kids can be a real challange to work with. But to give them an out for bad behaviour as "Oh his ADHD is why he acts this way" simply isn't fair to the kid.

 

I do agree that the other boy involved should be punished also. But the act of pulling a knife of another boy is really scarry. Just like pulling a gun on someone. They are both considered weapons.

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PeteM,

 

I, too, have a boy (10 years old) who has ADHD along with anger management problems. Whenever I get especially frustrated with my son, I call my Mom because she's so good at reminding me that God gave this precious child to ME, because He knew that I could handle him, and love him. No matter what anyone says about your son, remember God gave him to YOU because He knew you could handle him and love him.

 

Lynda J. and scoutldr, be very glad God didn't feel you should be given an ADHD child! I, too had worked with ADD and ADHD kids for 13 years, before I had one of my own. Believe me, there is a world of difference between working with these kids for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, vs. living with them 24/7 (and in the summer time, it IS 24/7 for me!) Also, remember the big difference between ADD and ADHD: Hyperactivity!

 

PeteM, I'm sure you get tired of people misunderstanding your son's diagnosis, just like I do. I am very fortunate that ALL the parents of my Webelos den are very supportive of my son and me. I don't know what I would do if I had to deal with people who feel that ADHD has no bearing on the person's behavior.

 

I don't believe ADHD should be used as an excuse, but it definitely EXPLAINS the behavior. Yes, these kids should be disciplined, but not hated! The parents should be supported, not belittled! These poor kids have to work twice as hard at controlling their impulses, behavior, and emotions. It exhausts me just to think of all my son has to do, just to make it through a day.

 

PeteM., I would have done exactly as you did. I think you and your troop handled the situation just right. As for what to do next, I wish I had the answers. Over the years my son has been in therapy with 2 different social workers, a psychologist, and a psychiatrist. Every year he does get better, but I still worry about his impulsiveness getting him into trouble. The worst case scenario would be him seriously injuring himself or others. I have not yet let him earn his Whittling Chip, due to my concerns. If he does get knife privileges, they will be limited to constant adult supervision, and I will not allow him to keep or carry the knife. This will be trickier when he crosses over to Boy Scouts next year, because boys will be in charge. I'm sure everyone will agree, though, that kids like my son do need continued monitoring by adults. By the way, my older son is border-line ADD, but has none of the problems his younger brother has. He has been totally trustworthy with his knife since he earned his Whittling Chip at age 8.

 

Hang in there, PeteM., you are doing the right thing, and some day your son will thank you for it!

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