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Let's back up. Rank demotion as a punishment. National has apparently neither said yea nor ney. Instead of " Is it alright for us to use a rank demotion for punishment?", shouldn't we be saying "Just don't promote!!!"


The last two requirements for rank advancement right before the BOR allow the SM latitude for punishment and redirection if used right.




The ASM or SM should be the ones signing off on SCOUT SPIRIT at the SMC. If the SM feels the scout is lacking in SCOUT SPIRIT, he has the option of not signing off on it hence THE PUNISHMENT.


At the SMC the SM while talking with the scout can ask the usual questions about how the boy feels about scouting. The SM might find out what the real problem is. He can also inform the boy how he, the SM, preceives the boys SCOUT SPIRIT, leadership, etc, or the lack there of.


If the SM feels the scout is lacking in SCOUT SPIRIT, does not the SM have the option to try and redirect the scout? Inform the scout that due to the lack of spirit that the scout has to meet the following goals ( increase in spirit, improvement in behavior, increased leadership and participation ) over the next 2 or 3 months if he wants the SM to sign off on SCOUT

SPIRIT and the SCM. IF not he does not get advanced.


The SM might want to warn the parents of the decision either when they pick the scout up that night, or maybe before the SMC. By talking with the parents before hand, they might be able to give the SM some ideas on how to handle and motivate the scout. Maybe the SM can draw up a improvement contract spelling out what has to be done and by when. Invite the scouts parents to attend the last few minutes of the SMC and have all involved sign that they understand what is required. Ask the scout if you can have the SPL, JASM or Guide join them for a couple of minutes before they end the SMC. Inform the scout and parents that the SPL or other designee is there to help him achieve his goals and keep the SM appraised. Like myself, maybe the parent is willing to join the troop. The parent will have to understand that they will need to stay in the shadows and only step in when the situation calls for it. hey can also be a wealth of information on how to handle their kids particular issues or handicap. FYI, I have a 16 y/o son in our troop that is Bipolar/ ADHD tendencies and poss. has High Functioning Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Actually he shows more SCOUT SPIRIT then most of the other scouts. I only intercede when one of the senior scouts or another leader is having a rough time with my son. Sometimes it just takes a little education so they understand why he may come across a little HYPER., agitated or depressed and that when approached the right way, they can easily diffuse the situation.


Just for YP, it might be wise to have another adult (ASM or CC) present during the SMC and or discussion with the parents. CYA!! Just because the SMC may be done in sight of the rest of the troop, it doesn't mean the troop can hear what is being said, and if the scout is really a bad seed and vengeful, he can say the SM said blah blah blah. If there isn't a second adult present, there could be a lot of unnecessary grief.



If the behavior gets to the point that a removal is eminent, notify the Council first. They might be able to give you some direction. At least they are informed ahead of time. If the parent(s) don't agree with your decision and contacts the Council, it's better the Council already is aware of the situation and not getting blindsided by an irate parent screaming the SM or troop threw their kid out of scouting.


Depending on the scouts behavioral issue or handicap, the Council might know of a troop better suited to handle such issues or handicaps if that is what they really are. (I know the GREATER CLEVELAND COUNCIL has a SPECIAL NEEDS DISTRICT to handle such situations.) This might make it easier on the parents, you acknowledging that you understand their son situation, that it is beyond your scope, but that you have a possible alternative for their son, if one exists.


Just food for thought.



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Wow. I've been off the forum for a little while and just got through reading this entire thread. Lots of points and counterpoints on this subject.


We have established that a SM can't take rank away. That is true. I wouldn't use that as a threat when dealing with unruly Scouts, unless I was really good at playing poker. It's a bluff.


What I would use is the fact that Scout Spirit must be demonstrated as a requirement of each successive rank, along with living life according to the Scout Oath and the Scout Law. As a SM, I have no problem telling Scouts, families, the Troop Committee, COR, etc. that little Billy Bob will not advance to the next rank until he corrects whatever problematic conduct issues he has. As a SM, its my call when a Scout goes before a review board to try and get his next rank.


Case in point. I have a 2nd class which transferred from another unit. A few weeks ago, I noticed him not showing up in uniform. When asked about it, he said: "I haven't changed patches on my uniform yet." At that point I tell the Scout to bring in his uniform and I will sew the patches on for him. Its a standard service I afford everyone in my Pack and my Troop. A couple of weeks go by, the Scout is still not in uniform and has not brought it in for me to fix. A ask him about his uniform, and he replies "I just don't feel like wearing it." At the next meeting I pull him aside, along with the SPL and the ASM, and inform him of the requirement for showing Scout Spirit to advance. I also inform all involved that the Scout will not advance if he doesn't fix the uniform problem. At the next meeting he wears his uniform, takes it off after the meeting, and asks me very nicely to please sew his patches on it. End of issue.


I realize that this is a very mild case compared to Scouts pulling knives, shanks, guns on each other, but the basic principle is there.


If and when bigger problems occur, we developed a Pack/Troop Code of Conduct that is handed out to all newcomers to our group. It states what is expected of them and the price that will be payed if the code is violated, up to expulsion from the Pack/Troop.


So far I haven't had to pull that trump card, but its there when I need it.

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If we're going to tell a boy that he is lacking in Scout spirit because he's not wearing his uniform, it would be good to explain to him how that relates to the Scout Law and Scout Oath. Scout spirit is living the Oath and Law in your everyday life. Explain to him how not wearing his uniform conflicts with that.

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Nice, Caveman. I like your posting.


F, "Living the oath and law every day." Isn't Mon. evening part of the day. No one here is saying that the scout has to wear his uniform every minute of every hour of every day. None the less Mon. 7-9PM still qualifies as part of the day. If the CAVEMAN uses wearing the uniform to meetings as part of showing SCOUT SPIRIT, and a troop requirement for advancement, GOOD!!!

Ah, the good old days when you could run across a SCOUT out on the street wearing his uniform looking for a GOOD DEED to do.

Today so many youth, and adults for that matter, are SOOOO EMBARESSED to wear their uniform, sometimes even to meetings. Some of the adults are lackadaisical about the whole thing and don't/won't push the boys to do it.


We have a new SM that just stepped. He would like to see the boys in dress uniform at least once a month. The rest of the month an activity uniform is alright. He's one of the asst/ coaches for the HS Wrestling Team. IF them there boys don't dress up or wear their team apparel you bet your know what that they're not going to be started that week or if they do they receive some other type of punishment for it. But I can't seem to get him to see the similarities.


Caveman, do you have any other repercussions for not wearing the uniform at appropriate times? When do you require them to wear uniforms ie:during travel to and from events, camp-outs, Scout Sunday, etc? How do we get them over the embarrassment


Last week at BPI someone had brought up the situation. He had held a TLTC. The boys had to be in uniform. After the training he surprised them with a pizza lunch at Pizza Hut. When they arrived some of the boys wanted to go to the restroom to dispense with their uniforms. He informed them that this was stil a scouting function and the uniforms stayed. Then they didn't want to take their coats off. A girl from a different group recognized one of the boys and came over to the table to talk. She noticed the uniform showing through the open coat and exclaimed " Your a Boy Scout? My older brother use to be a Boy Scout. HOW COOL. He use to do a lot of cool things. I always wished I could have been one too"

Guess what happened? All them coats where off before you could blink and eye.



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