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Is it legal to take BSA rules from the Guide to Safe Scouting and change the rules to what you want the troop to have and then have the Scout and parent sign the agreement? Who does the liability fall on then if it is not written verbatim? They also use the reference number of the publication from BSA on the agreement. If it is BSA policy, you don't have to sign any agreement to the rules, the Scout can have disiplinary action taken if he knows he has violated the Guide to Save Scouting rules, being warned by the adult leadership.

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I once played a lawyer on stage so take this for what it is worth?


It depends on how they are changing them. If they are now saying that Scouts can fire M60 machine guns at Scout functions, no. If they are saying that you have to be 14 to shoot a rifle, you're in a grey zone.


Within certain limits, units can set their own rules. for example, in my son's troop, if you signed on for the Philmont crew and don't make 3/4 of the training hikes, you aren't going to Philmont and you aren't getting your money back. People are told that up front and are okay with it.


Signing something doesn't change your obligation to follow rules, it just indicates that you are aware of the rules and prevents people from coming back later and saying, "I didn't know that I couldn't bring a chainsaw." "Hmmmm . . . it says that right here and you signed indicating that you read and understood the rules"

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The G2SS is a great set of guidelines to help adult leaders run a program that we hope will be safe and fun for all. Absent specifics, it might be wise to gather those specifics and have this discussion with your Council Scout Executive and the Regional Staff.


S DE(This message has been edited by Secret DE)

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Yah, donert, there's just so much in your posting that is a bit "off" it's hard to comment, eh?


"Legal" and G2SS don't belong in the same sentence, eh? What's "legal" or what defines "liability" has nothing to do with any BSA document. Legal is defined by legislators and courts. Liability always belongs to those who had a duty of care, and their supervisors. So for unit operations, liability always falls to the unit leaders and Chartered Organization. Liability is not defined by anything "written verbatim", with da exception of states where liability waivers have statutory effect.


Guide to Safe Scouting is a guidebook that helps Chartered Organizations in their operations and care for kids. It's a decent guide. G2SS doesn't apply to kids directly, nor does it have anything to do with disciplinary action for kids. Rules for kid behavior should be based on the Scout Oath and Law, and disciplinary action had better come in to play for a lot more things than what G2SS describes.


If yeh give us a real example of what you're talkin' about, we might be able to be more helpful.


Since this question wasn't about insurance and that's been well-covered in other threads, let's keep it focused, eh? :)




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Ok - I'm willing to answer the questions without any specifics. I'll just fill in the assumptions.


Is it legal to take BSA rules from the Guide to Safe Scouting and change the rules to what you want the troop to have and then have the Scout and parent sign the agreement?


It's not against the law. But I'll assume you're asking more informally, meaning whether you can do this by BSA policy. I don't think that you could stay within BSA policy if you loosen or contradict the rules. But you could augment them or interpret them.


Who does the liability fall on then if it is not written verbatim?

As Beavah says, liability always falls on the adults and the CO. Or on whoever the courts say it does. As a registered volunteer, you have no liability except for gross negligence. And the CO is backed by the BSA for insurance claims. You can search on 'insurance' for long discussions of this topic.


the Scout can have disiplinary action taken if he knows he has violated the Guide to Save Scouting rules

The Scout can have disciplinary action taken for any action. It doesn't have to be explicitly against the rules. It's probably not against the G2SS to tip over an outhouse, or to throw an unopened can of beans in the fire, or to eat a bouquet of daisies that another Scout picked. But I'd be happy to discipline a Scout - depending on the definition of discipline.


But I do think I know where you're coming from here. The problem can be whether or not the Scout could reasonably be expected to know that something was a rule. Is it ok to wear a 12-inch machete in a sheath on your belt (not explicitly prohibited in the G2SS) or to put your lips on the public water supply (which is prohibited)? The problem with the G2SS is that there are too many rules to expect a Scout to remember every one. If I think it's reasonable that a Scout may not realize something is a rule, I'll just remind them of the rule and expect them to adjust. If I think they are intentionally breaking a rule, then that's a different discussion.


I'd warn a Scout about any prohibited activity, be it written down or not, and feel free to discipline accordingly (where my method of disciplining is pretty much what Eamonn describes in the spun thread.)

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Donert and Fellow Scouts,




If I may offer my thoughts.


BLUF. I would reply; No a unit should not changes G2SS rules, the activity planner is liable, and concur, a youth may be "constructively" disciplined even if they did not sign an agreement.


Guidelines, means guidelines or I would equate them to best practices.


There are two types of print in the Guidelines bolded and non bolded. The bolded print really should be followed. Here is what it says in the preface. "BSA Rules and Policies. Bold type throughout the Guide to Safe Scouting denotes BSA rules and policies."


Also in the preface of the G2SS, It also says that activity planners are the ones to evaluation the risk.


I usually tell my Scouting friends, to push the limit to the edge and then back off just a little, and ask yourself. Can a 10 y/o do this without harm or injury?


You had asked, "Is it legal to take BSA rules from the Guide to Safe Scouting and change the rules to what you want the troop to have and then have the Scout and parent sign the agreement?" My thoughts would be, No.


Breaking it down. Is it legal? Well these are not laws, they are guidelines. Let me ask, do all licensed drivers always drive the speed limit? If a cop catches them, do they give the driver a warning or throw the entire weight of the law at the violator? Hypothetically, a driver still may exceeded the limits of the law, but what would be the reasonable punishment.


The second portion of your question, regarding changing the rules and have the Scout and parent sign an agreement. I would question that. Wouldn't that be deception? Have the Scout and parents read the Guidelines to Safe Scouting and understand that they are agreeing to exceed a safe practice? Or do they just think the permission slip or hold harmless agreement is normal for that activity?


At a quick snapshot of what was explained, I would call that deception, and say no. A Scouting unit should not ask parents and Scouts to sign an agreement which is a variation from the written G2SS.


Most chartering organizations request a family handbook, guidelines, or bylaws from the unit, as well as the unit charter agreement. I don't see a specific units guidelines being mentioned as a requirement of the BSA, but if a unit decides to publish their own family handbook, it should be in synchronization with established BSA literature.


Back to the G2SS, In the first chapter there is a statement about constructive discipline and also a portion regarding the youth members behavior. A Troop Committee and unit leadership may administer constructive discipline to as far as the youth removal from the unit.


I would concur with your final statement though. In the absence of a Scout or parents accepting (or signing) a unit specific guidelines. The Scout may still have constructive discipline be given to that Scout, ideally to correct an undesirable behavior. All the way to revocation of a Scouts membership. The Scout (and parents) did sign a membership application, as well as promise to live by the Scout Oath and Law.


Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv

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Yah, I think speculatin' on what donert really means is probably not worth it, eh? Some of what he's suggestin' sounds like it might be as simple as a troop havin' its own permission slip/liability waiver.


Best to wait for him/her to come back to us with more information.




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Rules and policies are not guides. What are the consequences for not following these?


I've heard that da District Executive is authorized to report you to the Big Man in the Red Jac-shirt....


and he might put coal in your stocking! :)




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Beavah said, the "Big Man in the Red Jac-shirt...might put coal in your stocking!" if a unit violates BSA rules and policies referenced in the G2SS.


I suspect that it really depends on the rule or policy that was violated and the consequences of the violation. I'm sure that failing to properly set up a safe swim area resulting in a drowning will get a little more attention than the troop arriving at its destination 30 minutes after night fall following a long trip.


It's important to state that not everything in the G2SS is a guide, suggestion or recommendation.

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