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BlackEagle603

The leaders or the Scout

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Here is a situation that just came up in our Troop. Any suggestions on how to address it would be great!

 

When the Troop got back from an outing, a parent and one of our Leaders had a physical altercation, ie: the Leader pulled the parent off of another boy, they were wrestling. The parent got upset, picked up her Scout, who was not involved, and went home. She then contacted the police, who contacted the leader at home. Both the leader and her husband are leaders in our Troop. Now, the two leaders have told the SM that if the Scout (again, was not involved) comes back to a meeting, they will resign. They are basically concerned that the parent could cause problems in the future. The Scout has not been a problem in any way, and during discussions with the parent and the husband, believe that there was a misunderstanding. The two leaders will not budge.

 

Also, for clarification, the wrestlers were the parent and another boy. The families are good friends, regardless, it shouldn't have gone on at what was left of the Troop function. That much is acknowledged. The leader saw most of what happened, apparently became concerned for the boy (YPT), and pulled the parent off of the boy.

 

Thanks!!

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As you say, the problem is not the Scout, but the parental units. But from the perspective of the leaders involved in the altercation, they are one and the same. My experience in similar situation has shown me that absolutely transparency in the near-term is critical in dealing with this issue. If this happened in our Troop, I would immediately call a meeting of all adult leaders - both Scoutmasters and Committee members. The Troop must have a unified position and speak with one voice.

 

Once the Troop position has been established, the problematic parent should be invited to a meeting with Troop leadership - the Scoutmaster, Committee Chair, at least, and others. This meeting should clearly send the message to the parent that any kind of touching of any Scout is completely off limits at any Scout function. If wrestling is desired, fine, but not at a Scout function. Ever. If the Parental unit has a problem with this, point to the door - let them find another Troop. The parent and Scout should leave if they can not behave, not the leaders.

 

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"any kind of touching of any Scout is completely off limits at any Scout function."

 

 

I would hope no unit ever had the need to create such a drastic rule. It certainly is not a youth protection policy of the BSA and should not need be required in any unit.

 

When you say the scout and adult were wrestling that can mean a lot of different things. What was the emotion of the event? Were they angry, were they joking, was one party the agressor and the other not comfortable with the contact? This matters.

 

Why was it necessary for the leader to pull the adult off? Was the scout being injured or assaulted? Did the leader ask or instruct the activity to be stopped before they grabbed the other adult?

 

Scouts come with parents. It's a package deal that you cannot dissolve or wish into non-existence. They are inseparable. If you expell the parent do not expect the scout to be able to stay. If you expelled the scout would you expect the parent to continue?

 

As for the adult leaders, it's a volunteer organization, they can leave at any time and for any reason. You should base your decision on what is the ethical thing to do for the unit, not based on threats by volunteers to stay or go.(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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If I read your post correctly, the mother of one scout was wrestling with the son of one of her friends, who is also a scout. They were broken up by a female leader of your troop. Seems like there may have been some hurt feelings and over-reaction involved. This type of behavior is not approproprate at a scouting function regardless of the relationship of the parties. Time to get your Troop Committee involved and talk with all the parties to try to settle things down. At worst case, try to keep or move the scout to a new troop - they should not be penalized because of their parent's actions. Remember, scouting is about the scouts, not the parents or adults. Good luck. Sound weird to me, and potentially explosive.

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Yah, hmmm... what is it with Texas? :)

 

Very hard to judge da situation by remote, T129. If I'm gettin' this right, a female parent was having a consensual wrestling match with a boy-scout-aged boy. The female parent is not a leader, but the boy does know her well. Yah, that has all kinds of "issues", dependin' on who the woman is. If she's a young mom who wrestled in college showin' the lad a few moves, that's one thing. But a full-out match is a bit different, eh?

 

We don't know the female leader either, eh? Is she one to overreact? Is there prior "history" between the two women (sounds like it...). Did she just restrain the first parent, or did they start goin' at it?

 

All are things to be considered, eh?

 

However, there is an underlyin' principle here which should be the committee's starting point. You start by trusting and supporting your registered leaders. You chose those adults as leaders for a reason, eh? In part, to ensure the safety of kids; in part, because they contribute a lot to the program. Therefore, to do the best for the program, you start by supportin' the leaders.

 

Otherwise you won't have any.

 

If a registered leader tells you they had to restrain a parent's physical behavior with someone else's kid, at a minimum that parent doesn't go anywhere near boys in the troop until it gets sorted out. Anything else is simply negligent. If someone's parent calls law enforcement on one of your adult leaders, yeh have to take that seriously, too. So yeh might have to suspend the ASM as well, until yeh get things sorted out. And yah, there's a good chance that at least one of those conditions is going to be permanent, unless somethin' you find out changes the character of the thing in a big way. But yeh can't not take it seriously.

 

Or, more properly, the SM/CC/COR have to take it seriously. As an ASM, yeh might be asked for input, or not.

 

I don't see it likely that your unit gets out of this without either the parent or the pair of ASMs being gone, most likely the former. But it's somethin' your SM/CC will want to coordinate with the COR, IH, UC, and DE.

 

Beavah

 

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Let me clarify. Parent A comes to pick up Scout A. She gets into a tussel with boy C. Leader B catches the tail end of the wrestling match (was in good fun), physically removes parent A from boy C. Parent A leaves, then contacts police later with questions about whether that was legal or not. Leader B and husband (also a leader) gets extremely, demands that parent A and Scout A leave the troop or they will. Scout A had nothing to do with wrestling match. Parent A realizes that she over reacted, expressed apology to me and SM. Leader B and husband will not accept any apology. Leader B and parent A do not have any history, Scout A has only been with troop about 2 months, with no problems at all, in fact, is a model Scout. Parent A has even said that she is willing to stay away from any function as long as Scout A can remain in the troop. Yes, we are calling a meeting of all the other leaders to discuss this, tomorrow night, in fact. Just wanted a some outside input. Also, Leader B is our Committee Chair, husband B is an ASM. Also, they will probably leave the unit in less than a year, Scout B (their son) is finishing up his Eagle.

 

To answer why parent B was removed from boy C, apparently Leader B didn't know it was in fun, and that parent B and boy C were family friends and this happens a lot.

 

The SM and I have looked at a lot of options: We do have another unit in town, not sure how active, otherwise, it's 40 - 50 miles to the next unit. Starting a new unit until Leader(s) B leave troop, meeting as a separate patrol on a different night, or just letting the leaders leave early.

 

Hope this helps. Also, thank you for all the input, and if any of you are on other Scout forums, I am posting the same question there.

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If I am reading this correctly, I would let Leader B leave early. If they will not accept an honest appology, they are not showing scout sprit in my book. Sounds like the other parent is trying to work with the unit in offering to stay away. Better scout sprit, do what is best for the boys. Besides if those other leaders are about to leave and the parent is new, I would let the older ones go, with much thanks for the services they rendered. (hope I am reading it right - been a long week)

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Seems to me someone overreacted to a situation they didn't need to be involved in.

 

The problem is the parents, not the Scout.

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Not seeing the incident, it is a bit hard to judge the severity.

 

When you state "wrestling" I picture a woman rolling around on the ground, grappling with a young man. Was this the case? Were they arm wrestling? Did she have her arm around his shoulders, giving him a "noogie"? How about thumb wrestling?

 

When the leader pulled the parent off the Scout, how was it done? Did she grab her by the hair? By one arm? Both arms? Around the waist? Around the neck? By her shirt? Did she hit also?

 

As you can see, there are a lot of different variations of the incident that are possible. For the one to have called the police, it sounds like there was more than just simple "pulling off" going on.

 

Seems to me both ladies were in the wrong. However, some of the above variations are more wrong than others.

(This message has been edited by scoutnut)

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Yah, I can't see where it's relevant at all that Leaders B might leave the troop in a year. That should have nothin' to do with how the incident is handled. Unless there's some prior incidence of bad behavior or overreacting by Leader B? Why would yeh even begin to consider starting a second troop?

 

Too many unanswered questions, eh? So I'm back to basic principles.

 

1) Yeh selected leaders for a reason, you should support their judgment. A unit leader should never be put in the position of feelin' like they need to quit for responding to what looked like a youth protection incident. Ever.

 

2) If law enforcement is called about a scout leader at a scouting event, yeh take that very seriously. After the investigation, either the leader is gone because the complaint was warranted or the parent is gone because the accusation was false. Last thing the unit needs is a parent calling the cops every time she has an issue.

 

A grown woman grappling with someone else's adolescent or teenage boy on da surface is a bit out there, eh? Barrin' some context that makes it more appropriate, it really is somethin' that I'd expect an adult leader to step in on.

 

Boys come with families. When we lose a kid, we lose the parents as volunteers. When we lose the parents, we lose the kid as a scout. That's just the way of things. A boy who is a discipline problem should not get a "bye" because his parent is a good volunteer and yeh don't want to lose the parent. And a parent who is a problem should not get a "bye" because the kid is a good kid and you don't want to lose him.

 

Beavah

(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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Reading your update, this is sounding more and more like an event where you should raise the white flag and ask for LOCAL advice and help, from either your District Commissioner and/or Council Executive. Whether she apologized or not, Parent A got the police involved, who now have a partial record of the situation. This could lead to several things:

1. Charges by the police against either Leader B or Parent A or both

2. Lawsuit by either Parent A or Scout C against your troop or chartered organization

3. Lawsuit by Parent A against against Leader B

 

In any case, it is time to stop reading opinions here, get your local district and council involved, and get the help and advice you need. We may have great advice here, but it is only advice. Our butts are not on the line. You need official help to protect youself, your SMs, your Troop, your Chartered Organization, your District, your Council, and ultimately BSA.

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Given what you've told us, it sounds to me like the parent who called the police was blowing things way out of proportion as you say she admitted to over reacting.

 

I used to have a neighbor who would call or threaten to call the police on neighbors and their kids at the slightest provocation. I think this shows a real lack of character, an unability to deal with conflict that will cause your troop problems in the future. I think your troop would be better of without somebody like that.

 

The leader, on the other hand, acted to protect a boy against possible abuse, an act which should be commended. I agree with Beavah on this one. If leaders are afraid they will have parents calling the cops on them for doing their job, before long you won't have anybody willing to be a leader. You need to support your leader on this one.

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It also sounds to me like the parent was out of line, and the leader... it's hard to know without seeing exactly what happened, but the leader was right to intervene.

 

I think it's important to support your leaders... but...

 

I am very concerned that the parent has apologized and offered even to stay away from the troop so her son can continue, and the leader is not willing to let it go.

 

I think a reasonable compromise would be to let the boy continue, have the parent stay away until she has completed some training (or, worst case scenario, until the leaders leave if you think that's happening in the next year or so -- speaking as a "girl," sometimes it's hard for us to let go of grudges and it might be better not to have these two in the same room too often). If the leader wouldn't accept this kind of compromise, then I am afraid it DOES cause me to question the leader. Having the PARENT at scout activities can be considered a YPT thing, but how does having the BOY in the troop compromise YPT?

 

-Liz

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