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Question about banned leaders/comitee members

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As is very often the case, I agree with Lisa


Folks, you either:


- Use the BSA's system of background checks, OR


- IF your Chartered Partner has more stringent procedures, you follow them.


Doing anything else may put you, your Chartered Partner, and your Council at risk for civil or criminal violations. You'll need to know your State's privacy law.


Remember, BSA is self-insured for the first million dollars. That means anything resulting in civil action can be taken from PROGRAM support dollars.


Is it worth the risk?

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I assume that there is a reason that I have to sign a form giving the BSA or a prospective employer permission to do a background check. I assume that doing such a check without permission would put them in jeopardy.


There are exceptions. I have been checked by the Secret Service a few of times for events involving the first family, second family and a former president. They don't ask you to sign anything, just get the SS# and take it from there. They can do that, we can't. :)





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Google the term "background check" and you'll find tons of companies that will perform them for you, a private citizen. You don't need permission from anyone to search public records.


While I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, I would imagine that the BSA's permission line is there so that if an applicant is turned down for something that came up during the check, he or she can't claim the BSA went a'snooping.

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Working where I do, for the PA. Department of Corrections, I can or could bring up a lot of stuff about just about anyone.

Most of it is public record. (Yes my failing to stop at a red light 3 years ago is still up there!)

Some of the people I work with, seem happy to spend hours looking up stuff on just about anyone and everyone.

Most of the time, I don't even bother looking up the inmates I'm working with unless someone gives me a problem.

The truth is that I don't trust any of them.

No one is where they are for singing out of tune in the church choir. I laugh when one of them says to me "But Mr Walsh, I wouldn't lie to you!

Still I think I do a better job not knowing what they have done.

At times what they are "In for" is common knowledge. This is especially true of guys who are in for child molestation or guys who are in for life.

The other day a co-worker found a sex offender who lives a few doors down from a house I own. He really wanted to be sure that I knew.

I now know. But I don't know what I'm supposed to do with the information.

I have friends who have been caught driving over the limit and been charged with DUI.A few of these are very heavy drinkers who very well might have a real problem, but a couple just were at the wrong place at the wrong time and made an error of judgment.


I have had people who worked for me that have come to work with signs of having been hit, by their partner.

So far HWMBO has never felt the need to give me a whack. Not that at times I might have needed it!

I haven't whacked anyone since I was about 14! Mainly I think be cause I wasn't very good at it.

Some couples do know how to push each others buttons.

I watched as my brother and his wife went through a very messy divorce, which ended up making a couple of law firms a lot richer! While my brother never laid a hand on his wife, he was at the time drinking a lot and who knows if she had been around? What might have happened?

I really don't feel it is my job or my role to police the world or pass judgments on people. I'm OK leaving that to the people who have to do it.

Like a lot of things in life there are no hard and fast rule of what I'd do and when I'd do it.

If a parent came to camp to pick up his son and it was clear that he wasn't able to drive? That would be one thing, but I'm not sure if that one time would want to make me ever allowing him to pick up his son or drive other Scouts?

The truth is that I don't know what I'd do or how I'd go about doing it.

I know that if I knew a Scout was living in a home where the parents were dealing crack? I'd have no problem calling the police and would be happy to let them and the courts do their thing.

I sure as heck wouldn't want my kid going to that house. I think I might also warn others that this wasn't a good place for their kids. But my doing this would be me being me not me being a member of the BSA.


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I can't answer for most states, but I beleve they are the same as NY is for access to criminal records and restricted DMV files. In order to have court access to them I have to sign a oath that I will not use them for other than official purposes and to pass what I found to unauthorized personnel is a Crime and would probably cost me my job.

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Smithgall, why is it you are talking about setting the policies for your Troop about who participates and how? From your posts you are only a relatively new (1.5 year) ASM, not the SM, CC, or the COR.


The reason you had no knowledge of this incident is that BSA does not make a practice of announcing to everyone the results of their background checks. Negative results are given to the Charter Organization (usually the IH or COR), who had originally approved the person for membership, and the person requesting to be a registered volunteer. The potential volunteer is allowed to give any explanations they feel are necessary. Then it is the decision of the IH/COR and the SE weather to allow the person membership.


Prospective adult members provide quite a lot of information on their application, including references. It is the responsibility of the CO to check out these references before they sign and approve the application. If this is not being done then it is something to be brought up to your COR.


It is up to the Charter Organization who/what they inform about problems with a persons application, and what kind of participation they will allow this person. It is not up to other parents or an ASM, to dig up, and spread it around to the Troop.


If you have questions you should contact your Charter Organization. It was after all, THEIR call. It is NEVER appropriate to simply spread rumors.


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Scoutnut. im have reread your post a few times as i do not want to make the mistake you seem to have made and jump to conclusions that are not supported by what was written. you ask why i am trying to set policy since i am relatively new (1.5 years as an ASM. Exactly how many years does one need to put in before their opinion is warranted. How many years do i need to be involved before i am allowed to pose a hypothetical question? thats kind of asinine logic isnt it? If you do in fact beleive that i should have more years experience before i should be allowed to ask questions then how far do you take that logic? Based on that way of thinking the only members on a commitee should be old time scouters. Not new parents because they do not yet have the required time to be able to have an opinion. Should new fathers not be involved as assistants? Im just looking for a number of how many years you think would be good. Additionally when you imply 1.5 years is not enough could you also break that down to the level of involvement. Do you believe a parent that comes to every campout, is an ASM, has been fully trained, goes to University of Scouting, and has attended all the events but has ONLY been doing this for 1.5 years is less qualified than the parent that drives by, tosses the kid out and picks them up a few hours later..but has been doing that for 5 years?


Whenever I hear someone say that time has anything to do with quality, ability or value i have to laugh. I will be 40 next year. When I was about 3 my dad gave me a golf club. So for 37 years I have been a terrible golfer. i suck at it. never took lessons, just play maybe three times a year and really dont care if i ever play again. However i do have 37 years in so at this point i guess i am qualified to give Tiger some advice, if we are simply counting years of involvment.


Ok all sarcasm aside



i am not sure why you think that I am trying to set policy for the troop.

Please go back and read my original post. I was asking the forum a hypothetical question. I stated very clearly we do not have a problem with the woman that was denied but it brings up the question of when is it appropriate to let people know. as for spreading rumors, what rumors were spread? Again if you read what i actually wrote you will not in anyway determine that I have spread any rumors about this woman. In fact i state very clearly i do not wish to air her dirty laundry. i did not determine the reason for her denial, as i said i was not even aware she had been denied. The CC let it slip at a meeting and that brought us to the question of when would council warn you or not. that is all i am asking. I am not trying to make any policy, I am not even addressing this particular incident. we discussed the question and i thought maybe someone here would have an answer.


What i was trying to determine is where is the line drawn or is it ever. You have a jane Doe parent that got busted with a joint years ago at a rock concert..not abig deal (to me)... Then you have another potential comitee member that just got paroled after 15 years for rape and now is now married and wants to bring his stepson.. that seems like a problem (again to me). Obviously these are the two extremes but somewhere in the middle lies the line that gets crossed.


please recognize that haveing an academic discussion is a way to bring to light potential areas for improvment and prevention. however the effort is wasted if the premise is misread and not understood.

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This entire discussion is about a very valid issue. While rejection for membership because of something coming up on a background check seems clear, what should a unit do about a rejected person participating as a non registered adult? I have never had to deal with this kind of situation. I can think of a lot of ways to deal with it, but it would be useful to know if there is a national policy.


I agree that making additional inquiries on one's own can be very dangerous.

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Yes, you have said it was hypothetical. And yet, you have also said that this is about a very specific woman currently in your Troop.


Yes, you said you had no issue. Yes, you said it made no sense to "publicize this womans dirty laundry". Then you put in the qualifier, BUT. You also then stated you don't feel comfortable letting this woman be involved, or interact with, the boys at her house or on campouts.


At that point it stopped being hypothetical, and it certainly seems you do have an issue.


As to the setting policy issue, since I do not see this as being simply a hypothetical issue for you, it sounds to me like you are pushing to have every parent in your Troop go thru a background check with the results publicized.


Aside from this being a rather bad idea, as an ASM this is not your call to make. This is the decision of the Charter Organization, and it's COR, with possible input from the CC. As stated, there is a reason BSA does not publicize the results to everyone.


The concern I had at your being a relatively new parent in the Troop has nothing to do with your ability to pose a question or have an opinion be warranted. Asinine as it may be, the feeling that I have is that, after only a bit over 1 year in the Troop, you don't know these folks very well, yet you already have problems with your SM, CC, Charter Organization, and now this parent.


If a problem is discovered with an adult in your unit, the very FIRST thing you should do is to contact your CO. They might very well have discussed the problem with the adult involved and have come to a private solution. Especially if the CO has not made it known that the person is restricted in any way.


Trust that if a person was denied membership for any extremely serious reason, your CO would have also taken steps to restrict this person's contact with their youth. If you have any questions about that, once again, CONTACT YOUR CO.


Practice proper Youth Protection procedures at all times. Do not go off half-cocked on your own. Do not spread stories (true or not).


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ScoutNut. thank you for finally stating what i have been asking all along


"Trust that if a person was denied membership for any extremely serious reason, your CO would have also taken steps to restrict this person's contact with their youth. If you have any questions about that, once again, CONTACT YOUR CO."


This is exactly what i have been asking. If the problem is serious would we be notified. Short of notification having the persons contact be limited is a fine solution. that is all i have ever asked. I will assume because of the nature of your responses that you are a long time scouter and this know how these thing must be handled. By stating upfront that someone with a serious problem would be limited you could have answered this question.


as for your other point. I do not think you understand the situation well enough. The SM became the scoutmaster the month that we joined the troop. Until then he has been a merit badge counselor for about 6 months. When my wife and I joined there were three active comitee members. our troop on average has only about 5 boys show up. For the first 6 months i was in the troop i was the only father that attended anything, even meetings. So you see i may be new and would gladly defer to the scoutmaster and all the other leadership that you assume exists but its simply not there. My year and half makes me an old timer with the troop.


maybe i am way off. But if you had a troop this size with no parental involvment and a brand new scoutmaster with no scouting experience (less than us in fact since he had not gone through cubscouts with his stepson) what would you do? I know I know contact the CO.. I really dont beleive that is the cureall that you think it is but we can agree to disagree.

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