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Serious Scout Discipline Advice Needed

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If the substance was indeed pot.


1. A crime has been committed...I don't know of ANY state in the US where possession of a controlled substance by a minor is NOT a crime.


2. Call the police and have the matter investigate.


3. If found factual, expel the Scout immediately.


Scouts are NOT above the law and do not operate outside the law.

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I'd check to make sure such an incident happened and not rely on pure heresay.


I'd also tell the scout the seriousness of the nature of what hapened. Then issue a 6 mo suspension. Next time, he's out - end of story.


Hold a troop/pack meeting with all scouts and parents. Even though most probably know enough details, I would leave out specific names, but explain what happened. Explain that necyt tuime, the police will be called imediately. That wether the police press charges or not, there will be a minimum of 6 mos suspension and next incident followed by expulsion.


Incidentally, in most states, it does not really have to be the actual drug advertised. I can tell you that baby powder is cocain and I will be charged at a minimum of " selling a non-controlled non-illegal substance under false pretenses. Same for oregano.

Law came about from dealers who sold fake cocain and pot. They still sold and stil made money so federal law recognized false substances too.


Now it comes down to being human: WE all did stupid things at one time or another. We all were given a chance or two.

You could send this child through juvenile system or could give the "Let it slide THIS TIME ONLY" talk.


You want to know where that comes from? I snuck some of my dads cigarettes out and smoked them with my friends. I smoked some weed as an 18 yrear old. I drank a few beers or 12 almost every weekend between 18 to 24 years old. I even had premarrital sex at least once if not a whole bunch of times. Might have even kept a five dollar bill I found on the ground without seeing if I could find the rightfull owner.


So? Well, I can't say I commit any crimes right now, I do an honest days work for an honest days pay. I do each job as if I were doing it for myself and I do it at the highest standards. I do not steal or keep what is not mine. I do not smoke, do not drink, nor do any drugs including 99% of prescibed pain killers.


In this particular case, I would not call the police, ONLY becauuse it's too late. What are they going to investigate? What evidence, what crime scene what clues? All you will do is bring angst and misery to an issue that is over with. At this point, I would just concentrate on prevention and future incidents.

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Let me throw this question out to you.

What if we interview the Scout in question and he says "I was only kidding around...didn't really mean it...I didn't actually have any."


IMO - this is still a serious situation and gives me plenty of reasons not to trust him.

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I think I'd respond the way you just did - still serious, and seriously stupid, and will cause people not to trust him even though he didn't mean it. People need to be able to believe and trust each other, in order for a group to function. He has put himself in a poor light by his behavior (whether he really had the substance, or not). He has also been a poor role model to other scouts, who obviously do not know whether he was only kidding or not, and who might think that they ought to *actually* do this in order to "measure up" to him. How would he feel if some younger fellow who looks up to him actually went and did what he only pretended to do, and the other fellow got caught?


Even if he was pretending, what did he hope to gain? Did he think that playing around with this topic would make him "cool" or the "big man on campus," so to speak? That reflects a lack of judgment, lack of maturity, lack of trustworthiness, and lack of self-respect.


Pull no punches on this.



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Between the non-action taken by the \Troop in this thread, and the non-action taken by the Troop in the "Fighting" thread, I'm having problems identifying where the life lessons are for actions/personal responsibility lessons are in some of these Troops.


Here's a what if:


What if instead of an issue of illegal drugs or fighting, a teenage scout reports or is found to have pornographic photos of his under 18 girlfriend on his cell phone?


What does a Troop do then?



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I'm with Lisa. Pull no punches.


A Scout is Trustworthy. That's the first point in the Scout Law, part of the Ideals Method, and part of the Character Aim. The matter of integrity goes straight as an arrow to Scout Spirit.


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A couple of posters wrote "every Scout deserves a second chance."


Within reason I agree with that if:


1) The Scout acknowledges that he has done something wrong and/or inappropriate and

2) The Scout ASKS for a second chance


What has been discussed here is, in my opinion, not a second chance. It is turning Nelson's blind eye to a potential problem situation.


I can understand Scout leaders being very reluctant to confront a Scout accused of offering to sell pot. There are a lot of ways to lose and very few ways to win i.e.:


1) Scouts denies it possibly reinforced by parent saying "MY SON DOESN'T DO THAT KIND OF THING". Someone is lying or at least misstating facts.

2) Scout acknowledges it. Says "everybody does it."

3) Scout acknowledges it but says "I was kidding. I didn't mean it and they knew it."

4) Scout denies it. Turns out he was being set up by his "friends."

5) Scout acknowledges it. Are Scout leaders now required to report to police.

6) There is some law enforcement officer on the SM staff or Troop Committee. Is the person from the Troop asking the Scout about the incident required to give a Miranda warning lest the Scout, by answering, frees himself from consequences as a result of anything that he says or, alternately, SM finds himself subpoenaed as a result of what he learns. (serious question here; I really don't know.) Scout leaders, if I am correct, are not privileged like attorneys, physicians and clergy. SM could be compelled to testify and any promises like "this is just between you and me" cannot be honored in the face of a subpoena.


But in spite of all of this, if it were my unit, I would speak with the accused Scout right away. I would get his side and point out the consequence of drug possession or drug dealing charges. Regardless of what he said, my attitude would be "Even having accusations of this sort is totally unacceptable in this Troop and in Scouting. We simply do not do this kind of thing. This kind of accusation forces me and the other adults to watch things extremely closely and destroys, to some extent the attitude of trust that there needs to be in a really good Troop." If the Scout acknowledges it and asks for a second chance, I would give it to him.


I would also go back to the accusers and compliment them on their courage but also note to him the seriousness of such an accusation. That is not in any way blaming the accuser, just acknowledging the courage to make a report with such severe consequences. I might particularly lean on this if my conversation with the initial Scout caused me to believe that there was something a bit fishy about the report.


Finally, every so often, I would have a conversation with the Troop about drugs, alcohol, risks, etc. I would point out that trying out things like this has been part of youth for as long as there have been young humans :) However, our current society in the US has become particularly draconian and unforgiving about what would have been considered juvenile pranks and sowing one's wild oats in previous generations. A youth may be enticed by your friends, peers, etc. to do something like this and may be called "chicken" or "baby" if you don't do it. But if they do it and are caught, it will likely be part of their permanent record to their detriment in college applications, scholarships, military, jobs, etc. It WILL be found and they will pay the price.


And if data is needed about this, in my company, we were working with our law firm and there was a sharp new associate that joined the team. Their CV was provided and it was most impressive. However, I checked them on the internet and, in addition to a lot of good things and honors, up popped an incident report from smoking pot in a dorm room as a freshman in college more than 10 years before. No big thing and it in no way bothered us. But there it was.


This is probably very unfair to today's youth. In the past, youth involved in incidents were often given a choice of the Army or jail. Now, the incident might well keep them out of the Army. But in a world of zero tolerance and Google, there can be little room for forgiveness and for youthful mistakes and, unlike previous generations, those mistakes, incidents, etc. WILL be found. Huck Finn would likely be put on serious meds today.


Scouts need to know this and hear it. Some will listen.

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