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Appropriate discipline for disrespect

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As I read this, I got the feeling that I was missing something.

I of course wasn't there, I don't know any of the people involved or if there is more to this?

Still I can't help feeling that there is more to this than just a comment about washing a few pots.


Nearly all the members of this forum care about the Scouts we serve and are willing to go through hell and high water for them.

We know that we are not perfect and are sometimes wrong.

We know that some adults who serve are likewise.

I for one am unwilling to jump in and pass any sort of a judgment on the Troop or the adults who serve the Troop based on what has been posted here.


Thinking back.

My son, who really isn't a bad Lad, was and still does very quick to pass judgment on others, especially adults.

One adult he for some reason? Just didn't like and went out of his way to find fault with was Jack who serves as our Assistant SE, who also serves as the Reservation Director at our Council Summer Camp.

I know Jack very well, we have been friends since I spent my second night in the USA on his sofa back in 1977.

Sure Jack has his days and his ways, but he knows his job, he really does care about the Scouts and is a nice guy.

Still my son just doesn't like him. Going so far as to make sure that he goes out when we invite Jack over for dinner!

I have tried talking to my son, explaining that Jack isn't such a bad guy.

But my kid has dug his heels in and is being very mule headed (Wonder where he gets that from??)

My son worked at summer camp for four or five years with Jack as his boss. He was overly quick to put Jack down for anything and everything which didn't go the way he (My son.) thought they should go, even things that Jack had no control over.

Thankfully Jack has a daughter who is about a year older than my son. She is also very headstrong. So both Jack and I were able to compare notes and laugh about what our kids were up to and the way they were acting.

For my part.

Other than talking with my son about him not being fair, I opted to do nothing.

The way I see it is that he learned a lot from working for someone he didn't like. Chances are that as he goes through life he is going to have to get on with people he might not like or maybe not respect.

My boss (Who I like and do get on with.) Is ten years younger than I am and isn't as well qualified as I am. But he has been with the department for a very long time. We both respect each other and have open lines of communication. I offer my take on what is going on, what we are doing well and not so well. Sometimes he goes along with my take and sometimes he doesn't.

My feeling is that whatever he does is down to him. He after all is the boss and the buck will stop with him.



I think if I were in your shoes. I'd sit down with my son and with pen and paper at hand write down a list of what your options are.

Then from that list have your son choose which one is the one that you both are going to go with.

You as the parent might want to let him know that life isn't always as fair as we'd maybe like it to be and that there are lessons to be learned from sometimes biting the bullet.

He might opt to stay and work things out or he might opt to move to another unit?

It is important for his well being that you let him make the choice.

Maybe it's also time you tell him that he made this bed and allow him to lie on it?

Sooner or later he is going to have to learn to stand on his own two feet.



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Yah, so much energy and so little information. Everybody needs to take a deep breath and step back from da edge of the cliff. He-said, she-said, he's the enemy, sheesh! It's like a gaggle of middle school girls. :)


Sounds like the lad was a teenager who did his best to push every adult button. That's called bein' a successfully stupid teenager :). I dunno, me personally, I don't mind dealin' with teenagers and would have just made a joke of it, or told him to go sit in his tent for a bit and talked to him later. But not every adult is used to dealin' with such things, or takin' lip from a smart aleck. Nor should they have to. It's OK for an adult to get angry about such things, eh? But I reckon I probably wouldn't want to use such adults as registered leaders for a kids program with teenagers.


I reckon if I were an ASM who had to leave a campout to drive a kid home because he was being so bad a jerk/example/influence then I'd be a bit annoyed by that. And on his return, it's natural that he talk to the other boys about what happened. Yah, he might not have done the best job; a really experienced leader would make it a serious talk without committing to a definitive course of action, but I reckon we can forgive adults for not being perfect.


All da other stuff about the CC, the "enemy" advisor, prior accusations against da SM and all that I just don't know what to make of. Way too much adult baggage there. That's not teenager stuff, that's little kid stuff with an adult memory for holdin' a grudge way past its expiration date. Everyone involved just needs to grow up. Until then, they should all be ignored. None of it is relevant to the current Case of the Dumb, Mouthy Teen.


So, what's da proper resolution here? It's that the lad owns up, apologizes, and is punished appropriately. First and necessary step, and the only one that you should be focused on, 5scoutmom. It's the one that's your responsibility as a parent - to make sure your kid does right, and to make sure you behave like a responsible adult and not a kid with a 3-year-old grudge.


Then it's a quiet decision by da SM and the troop on how to help an ASM or other adults do a better job, and give 'em a few more techniques to better manage mouthy teenagers. Da job of the other troop adults is to back the ASM on his send-him-home decision and make sure the boy learns his lesson, and then, later, perhaps over time, to help 'em learn some better skills or move 'em into roles which have less direct contact with teenagers. You aren't goin' to be involved in that 5scoutmom; it's not your role. Yeh might not see it happening directly. But yeh hope that the other good adults in the troop will do their thing, and you help 'em by being polite and supportive yourself. By being polite, reasonable, and supportive, you make da folks who are goin' a bit "over the top" look bad and make the SM's job easier. But if you go off da rails with grudges against "enemies" yeh just sabotage yourself.


I think the apologies go out immediately, and should be in person to da ASM. And apologies by definition have no strings attached, eh?


Then I think it's reasonable for your son to ask for a SM conference. This sort of discipline stuff should start with da SM, eh?


If there needs to be a bigger meeting, I think it's fine if yeh ask for a delay for a week for da COR to join. Sometime during that meeting, after your son re-iterates his apologies to everyone, yeh might have him step out so that you can say (1) that you thank and support the adults for helpin' your son learn a valuable lesson, and (2) that you were a bit disappointed by the "yelling" that seemed to go on, and think it might be helpful for da troop to address that by helpin' adults learn some different approaches.


I know if I ever caught an ASM yelling at parents over the phone I'd be havin' a few words with him, eh? There's really no cause for that. And while it's occasionally OK to yell at a lad to get his attention, it's not somethin' I'm very fond of. When it's a matter of more serious discipline, it's better to get quieter and not louder.


Is 5scoutdad around? Don't take this wrong, but since yeh seem to be a bit wrapped up in da energy of this thing, 5scoutmom, dad might be da guy to do the talkin' here.




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Always tough to know which of the three sides your are looking at (mine, yours, actual scenario)in cases like this, especially in a forum after the fact.

From what I've read I'm not sure your son is deserving of punishment and even an apology may be more of a protocol issue. Much depends on having been there. And your son isn't quite correct, a certain level of respect is expected/granted, however respect of this nature is quite easily lost and very hard to regain. I thought I read some of this occurred as a private exchange (a different issue altogether).

If a youth behaves in a socially responsible/respectful manner than an adult is out of line to expect said youth to say 'I respect you' if he does not. Said adult ought to be reflecting upon why that condition exists and work to correct it. From what I've read so far there seems to have been an extreme overreaction on this, so maybe some blanks need to be filled in.

Hope this works out for you. Looks like you will be having lots of meetings to get to the bottom of this.



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The more I think of it, the more I believe this whole episode could have been avoided by a good, gory food poisoning story related to unsanitary camp dishes told humourously by the adults.


Talk about a tempest in a tea pot.

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What goes around comes around. Lead by example. I don't think I or the boys need to earn respect, it should be an assumed given for everyone equally regardless of whether or not they are entitled to it. Giving of respect is a reflection on me, not the other person receiving it.


Too often we can make excuses for treating people badly because they didn't measure up to what I think is earned respect. Sorry, that concept will get one in trouble in quick order.


People I don't know get respect, not because of THEM. They get it because of ME. I have been questioned on this practice over the course of my lifetime many times. How can you treat that person nicely when they treat you so badly. I always smile and say, "Because I am me and don't want to be like them, and there's nothing they are going to do to change who I am."


The young gentleman in this situation needs to learn how this works or this process will occur over and over again in his life.


Waiting for someone to earn my respect took too long in many instances in my life, and I just didn't want to waste a lot of my time waiting for it to happen.


Because of this, I rarely get pegged the "bad guy" in the situation. :)



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5scoutmom, when I mentioned people being responsible for their actions, I was speaking about the adults involved, not your son. From your description (which yes is only one side), the adults in this acted just as badly as your son did.


I feel that how this incident is/was handled is important to the overall health of the Troop.


Any meeting, beyond a SM Conference, should include the COR.



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I really have only one thing to say. As an Eagle scout who was a (not always respectful) pistol of a scout, I have one piece of advice about this situation.




Don't have your son apologise. If you are satiisfied at a punishment that *YOU* deal out and enforce, then that is all you need to do. There is NO WAY you can fix this situation from the inside. "Advisors" of any sort other than where they belong (Unit Commissioners) are a very BAD thing.


If you insist on staying and dealing with this do these things, and do not allow anything else.


1. REQUIRE the COR or IH to be at the meeting. Make sure they get your side of the story FIRST.

2. CALL the Unit Commissioner for your unit. (If you don't have one, call the District Commissioner.) (If the "Advisor" is a Commissioner, also Invite the District Scout Exectutive to this meeting.)

3. Do not allow your son into this meeting until you are satisfied with the results of the discussion.

4. Do not allow a 60 or 90 day suspension. That is an AWFUL punishment. If the punishment cannot be carried out in the span of a week from the meeting, do not allow it.


If this were just a situation of punishment, then I would not suggest all of this. However, you have discribed a BROKEN leadership to me.

IMO- Your scout was already punished for "disrespecting" an adult. He was sent home from a campout.


Please continue to update us.


One last thing, you must do everything you can to make sure that this situation does not ruin scouting for your son.

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Holy smoke, mds3d!


1. REQUIRE the COR or IH to be at the meeting.


Now, I may just be a touch old-fashioned, but I don't think it's at all courteous or "respectful" to demand the presence of a volunteer or of the head of an organization just because you're an upset customer. Do yeh perhaps mean you'd like to request time to speak with one of these people? :)


2. CALL the Unit Commissioner for your unit.

Yah, da thing is, a good unit commish really isn't goin' to insert himself/herself into a situation like this unless they are asked for advice by a SM, CC, or COR, or at least they're sure such advice is welcome.


Guess we just disagree on da other pieces. I think a 15 year old Life Scout can and should be able to step up to a meeting with adults and that that opportunity shouldn't be taken away from him. And I think a short suspension can often be a good thing to let people calm down and regain their bearings, while showin' da rest of the lads that there are consequences to a behavior.


Different strokes, eh? But I agree with yeh, goin' down this road is really a decision to leave.



(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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A couple of observations.


1) When parents of a Scout don't like certain other adult individuals (for whatever reasons), it is usually not transparent to their children. Therefore, why would one expect their 15 year old son to respect someone if they do not? You state that it is well known that this man dislikes your husband and your son and the feelings are mutual. The fact that this is well known is a problem. Teenagers have a huge hypocrisy radar - they won't respect someone just because they are told to. Also, it is ludicrous to demand someone respect someone else. If I was the Scoutmaster, I would look at the relationship between your two sons from a troop perspective. Was your older son his brother's PL? His SPL? The quartermaster? If not, he has no business telling him how to wash, etc.


2) A committee chair should not be interfacing with the Scouts. If the Committee Chair followed the program he could have informed the SM and let him handle it. If the troop followed the program, your son should have been washing patrol gear which should be of no concern to the CC.


3) Why do so many adults want to handle such issues as these in a public forum? I don't mean this forum but why should the whole committee be involved? They are not judges or a jury. This is matter for the SM to handle.


4) Troops should not create roles that the BSA does not recognize - i.e. the "advisor" role your mentioned.


5) Don't try and tell the CC how to handle this or give the appearance of making any demands.



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This is not quite a Gordian knot.


My take: The Scout in question does need to sit down and write: Clearly and simply write down why he does not respect the CC.


Next, he needs to find that Venturing Crew, and ask his records be transferred, please, immediately.


Third, after having written, sat on, and then carefully re-read the reasons why he does not respect the CC, the Scout in question needs to give that letter, or an apology, to the CC.


There are other things which cause me to question how this troop does business, but I don't want to pursue them. If the IH/COR are active at all, and accept how the unit is being run, change will not happen. If they're absentee franchisees, change will not happen. All the UC (all the Commissioner's Service indeed) can do is drop a few hints on regular visits.


It's time for this Scout to cut his losses. My $0.02.

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Acco -


The CC who says my son disrespected him and the man that I can't stand are NOT the same person. I happen to like the CC and think that he does a great job with that. He was SM for one year and it is not his forte; he is much better with facts and figures and organization than with the boys, as this episode illustrates. That's why he stepped down after only one year as SM. The man I can't stand is another committee member who also holds a district position. This man was not even on the camping trip where the incident happened and has been brought into it by the CC.


I just spoke with the SM who said that he has asked the CC to not have the advisor there but he doesn't think he will listen. He said the CC has the right to have him there. At this point, my husband will call the COR but if the advisor shows up at the meeting, COR or not, we are out of there unless the advisor leaves.


Regardless, however, my son will apologize to the CC and the ASM because he should not have behaved as he did.


If the CC has the advisor there, I will take it as a clear sign of disrespect for my husband and I and I will not accept that. If that happens, my middle son will be out of scouting until he turns 14 in a few months and the youngest will go to another troop.


This has morphed into much more than it has to be. Either way, it will be resolved by the end of this week.


By the way, the SM said he has proposed a one month ban from meetings and activities (which is almost halfway done by now) and a "zero tolerance" for disrespect with him being the final and only arbiter of what disrespect is. That would be acceptable to me and my husband but we don't know if the CC will accept that. My husband has also acknowledged that he will probably be going on camping trips for the near future at least. The apologies are of course part of the package. CC has still not called me back or responded to my emails.


Thank you all for continuing the dialogue. This is really helping me to hone my thoughts.


Oh and for the writer who suggested that Scoutdad handle it, thanks for the laugh! I am the calm parent - on several occasions previously (most notably the BOR incident) Scoutdad has had to be convinced not to physically attack the "advisor."

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Why do I see red flags and hear alarm bells ringing?


Isn't this the very TYPE of thing that started all of this: One person and only one person's idea of what disrespect is?


As we all have agreed,your son said something that wasn't tactful, but I really don't think your son TRUELY MEANT it as disrespect, I don't think he really thought about it one way or another to be honest with you. But one person...ONLY ONE!!!!... ( whoever overheard your son...CC?) acted as the sole arbiter of what disrespect was. AND had zero tolerance for it.


Sole arbitor. So meaning his own personal opinion of what is disrespectful?


Now, I'm only in the Cub Scouts,and not a BOY scouter, but isn't this stuff what the boys themselves are supposed to be handling? Isn't there a system of peer review or a scout honor court that handles this stuff?



Was it disrespect ...or in this case percieved disrespect? Well, it won't matter if one individual becomes the dictator of..... I mean sole arbitor of "intended" meanings behind peoples comments!


See, having more time to think about your post, and having more time remembering my own youth..especially the emotional and developmental divide between teen and adult.....thinking of different wavelenghts and such.... I am thinking your son is only guilty of just not thinking. Disrespectful?.. well not really, Yeah, he needs to learn some tact and how to be humble. We all agree on that, but there is also a responcibility by the adult leadership to determine if the comments were MEANT to be disrespectful.


And as a parent, I can tell my son: "Because I said so!", but as an ADL, I cannot, I must teach by example, by giving reasons and explanations.


Whoever overheard your son should be aware that while the comments were tactless and probably just stupid, whoever overheard may not have heard the entire conversation and may also have misunderstood the meaning behind it.


As a person in a lesadership position, the "overhearee" should also show maturity by acting mature. He should have found out exactly what was said and meant before storming off in a hissy fit.He also has a responcibility to menter and teach good behavior, not just flip out over what was deemed bad. What happened to teaching?


What happened to leading by example? I think they may just be showing future leaders that if you don't like what somebody says, you put them on ultra probation and toss them out as soon as you can!


The more I think about it, it sounds like your son is being bullied by some who have a personal grudge or bad taste at the very least against him. It may very well be your son's fault from previous actions, but at the leadership level, it should be handled differently.


As much as you hate it, it may be time to leave lest the "Sole Arbitor of direspect" get offended if your son doesn't salute quick enough or iron his shirt well enough for the next BOR.Or maybe he has abused the spine of his scout book by folding it and shoving it in his pocket!





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TCD and Stosh hit a point: We can control who we are. Controlling others is far harder. No matter how this turns out, if your son lives Friendly, Courteous, and Kind, no matter who or what the other fellow is, he'll have the respect of others.


Thoughts for him to ponder, no matter what his final course in this mess be.

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What goes around comes around. Lead by example. I don't think I or the boys need to earn respect, it should be an assumed given for everyone equally regardless of whether or not they are entitled to it. Giving of respect is a reflection on me, not the other person receiving it.


I was with ya, Stosh, until the I don't line. Respect is earned. Do you respect a boss who steals and lies just because he is a boss? I'm talking about the person not the position.

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