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I joined the Boy Scouts last Feb. when my son crossed over from Cub Scouts.I am an ASM. Trying to learn all I can to better assist with the troop. We recently returned home from our summer camp out of state. While there, two scouts (which are brothers)got into an arguement that turned into a fist fight. They were in the Patrol area with all the scouts and the adults were in the adult area. We were called for by the SPL when things turned violent.The SM spoke with the boys to find out what the problem was and told them to stay away from each other. That is when the adults got into an argument as to what the proper protocal should be.The SM is in his first year as SM, he was a ASM for 3 years. The former SM was with us for guidence, he was SM for 6 years previous and is now on the committee.


The father of the two boys was with us on the trip. He is a parent and not a leader.He chose to not get involved with the issue.


SM says it was handled.


Committee Member said boys will be boys


ASM#1 said the father should have taken his sons home and been removed from the troop.


ASM#2 said the father should have taken his sons home and waited for the committee to meet and decide their fate.


ASM#3 said we could not punish the boys do to the aggresser has A.D.D. and that he is Special Needs.


We were 600 miles from home.

ASM#1 took his son and went home. He has since left the Troop.

The Committee is going to meet and review the case but has pretty much said it is over and done with.


Being the new guy on the block I want to do what is right. I definetly don't want it to be my son that gets beat up next time. I have been trying to find the Boy Scout Rules and haven't had much luck.

Any info from you long timers would be greatly appreciated.


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Well.....withoutbeing there, it's hard to have a "true" opinion. Know what I mean?


But I'd say( based on your post) that it's done and over with.


AS far as :


ASM#1 leaving thr troop...REally? Just like that? One thing happens and everybody doesn't bend over and do things his way and he's gone?


Good bye, good riddance, and don't let the rainfly hit your back side!


Now, one thing to look at is the fact that the two boys are brothers.

Sure, that "shouldn't" justify fighting, but siblings ted to irk each other more, have a different manner with each other and will treat each other differently than the rest of the boys in the troop.


Why? Because it's "just" my brother!


Here's the thing ( and you know this too) Boys get into fights sometimes. While I wouldn't always brush it under the rug, I also wouldn't dish out punishment or take a drastic stand every time words were had or a push comes to a shove. Boys tend to work things out.


BUT...It it happens ALL THE TIME...Somebody needs to adress the boys and explain that a certain kind of behavior is expected of every scout in the troop towards other scouts.


Even if it is "just" your brother!


Incidentally, It's one thing to take a scout home from a 30 mile away trip, but 600 miles? Nope,I wouldn't leave early either.


And while we are at it, KUDO's to the dad for not trying to overstep the SM oor ASM's. Sounds like dad gets that he is a participating observer and not a leader. He steped back and allowed the troop the opertunity to handle it.

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Sound's like it has been handled. I also give KUDOS, no not Kudus ;), to Dad for not stepping in.


If it was serious enough, and constant, I would have sent the kid home though. I actually knew a troublemaker who was sent home on Day 2 of NSJ. He was in my Ship. Mom was not happy about that, but I can undertand why he was sent home: theft, fighting, and burning troop property ( the troop's US Flag).

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thanks for the reply,

I had brought up a few other questions to the Leaders which opened up another can of worms.

the troop has gone from 6 boys to 45 boys in the last year and a half.

So it is a complete change for everybody. I asked if the troop had any bylaws? The answer was, we haven't used them since 2004. I responded, with 6 boys you can probably get by with that, but with 45 boys the rules need to be passed out and followed. I feel the boys (and the parents) would enjoy scouting so much more if they new what to expect and what is expected of them.

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From the BSA Guide to Safe Scouting -


Discipline used in Scouting should be constructive and reflect Scouting's values. Corporal punishment is never permitted.


The BSA has the expectation that all participants in the Scouting program will relate to each other in accord with the principles embodied in the Scout Oath and Law.


One of the developmental tasks of childhood is to learn appropriate behavior. Children are not born with an innate sense of propriety and they need guidance and direction. The example set by positive adult role models is a powerful tool for shaping behavior and a tool that is stressed in Scouting.


Physical violence, hazing, bullying, theft, verbal insults, and drugs and alcohol have no place in the Scouting program and may result in the revocation of a Scout's membership in the unit.


Adult leaders of Scouting units are responsible for monitoring the behavior of youth members and interceding when necessary. Parents of youth members who misbehave should be informed and asked for assistance in dealing with it.


The unit committee should review repetitive or serious incidents of misbehavior in consultation with the parents of the child to determine a course of corrective action including possible revocation of the youth's membership in the unit.




As has been stated, without actually being there, it is hard for us to give accurate advise. However, from what has been posted I can give you my 2 cents!


All 3 ASM's were off base.


Being 600 miles away from home It would have to be a MAJOR incident to make me send 2 Scouts home.


ASM #1 overreacted by leaving camp and then the Troop.


ASM #3 has no idea what he is talking about. Yes, ADD, and its associated other problems, is a disability. Yes, it could explain WHY the fight happened. BUT, it is NOT a free pass, and an excuse for bad behavior. Kids with ADD/ADHD have a real need to learn how to curb themselves, and how to deal with others.


The committee member's comment about boys being boys is almost as unthinking as the comment by ASM #3.


Yes, being brothers does put a minor bit of a different spin on things. At least the nonsense was all kept in the same family, without other boys being injured.


If I was SM, I would probably have done a bit more than just tell them to stay away from one another. I would have found out the problems, and then taken them over to their father (since he was there and G2SS recommends including parents) to discuss - together - ways to deal with their behavior. Perhaps some kind of project that they must work together to complete (helpful, courteous, obedient).


There is a BIG unknown here, that could explain why some wanted the boys kicked from camp, and/or kicked from the Troop, and why the one family left the Troop. Is this type of aggressive/violent behavior an ongoing problem between these two boys? Are one, or both, aggressive toward other boys? Have they ever hurt another youth?


A yes answer to one, or more, of those questions would change the entire scope of the problem. However, unless there was a real chance that they would harm another Scout, I would not have sent them home.

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Every Troop already HAS behavior rules that every Scout, and adult leader, should know by heart. They are the Scout Oath and the Scout Law. I recommend that the parents ask their Scout sons to repeat it to them periodically.


Any other behavior by-laws are unnecessary.


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I agree with Scoutfish that ASM #1 over-reacted. You can have different opinions, but by leaving the camp then leaving the troop because his opinion was not what everyone followed like gospel, I fear he will do lots of troop hopping and ruining events that should be fun for his son, until the son drops out, or the father takes him out of scouts..


Having it reveiwed by a committee, and you suggestion that they review, alter if needed, and bring back the by-laws is a very good idea.


You can't have such serious "one time and your out" rulings especially when you had know by-laws stating that would be the outcome.

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IMHO, the SM should have separated the boys, sat down with them one at a time, found out what was going on, sat down with the father and then sat down with all three together.


The "committee" shouldn't be deciding anyone's fate. The SM is the program officer of the troop, and it should be backing him up.


Bylaws are utterly unecessary and ultimately counterproductive. Follow the Oath and Law, use some common sense, involve the parents, and that's all you need.

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First, welcome to the forum.


I state the next with no intention of being flippant. The Boy Scout rules are pretty easy:


Rule 1:


Oh my Honor, I will do my best, to do my duty to God and my country, and to obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.


Rule 2:


A Scout is:














That's it - that's the Scout rules.


Of course, there are other "rules" as well, such as those found in the Guide to Safe Scouting, but I suspect you're hoping to find some kind of rule from National that will help you deal with situations like this. You may as well stop looking. Unless it's a serious breech of policy that requires a report to the Scout Executive, the BSA prefers that Units handle their own discipline. The Scout Executive doesn't really want to hear of a fist fight between brothers at summer camp. Now if one of those brothers shot the other brother with an arrow at the archery range in a fit of rage, then yeah - that's a call to the SE (who will hear from the Camp Director long before you get to a phone).


Now my thoughts, and these are just mine, as to this situation are somewhat similar to Scoutfishes.


ASM 1: I'm not a zero tolerance kind of guy, and neither is the BSA (with a couple of notable exceptions). This attitude is very much zero tolerance - caught fighting? You're out! Nope - doesn't work for me - we're about building character - how can we build character if we kick Scouts out who need their characters built?


ASM 2: This is an ok answer - IF the unit has the culture where the SM and ASM's abrogate their responsibilities on dealing with youth discipline matters to the Committee. I've never been a big fan of Committees being pressed into service to act as some kind of discipline board. I am a big fan of Committees working with the program leaders (SM & ASM) to develop discipline protocols and serving as a sounding board for SM's and ASM's who need advice. But, with that being said, I know there are units out there that do use their committees as tribunals, and though I disagree with that, there isn't anything that prevents it.


ASM 3: Heart in right place, but wrong answer. ADD and Special Needs should never be used as an excuse to avoid giving proper discipline. Can they be used as mitigating factors? Sure, if they were indeed a mitigating factor (and it shouldn't be automatic - many of us have run into situations where a Scout on meds gets tired and cranky with a tendency to lash out without thinking at a certain time of the day - mitigating factor - but if the incident occured 3 hours before without any of these indicators - nope - no playing the ritalin card then). Some kind of discipline in a case like this is always appropriate - even with mitigating factors.


SM - got it pretty much right - spoke with the offenders and dealt with the situation, as requested by the SPL. Some may say the PLC should have determined some other sort of "punishment" but in my opinion, once the SPL has to appeal to the SM/ASM for help, it's out of the PLC's hands. Could the SM have done more? Perhaps - but he's also the one who spoke with the fighters so knows what the deal is, and it sounds like he took into account another mitigating factor - they are brothers - while it might not make it right, there is a good chance the scuffle had nothing to do with Scouts and everything to do with them being siblings. It happens - and a wise Scoutmaster is the one that can separate the Scouting from the Family issue.


The Former SM - at first glance sounds too laissez faire but to give the benefit of the doubt, it may be a way of expressing that in this Troop, the adults recognize that boys will be boys, that there will be the occassional scuffle, and that the Troop isn't there to make a federal case out of it. I suspect, based on how the SM and the former SM viewed things, that this Troop leaves it to the Program Leaders to deal with discipline matters - my kind of Troop.


As for Dad? As Scoutfish noted, he handled it perfectly - stepped aside and let the SM handle it.





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ASM#1 - I wonder if he would feel the same way if this was his son? I don't agree with this solution.


ASM#2 - Maybe but is there a need for the committee to be involved?


ASM#3 - Horse Hockey! A disability doesn't give anyone carte blanche!


Doesn't sound like you didn't lose much with ASM#1.


I agree with the SM. Done, finished. If this happens again, then there needs to be consequences.

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I don't think the committee should be involved in deciding the fate of the boy. That is over and done with. but the troop lost a scout when a (Parent/ASM) walked out in a huff over the matter, and pulled his child out of the program also. There was other disagreement & arguement amounst leaders over the issue.


SM & ASM may handle the boys, but the committee deals with the Parents & other program matters. Having protocol that the adult leaders, Parents and the boys understand clear the possibility of a similar situations.

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Attended the last two days of my son's summer camp some years back.

Witnessed brief fistfight in troop's campsite between two older boys, not noted as troublesome.

Result one bloody nose (better aim I suppose).

SM suggested public apology to each other, and each others parents, in order. Both elected to do so.

Also witnessed BOR for one of the boys that night, was to be for advancement, now changed to how you doin'? The advancment delayed about 4 months, the other wasn't close anyway.

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I agree with ScoutNut on this, re: the 3 ASMs. Most worrisome is ASM #3. That attitude needs to be addressed pronto or you're going to have to deal with the consequences for a long time.


I have also been involved with a troop where two brothers have a history of causing trouble. Not so much with each other, but with other boys. There have been times when some folks (myself included) have thought it would be appropriate to send one or both of these brothers home for things that, if it were just an isolated incident, probably wouldn't merit such a response.


And I am not convinced that it matters whether you are 600 miles, or 30 miles, from home. If something is truly bad enough for a boy to be removed, then remove him.


In this case based on what has been described, if it is an isolated incident and more a matter of brothers having got on each other's last nerve on a hot day at camp, rather than a matter of on-going behavior problems, I don't think it rises to the level of sending anybody home.


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Yah, I'm with CalicoPenn. Maybe because he's as longwinded as I am :).


Summer camp for boys yeh usually hit a "down" spot midweek where fatigue from being active all day instead of videogaming, and emotional fatigue from living in close quarters, starts to take its toll. Tempers get a bit short, even among adults, eh? And even among friends.


A bright PL, SPL, or adult recognizes the signs and catches things early on to intervene or redirect, but not everything can get caught. Sometimes, a swing or three happens.


Ordinarily, such fights between brothers or friends aren't somethin' that rises to the level of being sent home in my book. Usually yeh just separate 'em, figure out what's goin' on, get 'em to an accommodation or shake on it and then find some service work that suits 'em to do together. Or better yet, send 'em both to bed early! By the next morning, they'll be back to being best friends.


Now, sometimes a fight exposes some uglier stuff - some longer-term bullying or thievery or such. In that case, yeh sometimes have to send a lad home. Fights where a lot of damage gets done or a weapon is threatened are also ones where the response has to be stronger. But none of that seems to apply in this case.


So I think da SM had it right. SMs usually know the lads better than Committee Members, and are therefore in a better position to make wise decisions. IMHO Committees of parents should never be involved in discipline issues, and even committees of more neutral adults should be reserved for final expulsion decisions.


ASM #1 is not a loss. If the fellow doesn't understand boys, he shouldn't have been an ASM in da first place.


ASM #2 is reasonable if the fight went beyond a brief altercation or exposed some other stuff.


ASM #3 is naive and yeh should make a quiet note that the fellow should never be made SM. Yah, an ADHD or Asperger's lad might be handled a bit differently, depending on circumstances, but that's only a gentle modifier of a response. Yeh still need to respond, for the sake of both the boy and the other lads in the troop.




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I would have done exactly what ASM #1 did.


"Boys will be boys?" I've never been in a fist fight in my life. Never seen the need to beat someone up.


ADD/ADHD is NEVER and excuse for this behavior....I have one of each in my household and I never tolerate that as a justification for anything other than a big appetite at the end of the day.

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