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runintherain

Possible Youth Protection Problem?

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Our troop had a camp out this weekend that was about 2.5 hours away from our chartered organization. I did not go on the camp out, but when waiting for my scout to arrive back home I saw the scoutmaster and a scout pull up alone in the scoutmaster's car.

 

Now, they were immediately followed by another car and I know that the scout's parents and the scoutmaster are very good friends.

 

However, I still believe that to be against the rules of youth protection. Is that the case?

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As a rule there should be no 'one-on-one' contacts between adults and boys. This is a guideline to avoid risky situations so in the case where the SM and the boy's parents are good trusting friends and (this is speculation) they may have communicated about this mode of transportation....if nothing happened I would consider it a minor thing. It would have been better if a second boy had been in the vehicle. If you are concerned, refer to the Guide to Safe Scouting and YP guidelines and feel free to ask the SM how familiar he is with it. Try to keep it friendly and it could be a constructive conversation. My humble opinion...one of many.(This message has been edited by packsaddle)

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Yes, I would view this as a violation of the youth protection requirements for no one-on-one situations - it is a situation we try to avoid. I did have it come up once though that there were only two of us going in one direction, and as we're good friends with the family, I checked with the mom and she agreed that we'd just treat it like "friends of the family" for the drive.

 

So if the Scout's parents already know about it and are ok with it, I wouldn't sweat it much. If there were more people available, then it would be good to set a good example and go by the book, and I wouldn't like to see it as a regular practice.

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You should chalk this up to a trade-off between Risk Zone and Youth Protection. On a 2.5 hour trip, a passenger makes it easier to drive the whole distance awake and alert.

 

Unless the car had tinted windows, I honestly wouldn't consider it a YP violation at all.

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Yeah it's a violation. What do you intend to do about it since you don't seem to know the circumstances?

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Evmori, I am planning to keep my eyes open to how this troop does things and to tell my son that he should never drive alone with an adult other than his parent. If I see this going on again, I will mention it to the Committee Chair.

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An SM doesn't need paranoid parents "keeping eyes open". Simply get a moment with the guy and tell him "I noticed that you came home with only one boy in your car. Why didn't you make sure you had two boys?"

 

He might be like me and not consider consider it a YP issue if you're in a car on the open road with one boy in plain view of the rest of your troop. It's no different then having an SM conference outside 300' from the other patrols.

 

Or, he might of considered it, but there was an extenuating circumstance that you know nothing about. He might actually appreciate someone to talk to about it.

 

Or, he might have considered himself "off the clock" and have no clue about the suspicions he was raising.

 

Or, he might be a predator gradually culling this boy for his evil designs.

 

Regardless, he's better off knowing that you are the kind of person who pays attention to those things and is available to help as needed.

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I had a Scout not picked up after a troop activity several years ago. After waiting twenty minutes or so for the parents to show up, I drove the boy the couple of miles to his home.

 

I later had mildly unhappy comments made about that decision.

 

Not a lot of choice there since I was left with the boy in any case.

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Your duty is clear:

From into to YP section of G2SS:

 

Notify your Scout executive of this report, or of any violation of BSAs Youth Protection policies, so that he or she may take appropriate action for the safety of our Scouts, make appropriate notifications, and follow-up with investigating agencies. [Emphasis added].

 

There is no question that this was a policy violation:

 

Again from G2SS, transportation section:

 

 

 

If you cannot provide two adults for each vehicle, the minimum required is one adult and two or more youth membersnever one on one.

 

.

(This message has been edited by the blancmange)

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I'm with qwazse on this one - the last thing a Scoutmaster wants is some type of "gotcha" mentality among the parents where they are going to report to the CC every time they notice the SM doing something in a gray area.

 

It may be that a couple of cars were traveling together and the SM doesn't feel that there is any YPT violation in that situation. Just ask him about it. Your troop sounds quite active and reasonably on top of things, and your past posts show you've been happy with the SM's judgment before. Quite honestly, the risk of anything bad happening in this scenario is pretty minimal. Scoutmasters always have the opportunity to have private conversations with Scouts. Still, I emphasize that for consistency and for avoiding any possible appearance of impropriety, I would recommend avoiding the situation when practical.

 

In this case, give the guy a break. It's not like he's doing the job for the money. Find a way to help him, rather than complain about him.

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Yah, runintherain, yeh raise an interestin' question.

 

Honestly, from an objective point of view, the no one-on-one rule is more to protect the adult leaders from false accusations than it is to protect the kids. Just being in a car with a boy for a bit on a long drive isn't goin' to be a setup for predatory behavior on its own. Predators really start outside of scouting, eh? Become friends with da family, see the boys when no other scouting adults are around. Adult-on-youth molestation by anyone other than a parent or relative rarely happens on scouting events, and then only when the person has been doin' it outside of scouting for a while.

 

So I'd be inclined to approach the SM gently and describe what it looked like to you in a friendly manner. Let him know it's compromising his own protection, because it opens him up to suspicions and rumors and da potential for false accusations. That should be enough to kick it up a notch in his thinkin'. And as others have said, there are all kinds of reasons why it might have seemed like da right thing to do in the moment, from the lad misbehaving in another car on down to all da other boys piled into the minivan with the movie player ;). Packin' up with a mess of kids runnin' around, things happen yeh don't catch.

 

Now, if there's a pattern with isolating that same boy on multiple occasions, giving special treatment or gifts, that sort of thing, then yeh might have a word with da boy's parents, the CC, and perhaps da Scout Executive.

 

Beavah

 

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Are you prepared to take over the reins as Scoutmaster, runintherain? Why am I asking this? It seems you are getting ready to toss this guy under the bus without even discussing what you observed and you will need a new Scoutmaster when he gets wind that someone is watching his every move and making judgments about them without discussing them with him.

 

Good post qwazse.

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I asked a question on this message board and when I got a couple of responses that this is not considered a big deal and was directly asked what I would do, I responded that I would keep an eye open and see if this kind of thing is a regular occurence and council my son not to accept a ride alone with a scouter. I also said that if this is normal behavior, I would discuss it with the CC and consider moving to another troop.

 

How is that throwing anyone under a bus? I think you need to relax a little. I am not a paranoid parent. Every parent was requested to take YPT and I did that. We learned in that training that there was not supposed to be one on one contact.

 

You can disagree with this being one one one contact and I would listen to your point of view with courtey, but labeling me as paranoid and throwing someone under the bus is just ridiculous.

 

And saying that I need to ready to be Scoutmaster id really not the point. What if I saw him take a kid into his tent? Should I not be concerned about that or report that unless I am ready to be scoutmaster?

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It should be reported to the SE.

 

Your SE will ask if this has happened before.

 

If it's not a common thing, or it's a fluke solved by a reminder, he'll probably say not to make a huge deal of it, as that could startle the scout.

 

If you call again in a few months saying something similar happened again, the SE will probably be sending that SM a letter, and you will be looking for a new SM.

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ruintherain - Discussions on this forum often remind me of one of those carnival rides where you're seated in a pirate ship that swings back and forth. (One of these things http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirate_ship_(ride) ) At first, the pirate ship gently rocks back and forth, not swinging too far from the center. But by the end of the ride, it swings rapidly back and forth between the two extremes. That's a similar dynamic to how this forum often works - the first few responses to a question aren't too far off from a moderate baseline. But, as people start arguing and defending those relatively moderate positions, exageration and hyperbole take hold, and the discussion evolves into an argument between two (or more) extreme positions, that don't always relate real well to the original question. I guess that's just something you need to get used to here.

 

I think I understand what you're saying, and I think its a pretty good way to handle the situation. I also don't think that you'd be wrong to gently mention something to the SM. Strictly following the YPT requirements can be a bit of a challenge sometimes, and I could see where it might be easy to overlook something at the end of a long weekend with much activity and little sleep. Maybe the unit just needs a little reminder to get itself back on track as far as YPT goes.

 

And clearly if you notice a pattern of YPT violations, it would be appropriate to follow up more formally with the SM, CC and council level people. But, it sounds like this was an isolated incident, and not necessarily indicative of a larger problem.

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