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runintherain

Possible Youth Protection Problem?

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why?! The SE ...

 

I have several good reasons why you should go directly to the SE and not the CC or COR. Let me emphasize these are not hypotheticals.

A committee chair or charter org rep or anyone close to you and the SM has an inherent bias. In my experience it is to protect the direct contact leader from outside "threats."

Then the "sweep it under the rug" strategy kicks in. If this is an incedent that needs management this is an obvious problem. But most of the time, it's a one-off exceptional thing so what happens is half-a-dozen people get involved micro-managing a minor issue.

These people delude themselves into thinking that they are doing the adult leader a favor. They literally come of thinking that he owes them some respect or something. So when they have an agenda to push, they expect him to fall in line.

Oh, and the person who raised the issue in the first place gets treated like dirt -- not by the accused adult, but by everyone who "protected" the accused. Every good thing that person does is treated like there's some ulterior motive.

These people will spend years fighting to avoid the SE so "nobody gets drummed out of scouting." They will actively work to cripple a leader's attempts at making youth-led decisions. With the way people move from unit to unit, this gets a little ridiculous.

Eventually, someone will crack and call the SE. But, because nobody's really talking, nobody knows the whole story. Then, some other unit leader gets an unpleasant call from HQ about an incident that's a year and a half old, and instead of running program, he/she has to sort out the truth and determine with the SE if his/her youth are truly at risk.

 

Now maybe your CC and COR will have the spine to approach a problem like this openly and will respect you and your concerns. They may even call the SE on your behalf. But I have never found peeling the bandaid off slowly to be worth the time.

 

My previous statement (talk to the SM) still stands. But, if there's more to it (e.g., a hair raising on the back of your neck kind of feeling), then do us all a favor, contact the SE. That's the one person who is more likely to have a tempered reaction from experience, and most able to address serious issues effectively.

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Yah, here I have to disagree with qwazse a bit, eh?

 

If yeh have a suspicion of impropriety within a unit, the supervisor is the Chartered Organization, not the council. So your ethical obligation and da proper legal course is to notify the Chartered Organization, and follow their guidance.

 

Some Chartered Organizations (schools and groups that run other youth programs) have some very well developed response policies that honestly are far better than the BSA's, with a more experienced professional staff to implement 'em. Of course, that's not every CO, so yeh have take my guidance and use your own judgment and common sense based on da circumstances. ;)

 

Practically speakin' the Chartered Org. will work with da SE and vice versa in most cases. But SEs are a bit hit or miss on this stuff. Their training in it is really fairly cursory, and their experience pretty limited. Some are good, some drop da ball, some overreact. There's nuthin' guaranteeing they're goin' to be better than da CO, or even any better than what qwazse describes. Da most recent trend has been to "shoot first" and forget about asking questions. :p

 

Beavah

 

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I agree with those who advise speaking with the SM and then deciding what to do.

 

I disagree with several statements by Beavah:

 

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.

 

I don't think that's true, and I also think it's pointless to argue which reason is the primary reason. "No one on one" is listed as one of the "barriers to abuse", so it would seem that the BSA takes it fairly seriously as one of the means of protecting the youth. In my opinion, downplaying the "youth protection" aspect of the Youth Protection Guidelines could lead to incorrect decisions being made when situations present themselves, and incorrect interpretations of the guidelines. That does not mean that I would report this SM to the SE; if I were satisfied after talking to him that he either did not violate no one-on-one or that he understands the issue and will not let it happen again, I would not report it.

 

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.

 

As someone else said, these are generalizations, and I think they are dangerous generalizations. The BSA does not make any assumptions about where abuse starts, and I see no reason why volunteers should make them either. I don't know if you have any statistics to back up that these are true in a majority of cases, but even if they are, when you are confronted with a particular situation, I don't think statistics are helpful in deciding what to do. We have to follow the guidelines, and if it is a grey area I think we have to use some judgment in deciding whether what we are looking at is a violation, in which case the guidelines require that it be reported.(This message has been edited by njcubscouter)

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The G2SS is not policy. That at least they made clear in this revision. It's an internal guidance document to advise scouters.

 

< bangs head against wall >

 

Beavah - We've gone around and around on this topic on other threads. You say the G2SS is not a policy document. Yet we as volunteers are referred to it as a basis for our decision-making. So what, in your opinion, is the policy document on BSA's Youth Protection rules? If the G2SS does not include the rules, which document does?

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Beavah wrote:

 

Shortridge, it's not enough to quote da document, eh? Yeh have to understand the document.

I don't see anything in this thread that suggests anyone doesn't understand the document. The document is quite explicit when it calls for report of "any" violation. It doesn't say "any violation believed to be significant after a careful and reasoned evaluation of the circumstances," it says "any."

I don't disagree that Beavah's version it quite reasonable and workable, but unfortuantely for us, he doesn't work in Irving. I say, give them what they asked for. Next time you come out of the stall in a restroom in the dining hall at camp, and find yourself washing your hands next to a seventeen year old, with no one else around, call your SE and turn yourself in. Maybe if enough people do this, we will get a document (a policy, actually) that is realistic.

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LOL. Yah, I like Blancmange's solution ;).

 

I was actually surprised, since I have a copy of da last G2SS which is where I pulled my stuff from. Then I downloaded last month's revision with all this new language. Da folks in Irving try really hard, eh? They're under a lot of pressure from different sides and have a very limited staff. I sorta like the new direction with G2SS which is returning it clearly to a guidance document, which then allows for more colloquial and not policy-like language. I think people learn better from ordinary language, eh? It's only us weirder fellows who get into policy and legalese. :p Of course, that will mean we have to break ourselves of da habit!

 

Shortridge, go easy on da head there! (or go easy on the wall ;)). Yeh have to remember, I come at this from what is perhaps a different perspective.

 

You're an adult who has been selected by an organization and approved by the BSA as someone they trust with the care and welfare of children. You are expected by society to exercise your best judgment and da full breadth of your experience in that task. Yeh might think about it as being a professional, as opposed to being a piece worker. A piece worker is given a task and told how to do the task. A professional is given a task and expected to use his experience and judgment and resources to accomplish the task. As with any citizen charged with the care of others, you are personally responsible for doing your best and for da choices you make, and your chartered organization shares in that responsibility. We in the BSA would appreciate it if yeh did a good job, too, because we insure you and it affects our reputation as well.

 

But yeh can't duck that responsibility or foib it off on following a book. It's da responsibility of every citizen who is entrusted with care of another. Nothing in the BSA is law, that would usurp your responsibility to exercise care and judgment in the safety of children. Nothing. The BSA is just a contracted provider of program resources. You are the responsible professional and citizen.

 

Beavah

(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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qwazse - Despite your use of a bold font, those are in fact hypothetical responses to the situation. I'll grant that those are very real possibilities for some situations, but certainly not the only way that it could be handled at the unit level. There's also no saying whether the SE's response would be any different, or any better.

 

To avoid speculating on how the SE would/could/should respond, is there anyone with any first hand knowledge of the policies (if any) that guide how a council follows up on a YP-related infraction by a volunteer?

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From an earlier post of mine on this thread:

 

>

 

 

As it happened, while I was driving this youth home, my District Executive called me to discuss a membership issue. I happened to mention that I was driving a Scout home alone and why. He reminded me that this was a Youth Protection policy violation and that by not following the policy I was taking a risk of accusations being made against me.

 

That would be an example of how a DE did respond to a particular case.

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I hate to belabor a point, but there was a question I was hoping Beavah would share his thoughts on: If the G2SS is not an official policy document, where are the official policy documents? In all seriousness, I would like to read those.

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If the G2SS is not an official policy document, where are the official policy documents? In all seriousness, I would like to read those.

 

Let's say you're a school science teacher and your school district buys a textbook (which these days seem to come with computer resources and summer professional development and a box of materials for da laboratory)... then where are your official policy documents about lab safety?

 

Do yeh try to find your official policy documents in da materials from the textbook publisher? Nope. But a good textbook publisher is goin' to provide you with resources and training on lab safety. Maybe even a lab safety guide and a background check service for your school.

 

For policies, yeh look to your local school district, and if it's a public school to the state regulations. They'll have a few policies about lab safety like da use of goggles, but not too much else. But that's what yeh should read if yeh want policy.

 

For the rest, you are expected as a competent professional trusted with da care of children to exercise your own best judgment, taking into account da best practices of the field and your local conditions and students.

 

No different for a unit scouter. The BSA is a resources and materials provider, contracted by your Chartering Organization. Like da textbook publisher, they provide materials and training for a fee, includin' a safety guide, monthly newsletters and da like. Your Chartered Organization can institute policies for you, so if yeh want policies, yeh look to them and to any applicable state law and regulation. They'll have a few policies about safety, especially youth protection issues, but not too much else.

 

For da rest, you are expected to act as a competent, responsible adult citizen trusted with the care of children and to exercise your own best judgment, taking into account the best practices of da field and your local conditions and scouts. For that, you are personally and morally accountable; yeh can't fob it off on followin' G2SS or the NOLS Wilderness Handbook or the Prentice-Hall Guide to Safe Outdoorsmanship, nor can you ignore those things. Those can be good information, but they do not relieve you of liability or responsibility for using your own judgment.

 

Not sure where or when we Americans got away from da notion of personal responsibility, eh? But it's a bedrock principle of civil society and citizenship. Da BSA is just a fellow (corporate) citizen tryin' to be helpful. It's not the law.

 

Now, would any competent and caring science teacher allow 7th graders to mix dangerous chemicals without all da right equipment? Of course not. Nor will any competent and caring scouter allow a 7th grader to be alone in the tent with a non-relative adult at night. Neither the science teacher nor the scouter needs "policy" to know what's appropriate or what's good practice.

 

Beavah

(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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Again, I don't disagree with any of those broad statements about how one should guide their everyday decision making. The problem I have is that we have a document which, on its face, appears to provide fairly comprehensive guidance about how to conduct yourself in various scouting scenarios, but when you do what it actually says in some limited, but not unrealistic scenarios, you end up with an absurd result. There needs to be some of the flexiblity that Beavah infers, but just is not there.

 

No different for a unit scouter.

With all due respect, it is. In your lab hypothetical, they haven't given me a "Guide to Safe Lab Practices" that appears to cover most of what I need. I know that I need to rely on outside resources.

A better analogy is when I go fishing and pick up a copy of the DNR's fishing booklet. Usually on the first page or two, it says something to the effect that while they have tried to accurately summarize the laws and regulations, if there is any difference, then the law or regulation controls. If I want to, I can go to the state code or regulations and check for myself. As was previously noted, BSA put a similar statement in the G2SS: "The Guide to Safe Scouting provides an overview of Scouting policies and procedures rather than comprehensive, standalone documentation. For some items, the policy statements are complete. Unit leaders are expected to review the additional reference material cited prior to conducting such activities." Therein lies the problem. When it comes to fishing, there are almost no circumstances that would not be covered by some regulation or another. But when it comes to some of the YP scenarios that lead to this discussion (not just the specific one in this thread), there is a need for individualized judgment and flexiblity. As others noted, the G2SS is a mix of "musts" (policies) and "should's, unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise" (guidelines). But by using the word "any" in the reporting requirement, they are mandating reporting to the SA of deviation from the "should's," even if there is a compelling reason for doing so.

I hope everyone realizes that I don't run around making hourly reports to my SE and that I do my best to exercise good judgement. But in doing so, I shouldn't have to feel like I'm breaking what are, in fact, some very important rules.

Am I going to tell two parents who have slept in the same bed every night for the last 10 years, but don't happen to be married, that they need separate tents for the Pack campout? Heck no.

Am I going to tell Grandpa, is helping out his single parent daughter, that he can't take his grandson on the Webelos campout? No.

Am I really going to call the SE when I get done drying my hands in the restroom? Not unless I want to be the butt of some good jokes at roundtable. But am I breaking what sure sounds like a mandatory rule when I do so? Yup.

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HA!

 

One year at day camp we had a den leader in and report that just before closing ceremony, some man showed up and started tagging along with her paired den. At there was a boy in that den who had been a handful all week. The DL said the man grabbed the boy by both shoulders, got down in his face and started yelling at him.

 

Break Glass, Pull Lever.

 

We called the SE and were told to handle the situation ourselves!

 

What? No investigation? No call to Social Services? No cops? Years of YP training and all we get is Boss Hogg telling us to "hannel it, hannel it, hannel it."

 

The rest of the story -- from the beginning we knew "the man" was a local CM and one of our senior camp staff members. He happened to have taken that day off from camp due to a job conflict but showed up at the end of the day to pick up his boys. The Scout he "grabbed" was in the man's home pack and mildly autistic. The boy had been in this fellow's pack and den for years, and was a close friend of the family prior to that. When we spoke with the boy's parents, they told us what the CM had done was precisely what he should have done, and what the parents had taught him to do. When the boy was veering off into the ditch, you got his attention by taking him by the shoulders, looking him in the eye and speaking to him forcefully. "Grabbing" and "yelling" was the spin from a DL from 50 feet away. Besides, the mom told us the CM knew the boy as well as anyone and had the parents' blessing to handle any situation with the boy as he saw fit.

 

Two points --

 

One, in response to KC9DDI, the response from the SE was a joke. He could have at least feined a little interest.

 

Secondly, Scouting doesn't happen in a vacuum. We deal with real kids with real parents, real problems, in real time. The rules cannot possibly anticipate every situation. We MUST use our judgment to do what we believe to be in the best interest of the boys. Should the CM have let the boy melt down, disrupt the program and possibly hurt himself or someone else out of fear he may get reported? Or because the tactics prescribed by the parents violate the rules? Frankly, as camp director, I'm thankful he was there to handle he situation as he did.

 

To runintherain, several folks have given you good advice to ask the SM in a very friendly, non-confrontational way to "help you understand the rules." There are dozens of reasonable explainations for what happened which would satisfy me personally. Or you can follow the letter of the law and call the SE.

 

To ScoutFish -- are you kidding me? HE'S YOUR NEPHEW! And his father ASKED YOU TO DRIVE HIM! Now that you are his Cubmaster, do BSA rules now take precedence over all your dealings with your nephew? Holidays? Family vacations? Oh for Pete's sake.

 

My nephew is in a pack about two hours from here. Because of his dad's work schedule and his mom's health, he never gets to go camping with the pack. So last spring I volunteered to take him. We even tented together. For that reason, I had my brother call the CM. As a courtesy, I called too, mainly to let her know I am a trained SM and not some wack-job uncle. (I know some of you may want to debate that, but please spin-off another thread.)

 

Fish, if you or anyone else feels the need to report me the the SE, please let me know and I'll provide a phone number.

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Twocub,

 

Good points. However, in the anecdote you told about the autistic boy, wouldn't it have been better if the man had introduced himself to Den leader when he came up and joined them? Would have resulted in a lot less consternation.

 

When I was WDL, I had one uncle that would take his nephew camping. The nephew lived with the grandmother (Uncle's mother), and wouldn't have been able to camp otherwise. I didn't feel it was my place to say anything about that.

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"Yah, I like Blancmange's solution"

Hey! I made that suggestion at 0929 this morning. If credit is handed out for spamming the SE with junk YP reports I want some of it. :)

 

Edit: Oops, just noticed the pejorative way that Twocub used the term, 'wack-job uncle'. As one of those wack-job uncles, it is my DUTY to annoy the heck out of my nieces and nephews by driving with my left turn signal on, singing really bad old songs, etc. And no one, least of all my nieces and nephews, is going to stop me.

 

..how much is that doggie in the window? Arf Arf, the one with the wag-el-y ta-a-a-a-ail?(This message has been edited by packsaddle)

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However, in the anecdote you told about the autistic boy, wouldn't it have been better if the man had introduced himself to Den leader when he came up and joined them?

 

I reckon da operable question is the converse, eh? Wouldn't it have been better if the Den Leader had approached the man civilly and introduced herself, before running off and shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater.

 

In your lab hypothetical, they haven't given me a "Guide to Safe Lab Practices" that appears to cover most of what I need.

 

Go to any textbook publisher and do a search on "Lab Safety". Every one will have a guide to safe lab practices designed to cover most of what a teacher needs. Most of 'em downloadable for free, just like G2SS.

 

The difference between this and the DNR fishing booklet is that da DNR is a regulatory agency, not a private fishing program materials provider. And da BSA is a private youth program materials provider, not a regulatory agency. For a regulatory agency, you can look up the law and read the codified regulations. For da McGraw-Hill publishing house or the BSA, there's no such thing.

 

Beavah

 

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