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how would your troop handle a rumor of a bisexual scout?

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SeattlePioneer wrote:


I have to point out that all those condemning the actions of the troop leadership are operating on the basis of gossip themselves.

SP feels the need to point out the obvious today. All those who offered input or advice assumed the facts presented by the OP to be true. What else can we do? This is an internet forum, not an investigative body with subpoena power. Is it really necessary to add a qualification to every one of my posts that my opinion may change if I am presented with contrary information?

Scoutmom0618 wrote:


The "victim" making the statement he was bisexual...So, how long has he been living dishonestly??

SM0618 apparently questions the characterization of the youth as victim. During the summer camp portion of the incident (as reported by the original poster, and assuming this is true) was clearly the victim of sexual harassment as defined by the BSA.


The rumor should be dealt with and the boy confronted

So, Scoutmom0618, have you stopped beating your husband?

Moosetracker wrote:


The BSA's policy is for Adult leaders, not youth.

That's not entirely true. I cut and paste this from another thread, but the original link to its source is broken. I recall that this was an official statement:


Boy Scouts of America believes that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the obligations in the Scout Oath and Scout Law to be morally straight and clean in thought, word, and deed. The conduct of youth members must be in compliance with the Scout Oath and Law, and membership in Boy Scouts of America is contingent upon the willingness to accept Scoutings values and beliefs. Most boys join Scouting when they are 10 or 11 years old. As they continue in the program, all Scouts are expected to take leadership positions. In the unlikely event that an older boy were to hold himself out as homosexual, he would not be able to continue in a youth leadership position (This message has been edited by the blancmange)

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The BSA wrote in its brief in the Dale case: "Boy Scouting makes no effort to discover the sexual orientation of any person." This witch-hunt sure seems like such an effort. Shame on these adults.(This message has been edited by shortridge)

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Hi ScoutMom - I see what you're saying, but I got to disagree with you:


you could not hear what was being said by anyone in the room and you are only going on what you were told as to what happened??


Weren't the adult leaders only going on what they were told happened, rather than what they observed first hand? Or, if a youth tells you that he has been the victim of sexual abuse, do you chose not to believe him because you didn't see the abuse occur first hand?


scouting does NOT condone homosexuality and does not want that promoted..


At what point was homosexuality condoned?


The boys choosing to talk about sexuality at all...That should have been stopped!


I think it would be very difficult to stop a group of teenage boys from having those conversations, but I guess I can see why you might say they shouldn't take place in a Scouting context.


The rumor should be dealt with and the boy confronted


So it's inappropriate for him to discuss sexuality with his peers in Scouting, but necessary for him to discuss his sexuality with adults on the basis of rumor?


When does he take responsiblity for his choices? Note, I am NOT judging his sexuality, only telling him to take responsibility and be honest about it.


I think you are judging his sexuality. What responsibility does he have to his troop leadership regarding sexuality?


It just sounds like you don't have a very consistent position?




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Crew21Adv wrote:


How can an adult investigate a minor's sexuality? After a boy makes a statement, a board of review is a good start. Shouldnt the leadership adults be responsible for the safety of all the boys in the troop.

Are you serious? Convene a BOR to determine a scout's sexuality (sexual orientation, more precisely)? How does one go about this? Call witnesses? I think, with most committees, that proposition would go over as well as a turd in a punch bowl.

What does a youth's sexual orientation have to do with safety? Presumably, based on his name, Crew21Adv is involved with the Venturing program. How does he deal with the fact that most of the youths in a coed program are heterosexual? Doesn't that present the same "safety" issue.

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Swimming last night several of our older guys took notice of the drop-dead gorgeous female lifeguard. I suppose I have some Scoutmaster Conferences to schedule.


I don't have a problem with the troop leaders trying to get at the bottom of what happened at summer camp. In fact, they have an obligation to do so. But they got it exactly wrong. They should have been looking out for their Scout, investigating the harassment, informing the camp director and SE as to what took place and asking them to take action at their level.


I absoluetly believe 5YS's version of the harassment at summer camp and the context in which this scout "admitted" to being bisexual. One only needs to work with adolescent boys for about 15 minutes to learn that labeling someone "gay" is the all-purpose put down boys use to establish pecking order and to keep the nerds and weaker boys in line. Most kids learn to blow it off or to come back with their own retort, but I have witnessed instances where some boys decide the best defense is to just give in, as 5YS's scout did.


What this scout needed was his Scoutmaster's support, concern, understanding and friendship. Not some half-assed investigation. Not holding up his SPL nomination and not conducting the conference during the troop meeting where everyone apparently knew what was being discussed. Four adults would have been plenty for the meeting, but only if two were the parents of the Scout. I see no purpose in the three extra ASMs. The SM and one more was sufficient. (If anyone else had knowledge of the situation, they should have been brought in individually.) Apparently, the three extra folks predictably just added to the gossip mill.


I dealt with a similarly sensitive situation last summer. My first conversation didn't involve the Scout at all, but was rather a conference with our COR and the parents to let them know what I knew and to ask them how they wanted to proceed. THE PARENTS chose to bring their son in and continue the conversation.



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Fellow Scouters,




It seems that most of our forum members believe that Youth Protection Guidelines exist only to protect youth from adults. This is only partially true. It is there to protect youth from adults. It also exist to protect youth from other youth. Youth or adults may be predatory, youth or adults may be bullies, youth or adults may experiment with narcotics or alcohol.


I certainly hope that five adults did not beat up and humiliate a Scout. But many of our forum members have chosen to insult and become angry at five adult leaders, and have only heard one side of the story, which is well spun. If five adult leaders have done that, they would not be leaders for very long. But within a matter of hours, our Scouters Forum has developed a lynch mob, only reading about one view.


Equally. I believe that no Scout/Venturer should be bullied, harassed, humiliated. That simply should not happen.


However, regarding any Scout/Venturer that may be predatory against other youth. Explaining to a Troop or Crew Committee, Chartering Organization or worse the parents of a Scout/Venturer that their child had been offended or molested by another youth whom was heard stating "I am bisexual", that too would "would go over as well as a turd in a punch bowl.".


All Scouts and Ventures should be safe.


I am not against this specific Life Scout. But I seriously do hope that their troop is a safe atmosphere for all Scouts. All of them. I do find it humorous how the forum has such anger towards adult leaders, that are attempting to maintain a safe haven for their troop. Many of our forum members have become so angered, but they have only read the opinion of 5yearscouter.


If there is an issue that is threatening other youth inside of your troop or crew. Would you really ignore it?

Per the G2SS. The publications itself says that it cannot be ignored.


Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv




Per G2SS

Youth Member Behavior Guidelines

The Boy Scouts of America is a values-based youth development organization that helps young people learn positive attributes of character, citizenship, and personal fitness. 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 Scout 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.


Misbehavior by a single youth member in a Scouting unit may constitute a threat to the safety of the individual who misbehaves as well as to the safety of other unit members. Such misbehavior constitutes an unreasonable burden on a Scout unit and cannot be ignored.


Member Responsibilities

All members of the Boy Scouts of America are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the principles set forth in the Scout Oath and Scout Law. 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 Scouts membership in the unit.


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I'm reminded of this scene from Presumed Innocent with Harrison Ford. Unfortunately I can't find a video clip of it, as it's not as effective without the Judge's voice intonation:


Defense: Your Honor, we notice that Mr. Molto is listed both as a prosecutor and as a potential witness for the Prosecution. We object to that.

Judge: I take it you're speaking of where Mr. Savage responds to Mr. Molto's accusations of murder by saying "You're right?"

Prosecution: (Reading) "Yeah, you're right." Your Honor, the man admitted the crime.

Judge: Oh, c'mon, Mr. DeLaguardia, really. You tell a man he's engaged in wrongdoing, and he says, "Yeah, you're right." Now everybody knows that's facetious. We're all familiar with that. Shoot, in my neighborhood, had Mr. Savage come from those parts, he would have said, "Your mama." But in Mr. Savage's part of town, I would think they would say, "Yeah, you're right," and what they mean is, "You're wrong," just to be polite.


Crew21Adv, where is the nexus between an admission of bisexuality (however truthful it may have been) and the safety of other scouts?(This message has been edited by the blancmange)

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What would holding a BoR accomplish? Drag in a number of adults that may or may not even know the kid for the purpose of what? That would be no different outcome, maybe worse, than what was done to this young man.


I have to 'mostly' agree with Papa and Twocub on both of their posts. The SM only added to the commotion by holding his closed door meeting and all the effects of it. Those waiting outside with nothing to do the angst of 5Ys son and many others. That just adds to the mishandling of all this. But if there was this much to do about it, I dont think you can ignore it. Yes, we have a duty to protect our youth, but there also is expected to have some judgment in not over reacting to youthful games. Maybe this SM doesnt have a good feel for that and wanted some witnesses for his inquiry. One other adult wouldve been plenty for that, but its easy to see how additional adults can force their way into situations.


Preventing him from running for SPL was a ridiculous reaction if that was the reason.


Summer Camp is apparently over and going back to the CD at this point wouldnt do much other than chalk it up to experience, unless there is more to the story. I truly cant see any beneficial punishments coming to the boys involved in this interaction. Youre kidding yourself if you think you can stop boys from accusing each other of being gay when no adults are around.


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How many of you have heard, or had rumors that some of their boys engage in premarital sex? Do you pull them in for a conference with 5 adult leaders every time you hear any possible rumor?


How many of you have had Adult leaders wind up splitting with there spouses over adultery?.. Do you do and internal investigation, and rip the position patch off their sleeves for it?


5yearscouter son spent a month tenting with this youth, and never had any feeling anything was wrong or he was being "chased" by a preditor..


The scout may have made a comment.. It reached adult leadership same as it may reach them about a comment from a scout about the number of girls he may have bedded.. Through rumor you have no idea if it was an off the cuff not serious remark, or some with the girls some boyhood bragging rights with no facts behind either of them.


There no one accusing him of molesting other youths, just an off hand comment made.. Being gay or bi-sexual does not make you a "predator" by default. Making a comment does not make you a predator either.


No it is not something to bring up, unless you would like to investigate every rumor of misconduct and every verbal insinuation of this or that in the same manner.. And penalize every scout who is sexually active out of wedlock, or has an alcoholic beverage. Or every Scouter caught cheating on their spouse..


Sorry are we Puritans going after those of low moral conduct and stoning them to death, or of the modern society.


Sorry, BSA is wrong to only point to two issues they feel are morality issues, and ignore all others.. When the world around them would view at least the adultery aspect as a bigger morality issue because it is a breaking of the 10 commandments..

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Fellow Scouters,




Not that jtswestark exactly agrees with me. But I believe JT believes in a safe environment for everyone.


To shortridge, Saying "I am _________" is misbehavior? I would say possibly so. It is a statement that a Scout made, and currently it is only a statement. Was the boy lying, was the boy joking, was the boy honest? I don't know. Shouldn't someone determine if it was a joke, a comment, or a serious declaration.


A hypothetical situation for this forum. But I have known Boy Scouts who have been caught by drug sniffing dogs in the schools. Would the parents of other Scouts want a Boy that smokes narcotics at school to be camping with their boy? Would the Scoutmaster with knowledge and keeping the information confidential, be responsible to the parents and families of all the boys in the troop, if that one boy brought narcotics to camp?


How about the misbehavior of the boys who taunted and teased this Scout?

Similarly, the boys who taunted and teased. I hoped that I made myself clear. Youth protection is for all youth. Their behavior is not consistent with Scouting values. If they need to be removed from the troop to end harassment, they should also be removed.


I would hope that this Life Scout is (or was) treated with dignity and respect. Similarly, I hope that no Scoutmaster or ASMs which are attempting to create a safe environment, are lynched by angry crowds that have only heard(read) one opinion.


Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv

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Crew21 - If I'm understanding you correctly, you are saying that the adult leaders actions may have been at least partially justified based on the belief that they were protecting the other youth in the troop from predatory behavior.


Fair enough, but two points for your consideration:


1) There's no evidence that there was any predatory behavior. Yes, I know that there's always more to the story than what makes it to the forums - but, in the event that, in reality, there was no inappropriate behavior on the part of this Scout, then the actions taken by the adults were clearly inappropriate. It's like persecuting the kid for "thoughtcrime."


2) Even if there was some kind of inappropriate, dangerous or predatory behavior going on, the adult's response was still inappropriate. You bring up the G2SS and Youth Protection policies. Can I ask you to recall what you learned in Youth Protection Training regarding how to respond to allegations or suspicions of abuse or other inappropriate behavior. The correct actions are ensure that an immediate threat of harm has passed, and then to notify the proper authorities of the situation. In fact, I believe that the BSA specifically directs its leaders NOT to conduct its own investigation into the matter. So even if there is something more to this story than what we're seeing on the forum here, it still seems like the leaders' actions were inappropriate!

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Wow, now we have scoutmom demanding this boy be subjected to an Inquistion and tossed out of scouting even though this is all rumor and no boy in the troop has been approached or attacked by the accused. Crew21 stating that "the professional scouters who are trained to deal with this, and commissioners should be brought in to decide", I hate to tell you Crew but NO professional scouter or commissioner is trained to deal with this kind of situation and their philosophy is usually to quote Star Trek "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one." I really sense an atmosphere here among many of the posters of fear, anger, and mob mentality justice. We are all third parties here with very limited information given by the OP from his point of view and are NOT in any position to give any kind of sound advice based on the limited facts presented. So before you sentence this boy to burned at the stake take a deep breath and try to view this situation from all angles instead of just with your emotions.

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