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From the BSA supplimental training on Bullying:


What is bullying?

Bullying is any behavior that is deliberate, hurtful, repeated over time. It is usually characterized by a relationship involving an imbalance of power, such as size or popularity.

Bullying can be physical, verbal, emotional, social, behavioral, or any combination.

Bullying can take place just about anywhere: on the bus, at school, at soccer practice, even online via the Internet.


What are some examples of bullying?


Bullying may take the form of hitting or kicking; stealing or damaging things that belong to the victim; displaying menacing gestures or facial expressions; repeated name-calling, teasing, taunting, spreading damaging rumors, coercion, or forced action; intentional exclusion from the group; and cyberbullying (a topic we will discuss in more detail later).




So I would ask, does the example of FORCING a Scout to sing meet the definition above? If so, you are probably in violation of BSA policies, if not, then no.


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What is more important here, the correct use of the word Hazing or an attitude of how scouts and scouters are to be treated?   Yah, both!   Accusin' a scout or scouter of hazing or abuse or bul

Tell me, is accusing a fellow scouter of a felony because you're mad at him helpful, friendly, courteous or kind?   Is accusin' a patrol leader of violating BSA youth protection rules because he ha

I always keep score in games. It's part of making the game interesting.




Beavah: Your asserting red herring arguments raising slander and examples of swimming limits. It just muddies the debate water.


"Personally, I hope in scoutin' we're helping to raise kids who aren't so fragile that, right or wrong, singing a song affects their self-respect in any way at all."


That's the same argument used to defend spanking kids. So your okay with using some quantity of humiliation to toughen kids. I'm not. I expect better of the scouts and the adults. I hope we raise kids that are not fragile by teaching them how to stand up to bullies whether another kid or their youth or adult leader.




Tampa Turtle wrote: "I view scouting as a bit of introduction into the male world which can be a bit rough and alpha-dog like."


Your right. I hope I'm teaching my sons and my scouts techniques and tools to stand up to that world. To deal with rough situations and those who have to put the little guy down. And to not do it later when they have authority. I like that scouting teaches scouts to stand up to bullies.


Thresholds? Everything in life is about thresholds. A beer a day is okay. Twenty beers a day is alcoholism. Dinner is okay. Five dinners is obesity. Because it's a threshold we need to think about where it is. Singing a song around the camp fire with your friends is fun. Singing a song as punishment in front of a group is not. Playing a game by agreed rules is fun. Games based on a lie are usually only fun for those in on the joke.


SM and ASPLs having jokes played on them in skits? Guess what? They are in on the joke and having fun. Try doing a similar joke where they are not in on the joke. Say during a court of honor, announcements or traveling to and from camp. I bet there's a very different result.




Perhaps it's just time to agree to disagree. We expect different things from scouts and scouting. The sad thing to me is that scouts could easily transition from your troop to ours, but I would not trust mine in yours. That's why I am very gun shy about jamborees and other activities. Scouts need to be prepared for such treatment.




And yes, I absolutely think leaders who push techniques like this are teaching kids to be bullies.



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I'd say hazing would indeed nave to be judged based on the individual circumstances of eeach incidenty, who is involved on both sides, why and the expected outcome.


As APO defines it above, then just simply asking scouts to recite the pledge of allegience, say the scout oth, holding pack or troop meetings or holding an EBOR would be considered hazing.


Having a scout earn rank as described by the boy scout handbook would be hazing, and almost anything my son does at school would be hazing.


If the teacher asks my son to step up to the...well, we used to csall the blackboards...dry erase wall sector - and figure out a math problem, write a sentance fragment or even draw a diagram for science - and my son is embarrrassed and stressed by it....that teach is hazing my son.


If I ask the scouts and all audience present at a pack meeting to syand up for a audience participation song...I guess I am hazing too.


Hell, If I call a cub scout to stand up for any awards earned, and he's shy or embarassed to stend in front of everybody...that would be hazing .




Hopefully, good common sense will prevail and people will understand waht is real hazing and what is just being alive and breathing.


But a standard set definition will get you in trouble where ther shouldn't be trouble and could cause hurt feelings when there wasn't any to begin with.



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Scoutfish: I think we are all saying it's not hazing and it's not illegal either.


Your examples though are not directly parallel. There are reasons to defend each situation you list because of some direct redeeming value in each.





But, let's be clear. While there are individual circumstances and different situations types to evaluate what is abuse, there is a truth.


Why is the scout asked to sing a song? Because he left his dishes.


How does the song relate to the dishes? It doesn't. The dishes are not cleaned or moved (physically or emotionally) by the song.


How does the song get involved? It encourages the scout to pay more attention and to get his work done.


How does it do that? By humiliating the scout.


Does the song in any way make the table cleaner at that moment? No.


Does the song in any way return the dishes? No.


Does the song in any way resolve the situation? No.


The teaching moment only succeeds by succesfully humiliating the scout. Perhaps, it's a little. Perhaps, it's alot. It's still humiliation.


That's negative reinforcement, against the BSA GTSS and it's textbook abuse. Very very minor abuse yes, but it is still abuse.


I put it in the category of how to sit and have fun with friends. You can enjoy jokes with them or you can enjoy jokes at their expense. One is okay. The other isn't.



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Beavah: Your asserting red herring arguments raising slander and examples of swimming limits. It just muddies the debate water.


Nuthin' muddy about it. If you went around my district telling other adults that I was "emotionally abusing" youth, I would have yeh in court for a defamation claim faster than yeh can sing da teapot song. Have to, to protect my livelihood and reputation. And I assure yeh, I would win.


Da swimming case met your stated definition as readily as singing, unless yeh want to revise your definition. ;) Which of course is my point.


So your okay with using some quantity of humiliation to toughen kids.


Yah, I'm not sure why folks so often find it necessary to go haring off to these black-and-white extremes, eh? Did I ever say that? No, of course not. I said that I hoped in scouting that we were raising kids to be robust enough that they don't go into emotional break down when faced with a simple task. Yeh do that through support, not humiliation. Much as jblake's very thoughtful post describes.


One of da things yeh notice when yeh do some international scouting is just how fragile American kids are compared to kids in most other countries. Pampered, spoiled, overprotected, I don't know da reasons. Noticeably less mature and robust, though. Da average Scandanavian 8 year old is more emotionally mature and independent than a typical American 11 year old.


Singing is just singing. It's not hazing, it's not bullying, it's not abuse. It might be appropriate in sone contexts, or inappropriate, and we can debate that. I already said I agreed with yeh that it was inappropriate in da jambo context yeh described, and I sorta like your argument above, at least until yeh went back to callin' it "abuse". :p Hopefully we can debate propriety or effectiveness, though, without hyperventilating and goin' all hyperbolic with loaded terms like "abuse."


Or maybe we're just immature Americans. ;)



(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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I think part of the problem is that there is no standard. Someone mentioned spanking as child abuse. But some public school jurisdictions DO allow spanking, if a procedure is followed, and I know of at least one private school that would not accept students unless their parents signed off on spanking. Funny thing is this, when the local authority overseeing the school banned spanking, not only did the faculty object and protest, but the parents and STUDENTS protested AGAINST the ban, wanting spanking to be continued. Some stats to support their cause is the increase in disciplinary infractions, including suspensions and dismissals.


So which is spanking, child abuse or corrective measure?


In regards to notching arrows, is is hazing a prospective member, or is it a physical reminder that me made a commitment the night before and that he needs to keep it?


Carrying someone to a 50 gallon water drum with his clothes on to clean him off, is it hazing, or trying to promote cleanliness and prevent foul smells and disease?


Shall I go on?


This reminds me of the guy who shot the bear defending his family, did he do something illegal, or was he within his rights to protect lives?

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I'm still not 100% on wether to call the singing incident hazing.

In bad taste? Unneccesary? Lacking in good judgement?


I'd even say flat out stupid and thoughtless and inconsiderate.


But not 100%sure about hazing.


But my post wasn't about the singing at all actually, it was exactly what I said it was about: The definition provided by APO.


And in that definition, all my examples would be considered hazing based on the APO definition , not my definition.



Even in schools that still alow corporal punishment ..ie paddling, the instances where teachers have student do conntinuous jumping jacks, or stand at a chaklboard with their nose in a circle , or even standing at the front of the room would be defined as hazing.


Is it? I don't know. I have been subjected to all 3 of those. And truth is, I can say I deserved it and given the choice at the time - definantly would have chosen tat over going to the priciples office and recieving a paddling.


So far, I haven't had any neurotic tendancies ( at least that is what the voices tell me :) ) or desires to kill anybody.


I don't have nightmares, and I don't go to counselling or take meds of any sort.


Was I ambrassed about what I had to do? Sure I was. But not as embarassed as experiencing "super" flatulence during quet time in class, throwing up in the library due to a stomach bug, tripping in the hallway and scattering books and papers everywhere , having a girl turn me down in front of everybody, losing a pencil fight or arm wrestling competition, or...well...I could go on all day.


Thing is, none of that stuff scarredme for life. It was just stuff that happened . And it happens to everybody at some time or another.


Funny thing about what could be considered hazing is that alot of people who feel they are victems of hazing...will eagerly want to participate in doing the same thing to the next "victem".


So my whole entire point is this: Hazing still will have to be judged on an individula basis an d take into consideration of what it was that happened, who it involved, why it was done and what the intended outcome was expected to be.


And I will give an perfect example of what I am talking about:


This is a skit from www.boyscouttrail.com


This Skit has gross parts.


2, 3, or more unsuspecting volunteers.

2 scouts to run the skit.

a chair.


set the chair center stage.

select your volunteers and have one scout take them back stage where they can not hear what is going on onstage.


The skit only works well if the volunteers have not seen it before so it can't be done very often.

You might want to have an actual prize that gets the contestants trying their best.


Back stage, the scout tells the volunteers they will be in a contest to get the audience to guess their job. Give each volunteer a different job - racecar driver, weightlifter, horse jockey, newspaper delivery boy, ... whatever you can think of that might be interesting and can be done sitting on a chair.

Each volunteer is sent onstage, one at a time, to get the audience to guess their job.


Meanwhile, onstage, the other scout is telling the audience that the chair is a toilet seat and we'll see how each of the volunteers use it.


Call out the first contestant and see what happens. When the laughs die down, have him stop and get the next contestant.



By APO's definition, this is absolutely hazing.


Another one :


Ugliest man in the world skit



1 good-humored adult victim.

6 or more scouts

a blanket or jacket to cover one actor's head

One scout is the ugliest man and is under a blanket.

Another scout is the circus caller getting brave people to pay money to see the ugliest man.

The rest are customers.


Caller: Gather round! Step right up! Who is brave enough to gaze on the face of the ugliest man in the world? Only 25 cents! Step right up! Hey, you there - are you brave enough?

Scout #1: Sure, I'm brave! Here's your quarter, let me see him.

(Scout #1 walks up to ugly man an peers under the blanket at his face. He then screams, falls back, and faints.)

Caller: Now that was a brave lad! But, he didn't have the fortitude of character to withstand the ugliest man in the world. How about you, sir? Are you strong enough and brave enough?

Scout #2: Ha! You better believe it. Here's two bits. Now, let me see him.

(Scout #2 peers under the blanket with similar results.)

(repeat this for all the scouts until they are all fainted.)

Caller: Certainly there must be someone here brave and strong enough to view the ugliest man in the world and live to tell about it. Anyone? How about you, sir? (addressing the leader or other unsuspecting adult. Coax him up or work on someone else until someone is convinced to try.)


When the victim looks under the blanket, the ugliest man in the world screams and runs away in fright.


So, you take unsuspecting people. make fun of them in front of everybody and a nd laugh as hard as you can.


Again, according to APO, that would be hazing.


But if the "victem" has a great sense of humore, and enjoys it..is it really hazing?


What if a simple joke is not enjoyed? Waht if the victem dosen't even like to have his name called for awards recognition?

Then in his mind, wouldn't everything you do that causes him embarassment be considered hazing? What if mom and dad feel the same way?


So again, my point is - and having nothing to do with the signing - you can't just have a set defintion of what hazing is. You have to judge it on an individual cae by case basis , and take alot of things into consideration.









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What if scouts are joking around based on what they read as a skit in a book sold at a scout shop. The one scouts feels like he is the victem of hazing and reports it to a leader.


That leader may decide it is hazing when it isn't.


Likewise, suppose the older scouts like to have an innitiation ceremony for all first time scouts at cxamp by making them do double their share of duties or due extra work? Maybe they break down the new guys tent or steal his towle and clothes while he is in the shower and causes the new scouts to have to run nakes (or with very, very minimal covering) back to their tents only to find their clothes have been taken.


The rest of the scouts might think it's a harmless joke and some of your more hardcore many-man leaders might think it's a good way to get the new scouts to man up.


In times like that, wat hazing means is very important.


As for "an attitude of how scouts and scouters are to be treated?" same thing. Define that.


Like adults telling aboy weho does not have his book that he is out of unifrom when it clearly is not on any BSA uniform or insignia guide.


Not very scoutlike is it?


Or is it ?




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If you made me stand up in public and sing, I would be mortified. I have a terrible voice, know it and do not sing in public - except quietly in Church because God will forgive me.


Had I been made to do this as a child, I would probably never return to whatever venue caused me such embarrassment. However, being the goody two shoes that I was, a very stern reminder would have made me change my behavior.


My guess is that those who are willing to change their behavior do not need to be publicly humiliated to do it. And those who are not willing to change their behavior probably also do not care about singing in public. To them attention, either positive or negative, is good.


In general, I am not a fan of any corrective action that singles out any individual in public if it's sole purpose is humiliation or embarrassment. But then again, I am not fond of humor based on embarrassing others either. I simply believe there is a better way to make your point - or make people laugh - then making someone the target of ridicule.



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The K-8 school district here defines:



Any activities that can be considered any type of initiation of another student


The penalty for which can be Long-Term Suspension


The High School is a bit more defined:


Hazing means any intentional, knowing or reckless act committed by a student, whether individually or in concert with other persons, against another student, and in which both of the following apply:


(A) The act was committed in connection with an initiation into, an affiliation with or the maintenance of membership in any organization that is affiliated with the District.


(B) The act contributes to a substantial risk of potential physical injury, mental harm or degradation or causes physical injury, mental harm or personal degradation.


Hazing does not include either of the following:


(A) Customary athletic events, contests or competitions that are sponsored by an educational institution.


(B) Any activity or conduct that furthers the goals of a legitimate educational curriculum, a legitimate

extracurricular program or a legitimate military training program.


It is not a defense to a violation of this policy if the hazing victim consented to or acquiesced in the hazing activity.

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Having been involved on the receiving end of several hazing incidents in my youth.


I can say that I have never allowed by kids to be involved in them in any way.


Is singing for the return of an item hazing? Maybe. It depends on how the kid interprets it...not how the SM interprets it.



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What is more important here, the correct use of the word Hazing or an attitude of how scouts and scouters are to be treated?


Yah, both!


Accusin' a scout or scouter of hazing or abuse or bullying when it's somethin' more minor is an awful, mean-spirited, discourteous, untrustworthy, disloyal thing to do. That's not how yeh treat people in Scouting. If yeh disagree with 'em yeh disagree with 'em, eh? Have the decency to to call it a simple disagreement rather than accusin' 'em of something nefarious.


Usin' these highly emotionally charged terms that are defined as criminal acts often causes absurd overreactions and "zero tolerance" responses. Pretty soon we'll be conductin' da inquisition and throwing Patrol Leader Bill out of scouting and referrin' him to the D.A. because he was hazing, abusing, or bullying little Joey when he wouldn't give him dinner until Joey had washed his plate that still had caked on food from breakfast. After all, there was a power relationship! Joey was deprived of food!! He was being "blackmailed" into doing something he didn't want to do!!! Oi.


I'm not fond of singing or pushups or whatnot. They work sometimes, they don't work others, yeh have to be a bit careful about emotionally fragile kids or over-eager patrol leaders. But regardless of whether or not I'd discourage the practice, I wouldn't equate it with abuse. That's just hurtful, and a form of cryin' wolf that does a disservice to lads who truly do experience real abuse.




(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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Who cares what the legal definition of hazing is. Who cares what the dictionary definition of hazing is. Who cares what the APO definition of hazing is. The BSA says no hazing. Now we've got to spend time dithering over what that means? The BSA says no bullying. Now we've got to spend time dithering over what that means? No - No we don't. Because all we need is the following:


A Scout is Trustworthy

A Scout is Loyal

A Scout is Helpful

A Scout is Friendly

A Scout is Courteous

A Scout is Kind

A Scout is Obediant

A Scout is Cheerful

A Scout is Thrifty

A Scout is Brave

A Scout is Clean

A Scout is Reverent


When you're dealing with the youth or your fellow adult volunteers, are your actions in accordance with the Scout Law?


Tell me, is making people sing for lost items helpful, friendly, courteous or kind?


Tell me, does sending new scouts out on a snipe hunt, or for rope grease, or a smoke bender make you trustworthy or loyal, let alone friendly, courteous or kind?


Does dragging a lad to a 50 gallon barrel of water really send the right message about cleanliness?


All we need is the Scout Law - if your words and actions are in alignment with the Scout Law - everything else is going to be just fine.



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Tell me, is accusing a fellow scouter of a felony because you're mad at him helpful, friendly, courteous or kind?


Is accusin' a patrol leader of violating BSA youth protection rules because he happened to make your son upset trustworthy or loyal?


These terms are loaded terms, eh? They can cause real harm to people and reputations.


Da Scout Oath and Law run on both sides of this discussion, and encourage us to be calm, understanding, empathetic sorts of people who recognize ordinary disagreements or mistakes for what they are, and put 'em in a broader context of each person's intent and contributions.


I've seen da singing thing work out just fine, and the quest for left-handed smoke shifters be a delight that made a boy feel welcome. And I've seen ordinary duty rosters that even with counseling caused fragile boys to be "traumatized" and quit. I reckon we all have. These are da things that scouts and scouters do differently based on personality, and don't always get right for each lad. Just as each of us does't always get da Oath and Law right, either, even when we're tryin'.



(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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