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Prevented Planned Hazing Ritual

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I agree that this incident falls to the SM, SPL, and PLC to determine the appropriate discipline. Usually the youth leaders will be much more severe than the adults in deciding those boys fate, plus it helps the PLC develop some leadership skills in the process.

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Some years back, a friend who at the time was a very high ranking policeman and myself were bored. So we planned the perfect robbery. We knew the best time to set about such an endeavor. The Lookout guy was going to be someone walking a dog. - No one ever thinks that a dog walk is up to no good.

We of course never had the slightest intention of robbing anyone.

Could it be that this "Planned Hazing Ritual" Is what Sister Mary Matthew was talking about when she warned us of evil thoughts?

It does like like there is a problem, but before we clap anyone in irons and throw away the key. Lets try and remember that nothing did in fact happen. Who knows? Maybe when the time came the group might have got cold feet?

I'd be happy to report this to the SM and let him deal with it as he thinks best.

He has a lot of options.

If I'm willing to trust my kid into his care then I think that I should be able to trust his judgment.



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I'm a bit disturbed at the turns this is starting to take.


The OP, as an adult leader/chaparone on this campout, got wind of a planned hazing ritual and stopped it in it's tracks. Nothing but kudo's from me there - when it comes to hazing, which is a form of bullying, there is no excuse to crank up the bureaucracy to stop it - the first adult to learn of it/witness it, stops it cold. That's not the discipline portion - that's prevention.


The OP then asks how he handles the discipline. It's been appropriately pointed out that this part of the issue should be laid square at the feet of the Scoutmaster. That's why he gets one of the most respected adult leader patches on his left sleeve (in lieu of the big bucks). It's up to the Scoutmaster to deal with it as s/he sees fit. That could include calling in the Committee Chair and COR for advice, or just informing them of what he's decided to make sure they've got his/her back.


What's not appropriate, in cases like this, is sending it to the SPL/PLC. We're now talking about hazing, something that, had it actually occurred, would possibly have been reportable to the SE, especially if someone was injured (and spraying insect repellent in the face of an unsuspecting Scout certainly has the potential for injuring a Scout). I have no problem letting the SPL/PLC handle most disciplinary issues, but any issues that might just end up being reportable, or potentially leading a hacked off parent to contact the authorities if they aren't happy with how the unit handles it, should be dealt with by the adults. Boy-led does not mean that adults get to be laissez-faire about discipline and their responsibilities.


What I'm most disturbed about is that we should consider turning away a youth with a directive to go see your SPL about this first and then your SM when they come to you with an issue like this. Maybe that's fine for most issues but not this time. This is one of those, hopefully rare, cases where a Scout should be encouraged to go right to the first adult they see - SM or not. This is not a case to go work a chain of command. I hope that no one ever decides not to take action because the planners might chicken out before they actually do something.


And is it really neccessary to suggest that someone who has been volunteering to go on campouts become an ASM?


Ardie, I'd follow the suggestions to leave it to the Scoutmaster who you've hopefully informed. The discipline portion of this act is his responsibility. You've done your part as a leader in camp. As a parent, however, you'll want to make sure your comfortable with the decision the SM has made, and if you're not, don't be afraid to ask for a friendly cup of coffee meeting so that s/he can explain the decision making behind it.

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What's not appropriate, in cases like this, is sending it to the SPL/PLC. We're now talking about hazing, something that, had it actually occurred, would possibly have been reportable to the SE


Ermmm... So what? What's so special about a conversation with the SE that would preclude youth leaders from exercising leadership in situations where there's a possibility of someone maybe needing to communicate with the SE at some time in the future.


but any issues that might just end up being reportable [...] should be dealt with by the adults. Boy-led does not mean that adults get to be laissez-faire about discipline and their responsibilities.


Again, what's the rationale from excluding youth from these scenarios? And why do we think adults are being "laissez-faire" about discipline? I'd say the best way to handle this particular situation would be for the youth and adult leadership to work together to address the issue. That way the youth leadership still have the responsibility to provide leadership, and adults still are able to provide coaching, oversight and feedback to further help verify that the issue is handled properly.


What I'm most disturbed about is that we should consider turning away a youth with a directive to go see your SPL about this first and then your SM when they come to you with an issue like this


I think whether or not this is appropriate depends a lot on the context of the situation, which we really don't have access to through these forums. I'd say that in a case where there's an immediate safety risk that the youth leadership, for whatever reason, is unable to address adequately: then yes, it's absolutely appropriate for an adult (any adult) to step in and head off the immediate threat. But in cases where the youth leadership is sufficiently skilled and empowered, there's no reason that they should not be allowed to address it, with the input and oversight of adult leaders. A potential that someone may at some point think about "reporting" the issue to a professional scouter is no reason to hinder youth leadership.

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Safety is the nondelegable duty of adults in Scouting. Youth can act as a force-multiplier, but it is not their responsibility to insure safety except in a moral sense.


The Youth Protection AV even states that all "discipline" is an adult responsibility. That would seem to be a misstatement (AKA "blunder") in view of other current, more detailed and more specific statements about the responsibility of youth leaders.

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Allowing youth members to discipline other youth members?

I think is not a good idea.

We have youth members who hold positions of responsibility but I've yet to see any-place where disciplining other youth members is written.


In a lot if not most cases even the SM shouldn't be deeply involved.

His role is to deliver the program.

From what has been posted this incident never really got past the planning stage.

I of course wasn't there and don't know what went down.

It very well might be that even the threat of a thing like this might be a real case of hazing?

From what I've read I really think if I was the SM I'd be meeting with these Lads and the little chat we would have would make it very clear to them that this sort of behavior is not ever going to be tolerated.

If one of them or all of them seemed not to be getting the message (Which I very much doubt would happen!) Or thought it was in some way "Funny". I'd also meet with their parents. It very well might be that these Lads need more help than I'm qualified to give.

Of course had what they had planned, had happened it would be a different kettle of fish.


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The PL sees that Johnny's tent is a mess and tells him "Johnny, clean up your tent." Discipline.


The Troop is in formation for Retreat, and Johnny is telling a joke. The PL says, "Johnny, sshhhh!)" Discipline.


Discipline includes keeping order and that is very much part of the job of a leader, be he Scout or Scouter. As this is Scouting, as much of the job as possible goes to the Scout leader, not the Scouter.


I suspect you visualized "punishment," and even that is the job of a PL (extra KP assigned when Johnny ran off to play and left Bill to do the dishes).


Otherwise, you make of a PL only a snitch: "Mr. Smith, Mr. Smith, Johnny won't be quiet. Mr. Smith, Mr. Smith . . . ."


Is there a line beyond which it's a adult job? Sure. But we need judgment because it's not a matter of absolutes, and teaching judgment is part of the job. So teach them about when to ask for adult input or when to turn the job over to an adult.


"It ain't school." (And even school has Hall Monitors.)


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Our Cub pack was having our Pinewood Derby at an outdoor camp a month ago.


We have and accept a number of sibling tag alongs, usually expected to be supervised by parents.


On girl complained about being treated in a mean way by boys from the Webelo den. She was nearly their age --- perhaps a victim of boys who didn't know how to deal with their interest in girls.


Anyway, I mentioned that to the Webelo den leader, and he talked to the girl about it. I imagine he dealt with that problem effectively.


It's very easy and not uncommon to have boys treating others in a mean way, and it's all too easy not to hear about such problems. I think it's a fairly common reason why boys drop out of Scouting.


We need to be on the lookout for such issues, in my view.

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It sounds like we all might have different ideas of what "discipline" means. I think I tend to agree with TAHAWK's interpretation. I would except a skilled leader in the PL and SPL positions to have some responsibility over discipline and behavior of the other scouts. And discipline is not the same thing as just dishing out punishments, either.


And obviously there do need to be limits as to what the youth leaders should be expected to address on their own; what will require some input and oversight by adults; and the (very few) situations that should be handled only by adults. Speaking only for myself, my expectation in this type of situation would be for youth leaders (PL and SPL) to take a first pass at addressing the situation, and then consult with the SM. The SM and youth leadership would then work together to come up with an action plan.

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Eamonn is going to the store with his wife says "Come on lets go"

Son is playing his what he calls music a little to loud Eamonn says "Turn it down a bit!"

This isn't discipline as I meant it.

I of course didn't mean it as the following of a course of study.

I didn't mean it as the effect of experience.

But we don't want to quibble over a word. - Do we?

I was talking about punishment inflicted by way of correction.

I really do not think that Scouts should be inflicting punishment on any one.


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We understand each other - and disagree.


I see some forms of punishment as the role of the Scout leader - consequences for behavior.


I see some forms of punishment as beyond the Scout leader's warrant and best left to a Scouter.


A question of degree, I think, like many decisions he will face in life.


Say a Scout is Patrol Scribe, but he consistently fails to attend enough meetings to actually do the job. He is not happy when replaced by another Scout. Is that really something the PL must leave to a Scouter? He can appoint but not remove?

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Even in the OP's case, I see room for a mature SPL to handle discipline. It would be along the lines of:

"The 1st years are intimidated by you guys because you seem dead set on making their lives miserable. What gives?"

[Hollow explanation by perpetrators follows.]

"Here's the deal. You are turning those cans of bug spray in to me. I will secure them until such a time as you are deemed trustworthy for their use. You are inviting the 1st years to this table now and apologizing for being jerks. We are going to let them know that they are our brothers and we want to be kind and courteous to one another. If any of you want to stick to your right to pick on newbies, I'm sure the SM is available for an impromptu conference!"


Shortly thereafter, the SPL reports his actions to the SM.

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