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Can the SPL just do a Mea Culpa and be done with it?


Yeah, from the little I've heard, it seems un-SPL ish but I have been around scouts (from Bears and up) who didn't know I was in earshot. Much more intensive language and subject matter from most (but not all boys) than I ever recall. Heavy duty stuff even if they got the facts a bit messed up. Also some real nasty racist stuff...little angels.


This is the bad side of the Norman Rockwell squeaky clean image, parents EXPECT better if their boy is in scouts...even if they swear and let him watch R rated movies and uncensored internet.


The unofficial Troop Chaplin thing makes him look worse.


We had a similar incident with the church youth directors son. It happens.

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Hang him!! Find the nearest yardarm and hang him high!!!! (Boy, we could really use a sarcasm font).


I'm with the Scoutmaster right up to the point where he suggests a deep apology from the boy. An apology may be needed, but it's not from the boy, unless it's to his parents if the parents make a big deal out of it. What has he done to anyone that requires an apology? Did he single anyone out in the Troop with that post or did some people just get their undies in a twist because something not directed at them offended their apparently delicate sensibilities and their own idea of what it means to be a Boy Scout, SPL and (unofficial) Chaplain's Aide?. If they don't want their kids to see that kind of stuff on their SPL's PERSONAL facebook page, then it's up to them to tell their own kids not to access it. And when did Boy Scout, SPL and/or Chaplain's Aide become synonymous with Saint?


If some of the parents knew that I watched Saturday Night Live and Monty Python, and listened to George Carlin, when I was a 16-year old Scout, they would have called me the spawn of the devil himself. Heck, if something like Facebook was around way back then, it's pretty likely I would have posted video or audio of George Carlin doing his 7 words you can't say on television bit. Why, all that cussing he did - I might have been hanged myself!


He's described as a very good SPL, though one that's stepped on the toes of some of the adults. So why have the adults put themselves into a position to have their toes stepped on in the first place? 16 year olds aren't going to be as diplomatic in these matters but heck, a 20 year old will be less diplomatic than a 30 year old who will be less diplomatic than a 40 year old who will be less diplomatic than a 50 year old (I think you get the picture). I've seen adult leaders get hacked off when an SPL politely tells them "Gee, Sorry Mr. G., we've got our troop meetings planned for the month, there just isn't any time for us to let you run a merit badge session at the next meeting".


What else are we missing here? Have you spoken with the parents? Maybe the parents are already aware of what the lad has on his facebook page and are perfectly fine with it, or maybe you talk to them about it and they are perfectly fine with it - then what do you do? Is there anything else posted along with this video that folks are not looking at? A lot of folks use Facebook like a blog, making comments on things they've seen or posted - maybe the lad has posted this video then posted a rant against the guy in the video that we haven't been told about - kind of changes the whole flavor of the discussion then, doesn't it?


It occurs to me that the Scout leaders that want him to step down or they will leave the Troop may be unhappy with the way the Troop is being run anyway, may not like that it's boy led, and are really just using this as a way to try to change the Troop more to their liking. If I were the Scoutmaster, the Committee Chair or the COR, I would have taken the threat to leave as a resignation notice, thanked them for their service, and ask them to let us know where to send their boy's records when they find a new Troop more to their liking.


My advice? Think about why this has disappointed you and make sure that the issue isn't with you before saying it's with the lad, and decide whether it's his job to make sure you aren't offended by something or whether it's your choice to be or not to be offended by something, stick with and back-up the Scoutmaster, get rid of the apology idea, then have a session WITH THE ENTIRE TROOP on how what you post on Facebook and other online platforms affects other people's impression of them, and stand by your, as you put it, Exemplary Scout

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Yep, FB has given us a lot more opportunities to reveal the breadth of a boy's character.


The "goal" I've set for our boys is to be bold enough to give each other "12th point" challenges. That means if the boys hear us [adults] cussing, they have the right to call us on it, and we will humbly return the favor if the need arises. That doesn't mean we interrupt each other mid-speech, but we should -- after addressing the speech's content (e.g. get first aid kit) -- point out to the speaker that their language was offensive. And the speaker will apologize and do better the next time he has something to say.


So, if this SPL was *my* friend, I would say that I didn't appreciate the obscene posting. (Sometimes I've put a "don't cuss" comment to youths' FB posts.) He would apologize. We'd move on.


IMHO CRW, your SM is on the right track. Yes, he will need to explain to the other scout leaders his reasoning, but there's no reason to expect them to walk out over it.


But, he should also talk to the younger (hopefully 13+ year old) boys and ask them why they didn't challenge their SPL on that posting. It's easy to wait for a SM or teacher to "blow the whistle", but those adults aren't always around, and the scout law is about taking responsibility to hold each other to that higher standard.


As far as Chaplain's aid goes, I've known a few good clergy who were old cusses (and a few vile ones whose speech was impeccable), so I can't see how this makes matters worse. If he has the khustspa to ask forgiveness, he's got what it takes to hold the patch. (Although as SPL he should be looking to farm that out.)


As a practical matter, you could ask the boy to delete the offensive post. If the content of the speech is important to him, encourage him to do the work of copying it, carefully removing the expletives.

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I like your approach. You want to back your SPL so the boys know you wont sell them out when it gets tough. It is definitely a teachable moment.


I agree about the 13+ boys. The younger ones are probably more rigid rule followers.


I would still expect some parental fall out.


I had a catholic priest friend...he would make a sailor blush.

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Since you are not the SM I would suggest (from the perspective of a SM) that you talk with the SM, offer your opinion and then let him take care of it. Support his decision, whatever it is. He has enough to deal with without a bunch of parents second guessing him.

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CalicoPenn is correct on all points.


Also, given my good experiences with articulate, rough & tumble boy leaders, I wonder if the SPL is the unofficial Troop Chaplain because he has a talent for expressing in prayer what nobody else has the ability to say out-loud.


As punishment, I'd make him watch "Patton" and report back on what happens to great leaders who don't understand the politics of self-censorship.


Yours at 300 feet,




(This message has been edited by kudu)

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Kudu wrote: "As punishment, I'd make him watch "Patton" and report back on what happens to great leaders who don't understand the politics of self-censorship."


Great answer. But with the addition that the adults involved must supply the popcorn and Mountain Dew. And that I get to watch the movie too. :)

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I had a Eagle Scoutmaster conference once at the conclusion of which I felt the need to remind the candidate to watch his language at his Board of Review. His dad was an ASM and is a good friend so I knew well this was a situation where the apple hit the ground and rolled back toward the tree.


I think I would find an excuse for a casual conversation with the fellow (not a formal meeting) and remind him his obligation is to follow the Scout Law "in his everyday life" not just while leading the troop or conducting a Scouts' Own service.


Beyond that, I'm having a difficult time concluding why this would be any of the troop's business. Besides, my plate's full dealing with the stuff actually on my plate.


And I heartily support Kudu's suggestion for him (and everyone else) to watch Patton! I'll have the Butter Lite.

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And my thoughts about the ones who would leave if you fire the boy from SPL or otherwise is to have them let you know when they find that perfect troop full of perfect boys.


And you will never hear from them again.

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The Scout in question is with a OA group hiking at a location several hundred miles from here. As far as I know he does not have a clue as to what a stir he has caused by posting that video. Our troop is considered to be the best troop in our District (per DE) which cover 4 counties. Up until now he was considered by many to be one of the best SPL's in the District. He is an outstanding speaker, writes articles about Scouting for the local newspaper and has published a book about his trip to the 2010 Jambo.


I had a talk with our DE and found out that "concerned" parents have talked to him. He believes that this is not a dismissal offense but feels that the boy needs to face the consequences of his action. As part of his discipline I am going to suggest that he faces the Troop, apologizes and works on and gives a talk on the "Suggested Media Guidelines" that BSA National has out and when you are in BSA leadership you are a recognizable "Face" for the troop and must act accordingly in all situations.


By the way one of the "offended leaders" does not even let his kids get on face book. Ages 12 AND 14.(This message has been edited by crossramwedge)

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In my opinion the DE's should not be blabbing his opinion around the district. If he has something to say he should say it to the Scoutmaster.


I'm not much on coerced apologies, and I don't think one is appropriate in this case.


Let the Scoutmaster deal with the issue. He seems to be doing a good job based on your initial post at the beginning of this thread.


You've got a fine troop, a fine Scoutmaster and a fine SPL who made a not too important mistake. I would suppose he would be willing to correct that mistake when it's pointed out to him --- and then he should get on with the next thing that needs to be done.(This message has been edited by seattlepioneer)

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As an ASM once you voice your positions you back up the SM's call --which is a pretty good one. It is a good lesson for the boy that appearances matter no matter what you think and their are consequences. Gee we all have screwed up.


When I worked at the University there was a dean who would never hire someone with prison-wanabe tattoos. Fair? Probably not. But it was a consequence of what he considered to be bad judgement in one area or life that may spill into another (work).

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"Up until now he was considered by many to be one of the best SPL's in the District. He is an outstanding speaker, writes articles about Scouting for the local newspaper and has published a book about his trip to the 2010 Jambo."


Well congratulations - you people have now just allowed a bunch of "concerned parents" (or as I like to call them, people who can't mind their own business) to damage the reputation not just of a Scout, but of a Super-Scout. Not only have you allowed it, but you're now contributing to it. All over what, exactly? A posting on a personal facebook page of something that may have meaning to this particular Scout which you have not even determined yet that some "Mrs. Kravitzes" have decided is wrong for another person's child to post because it contains "cuss words"?


Before even chatting with this lad, or apparently his parents, you folks have tried him and found him guilty, and are trying to determine the best way to punish him. You folks have failed this boy - and perhaps this boys family. Though you might have an argument that the posting by the lad was wrong because "A Scout is Clean", the Scout Law and Oath works both ways - where is your Loyalty to this Scout? How have you folks proven to be Trustworthy with your rush to judgement? How have you folks been Friendly, Courteous and Kind? Put yourself in this lads shoes right now. He's off on a hiking trip with the OA, unaware of what's going on, probably enjoying his time with his peers, and back at home you're all sitting there waiting to ambush him with this - and that's exactly what this is going to be - an ambush. Exactly what kind of impression are you folks about to give this Scout and his parents? Every single one of you should be ashamed for allowing yourself to be stampeded like this by a bunch of parents that can't mind their own business.




I'm going to be blunt, and not very diplomatic:


If you people can't stop this juggernaut now, before this Scout gets back and it's too late, can't stand back and think this through rather than being reactionary, and can't stand up for this Scout, then you should all leave Scouting now - before you can do any more damage to any more boys. The DE should be fired. Unless the calls from the "concerned parents" involved allegations of abuse, his answer to them should have been to call the Scoutmaster. He should not be interferring with the internal operations of the Troop. And he should not have discussed this with anyone other than the Scoutmaster, not even you. He'd better hope for his, and the Council's sake, that he hasn't spread this around into the rest of the district. I imagine even a lawyer who was last in his/her class would have a pretty good chance of success of getting a settlement in a lawsuit against the DE and Council for damaging the reputation of a 16-year old. And by god, you better hope that when you do finally talk to the parents, that they don't react like papa and mama bears protecting their young - that wouldn't be pretty.

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