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SMT376Richmond KY

Complaints of hitting

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I need some help. Our new Troop or young boys nine 11 year olds had it's first campout this past weekend at the Councils Sprping Camporee. At our regular meeting this Monday night one mom apporached me afterwards complaining that her son told her Sunday, that another boy in the Troop (his Patrol leader it turns out)struck him with a cane and threw sugar in his eyes. When her son asked the PL why he did this the response was "cause I wanted to."

 

This did shed some light on the pieces of cane pole I found in our CO's building where the boys had gone on a BR break after the 1 hour ride back from our Council's camporee. Which when I inquired at the time as to how this came about several boys pointed to the Eagle patrols PL as the responsiable boy for the mess.

 

I thanked this mom for alerting us to the incident and assured her that myself and the ASM would look into it further, but that her son should have informed either myself as Scoutmaster, or the Assistant when it occured not wait to have her approach us. I asked her to inform her son that he needs to come to the Troop leaders anytime he experiences anything that makes him uncomfortable. The boy had already gone to the car and left mom to plead his case. I plan on a SM conference with him next week.

 

After the meeting the ASM and myself held a SM confernece with the PL in question to garner his side of the story. I asked if he had any details on any incident that occurred after our return from the camporee or how I discovered pieces of a cane pole in the CO building after the bathroom break. He brought up an incident of improper sign language during the ride home that occurred while I was securing the load in my van from a boy sitting in front of me. Both the ASM and I stressed the importance of his setting the example for his patrol as a Troop Junion leader.

 

I then asked him point blank if he had occasion to either accidentially or intentionally strike a fellow Scout with any instruments. He denied he had any involvement and didn't know what I was talking about. I brought up the first point of the Scout law and asked if he was sure that this was his story. That this type of behavior can not be tolerated by any boy much less a PL in the Troop. He asked "what if I have to get ruff with them if they won't do what I ask?" IN UNISON THE ASM AND I SAID YOU NEVER LAY A HAND ON ANYONE. If he is having difficulty with a Scout in his patrol he is to bring the matter before a leader. He then proceeded to tell us things that our sons and one of the other ASM's sons alledged did during the camporee. None of which seem to have occurred in our recognition.

 

My initial gut feeling based on this PL's responses the busted cane pole, and body language is that he may have indeed struck the boy. Perhaps not intentionally in an attack but in horsing around. I get the feeling he is lying but many 11 year olds will when caught. I'd like some input as to what to do next. 1. Strip him of his leadership position? 2. Take the other boy out of this boys patrol? 3. Have the two boys sit and discuss the matter in a SM conference with the other ASM's present?

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Number 3

But with only the SM and maybe one ASM, but preferably only SM. Do not surround them with adults.

Start with them reciting the Scout Oath and Law.

I would not remove him unless he does not intend to change his ways.

We all make mistakes, and some boys are taught that hitting is okay. I hate to say.

You or I do not have the whole story either. You need to talk to other boys that saw it and get that side of the story also, the hitting and the sing language. And you need to do this quickly before the memory fades or changes.

Good Luck

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First, I think you need to have a sit down with the Scout who was hit with the cane & get some more details. Depending on what comes of that should dictate your next move.

 

I'm not sure I would remove the PL. From what you posted, this Scout is just learning. He might not have known what else to do or was provoked. You need more details.

 

If the PL did lie when you asked him if he hit the Scout, then it is time to have a sit down with him and his parents to explain what Scouting is about. This would also be a good time to go into detail about the Scout Oath & Law & what it means to live by them.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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Per YPT -

 

Youth 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 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 Scout membership in the unit. Units should consult with the parents of members who fail to meet behavior standards

 

Unit Responsibilities -

 

Adult leaders of Scouting units are responsible for monitoring the behavior of youth members and interceding when necessary. Parents of youth members who misbehave should be informed and asked for assistance in dealing with it.

 

I think it is pretty clear that you should have a talk to both the boy and his parents. See what the parents feel should be done.

 

One other thing you should do to head off this kind of thing is to make sure all troop leadership gets training. The fact that your troop is so young means that they need training even more as they have very limited experience with BS.

 

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Nice responses so far. I plan on getting the other boys side of the story and discussed the matter with the ASM's we have 4. We came agreeded that there was way too much horseplay at this camp out and that we will rein in the stallions a bit. Don't want to thier spirit but we can't have them beating each other up. I'm guessing that the whack was part of something that got out of hand while the boys were waiting in line for the Bathroom. I will definately have the SM conference with the two involved and investigate the other incident as well. Going to get the video from council as well on YPT to show to the Boys so they will all know where we are coming from. Hopefully we can nip this before it gets out of hand.

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You have quite a problem on your hands. This probably isnt the first time this has accorded, only the first time you have heard about it, and you will probably find other issues during your investigation, be ready. You need to get the TC involved ASAP! When I mean ASAP, I mean today. Have your CC call an emergency meeting of the TC. The TC will need to appoint a leader to investigate what has been going on; again they will find more issues that need to be dealt with. Try to find two leaders that do not directly work with these scouts on regular bases. These leaders will have to interview the involved scouts and all the scouts in this patrol or who could have been witnesses. Doing this will raise questions with the parents, so your going to have to tell them, and that means all of them, what is going on, and dont forget to inform your COR. You need to inform you DE of what is going on, he/she can be a great asset in dealing with this situation. The Leaders doing the interviews will need to gather all there information and present it to the TC, SM, and ASMs to determine a course of action, and you need to be prepared to find more problems than you know about. Remember, the actions you take need to follow the GTSS. Then inform the parents, the COR, and the DE of the actions taken. Good Luck!

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Unless you have first hand information on what occured (i.e. you saw what happened) I would not rush to judgement. Explain expected behavior to all involved, give the opportunity to each scout to "fess up" and ask the troop as a whole what should be done (not to individuals but as a troop) to prevent the possible occurance of this behavior in the future.

 

The worst thing that could happen would be to falsely accuse any of the boys. However, if you have your suspicions, keep a wary eye on the parties and make sure you nip any type if behavior in the bud.

 

In my troop, the older boys like to do some types of horseplay. They don't seem to mind but when the younger scouts witness it nad then try their own version in their peer group, it seems to get out of bounds because they don't seem to be able to judge the boundaries as well as the older boys. Because

of this, I try to discourage this type of behavior for all. Sometimes I even succeed!

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This is a hard question (for me anyway), and i'm not sure i have the answer your looking for. However, i would like to mention a couple of items. First, I would NOT plan a meeting with only one adult leader present (2 deep leadership). Secondly, make sure the scout who was hurt (?) by the incident is comfortable with a leader (not necessarily the SM) that he can go to in the future. Although it sounds as though you will be covering this when you meet with him, i just thought i'd mention it.

 

This is a young group, and sometimes i find we (as leaders) forget that they need to be shown, or at least given some "what would you do" situations they may come across as a PL.

 

Good luck with your meetings. Situations such as this really test our leadership capabilities! Let us know how it goes.

 

YiS

Sparkie

 

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SMT376RichmondKY (and if that doesn't send fingers criss-crossing the keyboard, my hat's off to you.)

 

I like the solution you proposed a couple of messages back. I don't think you need to attempt to be an investigator and I don't think that every parent and committee member needs to be involved.

 

It sounds from the PL's response, that he needs some skills instruction on proper discipline when his patrol members are acting up or not doing what he wants. I agree that hitting them with a stick isn't the right way. However, you can counsel him on the right way to do it.

 

I'm assuming this isn't a sick kid with a mean streak on his way to a habit of child/adult abuse. If you even suspect that to be the case, then take it to your Scout Executive and get child protective services involved.

 

When you say the youth profection video, I hope you're talking about the BSA (Award-winning, to get in a commercial) video A Time to Tell. I applaud that you're going to show it to the boys. However, I would caution you to send a letter to the parents before you show it, inviting them to attend and at least be aware.

 

I shudder to think of the Scout who comes home from the troop meeting and says "watched a sex video" when his mother asks him what he did. Yccch!

 

DS

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Ditto DS. I will definatly send a note home to the parents as I have seen "A Time to Tell" and agree parents need to know before hand. Spoke with the DE last night and he and I agree that this could have been horseplay but he agrees the Troop should have a discussion and perhaps add Troop rules on consequences to behavior that the boys vote on given that this is a boy led Troop. I'm not going to dig vey deep in investigation just going to get both sides of the story and any witnesses. The ASM's and I will have a discussion as to behavior at next weeks meeting. We are also going to keep a watchful eye out on the interactions of these two boys as well as the others.

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Hi All

 

One aspect of scouting I like to teach adults is that bad behavior is not a reflection of your program performance, How you work with the scout is. Adults should never take a scouts behavior personally. Bad behavior is part of scouting and are opportunities to be a scout leader, not embarrassments. Developing habits of behavior Is our Job. Behavior is the main product of Teach-me, Trust-me, Let-me Go. I learned that every time adults get excited about misbehavior, the scout is held less accountable because the adults take the burden on themselves. Its the scout's responsibility, leave it that way. Your job is holding him accountible and teaching the boy habits of a man who controls his feelings.

 

As you continue developing your Troop, you will eventually work yourself almost out of job. Your 17 year old scouts will teach the scout skills, advise the SPL, train the new scouts and play capture the flag. So while you're relaxing on your Campmor Camp Easychair counting locus in the trees, you look forward to opportunities to work with the scouts. So when something like this comes up, jump into your nearby tent (make sure no one else is in there), change into your SUPER SCOUTMASTER Tights and rush to work with the scout.

 

I agree that in most cases you should work with the scout one on one without other adults standing next to you looking like they are waiting to baste the turkey. You can have a conference privately with scouts and still be close to the others by simply getting jsut far enough away that your conversation is private. Probably 95% of my SM Conferences were done only a few yards away from the action.

 

Make sure you ask questions and dont show anger. Disappointment yes, but not anger. Just lay out the facts. You are not mad at the scout, but disappointed in his behavior. Always talk eye to eye with the scout either by sitting down with him or keeling on one knee. He needs to see that this is a conversation between the master of wisdom and the learning scout, not the big giant adult jumping down on the bad boy. The troop is the adult world scaled down to a boy size, so the SM treats all his scouts like adults. In fact, I find scouts tend to act more like adults than adults in many cases.

 

During your conference, the scout should be able to admit his bad action, explain where it conflicts with the Scout Oath and Law, set a goal of how to react in a positive manner the next time, and express regret. He can express his regret in many ways, apologizing to the persons he hurt and offended is a common one. Usually its the apology, by words or letter, that makes the scout really reflect on his action.

 

You can add more rules and policy in your troop if you need, but I find most troops react this way when the adults are inexperienced with working with the boys and the troop is young. Most boy run Troops eventually learn how to just use the Scout Law and Oath as their guidelines because the other rules tend to only give adults more opportunities to get more in the way. So if you feel you have to create something, keep it very simple. I agree the PLC should be part of the process in these rules.

 

 

Leadership is a wonderful tool for finding the real boy. Most of use can control ourselves when all is well, but the struggles of leadership seem to pull the worst out of us. So be ready for it. Dont get angry or over react. You are the Scoutmaster. The Leader of Wisdom and if the scout is to respect the Wisdom, he needs to see it applied from the quiet mannered adult. If the scout respects the Scoutmaster, he will feel more badly that he disappointed him than just getting a lecture. I once had a PL come in crying from hitting a scout. Without me ever saying a word, he confessed, explained where he failed in the Scout Law, told me how would do it different next time and ask to leave to go apologize. He did let me talk to his parents, but he took the rest of my fun away. Great kid though.

 

As for reporting to parent and committee. I report everything to parents, good and bad, I like to brag and I want the parents to know all. But when I tell them about the bad behavior, I keep it in context. I might say, mention it to him but dont make it a big deal because I want to see how he reacts to our conference. Or if it is serious, then I will ask for their help. As for the committee, I have never had a situation where I needed to call the committee together immediately. I have with bad adult behavior, but not with scouts. Remember, behavior is our job and if it gets that bad, then the problem should be handed over to the parents. But, I would give a report to the committee at each meeting. Give one-line reports on the scouts for both good and bad things that happen. Let the committee know what goes on in the troop and how you deal with it. Oh, I like to talk with other adults after a conference for two reasons, one to allow the other adult to give another opinion, (Super Scoutmaster is Humble), and to have a witness that an action was taken.

 

This is a lot, Im sorry. But I think this is an important subject. Good luck with this scout and remember, as your walking back from your SM conference to change back into your mild-manner adult leader outfit, dont trip over you cape, its embarrassing.

 

I love this scouting stuff.

 

Barry

 

 

 

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i think this is a great time for a written scoutmasteres minut to go to all the parents and scouts. It can remind them of their obligation to be friendly, courteous, and kind, and that that behavior is while in uniform or out.

 

Attach the membership responsibilities section of the Guide to Safe Scouting. Remind them that bullying and violence will not be tolerated and that scouts who do not behave as scouts will be brought before the Troop Committee to determine the next course of action. Continued bad behaviour can result in expulsion.

 

Thank them for adhereing to the ideals of the program and give both scouts and parent the appropriate youth protection training for their age group.

 

Good Luck,

Bob White

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