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stealing- No proof, but suspision.

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While at Six Flags, a couple of boys reported to one of the adult leaders that one of the boys was bragging that he had taken a candy bar without paying.


The boy was immediately taken off to the side and talked to. He has no history of problems and he denied it. Have no proof, only the word of one boy vs. others.


No other boys or adult saw him steal anything and am not sure if he did or if he was bragging to make himself seem important.


We interviewed all the boys, and passed on all "facts", no rumors to the parents.







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Getting evidence not hearsay is important. Move carefully so as to not to make a false accusation. Speak with the person(s) that made the accusation. Ask: What did he know?, Did he see anything?, Were there other witnesses?. Speak to the young man and ask if he had actually stole the item. It may have been a (false) brag and there still needs to be evidence.


Let's say the first Scout said he saw the young man take the item. An actual witness to the evidence ties the person closer to the event but without evidence. Was there more than one witness? Seeing the act is harder to refute and also places relationships at risk in a closed community if the truth does not soon come out. If the Scout that was accused now refutes the act, the act may not be stealing but lying.


I would confront both Scouts with what I thought about the event. It may be that one Scout was trying to get the other Scout into trouble. Even if neither Scout confesses, it is time to let both clearly understand what Trustworthy means.


I worked with youth in a different setting for several years. We didn't have the Scout Oath and Law as our agreed on boundaries. Most did not have parents to back them up and yet somehow we worked together. I had a few things stolen but when confronted with eye witness accounts, they generally told me the truth. These kids didn't have any reason to tell me the truth and yet they did when I spoke to them one on one. Finding evidence is generally hard to do. Either we are too clumsy or we don't have the right equipment. I don't try to figure out if the youth is lying. I don't play good/bad-cop. I speak to the individual(s) directly.


I also let each individual know that this is a preliminary review and that if a resolution is not found quickly, it will be taken to the next level. Most do not want their parents brought into an event that soon could bring notice to the larger group and also involve the committee. I let them know that making it larger also brings impatience, scrutiny and creates problems that they have not thought about but I am more than willing to do so.


Once the word gets out that quick resolution to a small problem prevents larger problems/consequences, then it reduces the number and intensity of the occurrences. Taking the Scout Oath and Law brings responsibility to those ideals and with that responsibility brings with it the burden of backing it up for Scouts and Leaders.


Stealing a candy bar is not the same as stealing a car but it is stealing and/or could be lying which violates the foundation of our agreement. Are there mitigating circumstances, sure and it is at this point the reasons become clear for the acts. It is also at this point that the punishment becomes easier to figure out. It is at this point that the Scout Oath and Law become clear and it is at this point that their value is realized.








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If you intereveiwed all the youth involved and came up with nothing more solid, I would thank the boys that reported it for coming forth with that sort of thing and work to make sure every Scout feels safe and right in reporting such activities.


Next, I'd pull the other boy aside (within G2SS) and let him know that if he was just bragging, it is a REALLY stupid thing to brag about, and if he did it, he needs to make things right- admit it and face the music (which, obviously, should be appropriate 'music' for a candy bar theft, or else he will deem it in his best interest to just shut up.) Either way, I'd also let him know that he is on a form of probation to regain the leader's trust.

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