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Eamonn

"JUSTICE"

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I don't know all the facts about what went on with the Lad who was accused of bullying, using foul language and waving some sort of a firearm.

 

I certainly agree that keeping the kids in our care safe and well is our number one priority.

We should and must at the first sign of bullying, hazing or acting in any way that will place someone in unnecessary danger remove the offender and place him in the care of his parents.

What happens after that is not the call of the Troop Leaders. It is the job/role of the Troop Committee to do what ever they deem appropriate.

I'm sure that in most cases they (the committee) would ask the Troop Leaders for their input.

But they don't have to and they can if they wish go against the Troop Leaders.

Maybe because I see the sky as being pink?? I have to admit to being a little shocked at how many of us were ready to dole out what we seen as justice.

As I say I don't know the Scout who is accused.

He might be a little toad? He might be a Lad that was being teased and maybe got pushed a little too far.

I do know that Scouts and Scouting isn't just for middle class well behaved kids.

Sure most the Lads that come our way fall into that category. But one thing I have found in the time that I have been around Scouts and Scouting is that sticking a kid in a Scout uniform doesn't transform him into being an Angel.

If all the kids that came our way were well versed in making ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes we would just be a youth group that went camping.

We are a lot more than that.

Rabbi Vernon Kurtz writes:

 

We cannot live without a considerable measure of justice in our lives, but there must also be a considerable measure of compassion as well. Perhaps this is best told in a wonderful story, based on a Rabbinic Midrash, concerning a great dinner which was being held to celebrate the reign of a new King in Judea. While everyone was eating and drinking the King turned to a Rabbi who was known for his wisdom. Rabbi, he said, I wish to rule wisely, so that my people will live in peace and contentment. How can I make my wish come true?

 

Do you see these drinking glasses? he said. If I put hot drinks in them, they will crack. But if the drinks are too cold, they may shatter as well. However, if I temper the drinks so they are neither too hot nor too cold, the glasses will not break. The King did not understand what the Rabbi meant. The Rabbi then related the following tale:

 

Before the Lord made the earth, he tested his ideas on several trial worlds. In one of those he decided that justice would be king. King Justice announced that everyone would be given exactly the same treatment. Each person, whether rich and powerful or humble and poor, was treated exactly the same way and all cases were decided according to the letter of the law.

 

One time a poor Shepherd was accused of losing four sheep from the flock he attended and his employer demanded payment. In pleading before King Justice the Shepherd said he left his flock because he heard a cry for help. When he answered the cry the sheep were lost. The King refused to listen to the alibi and made the Shepherd pay a whole months wages for the sheep.

 

After a period of time, G-d found that He was not satisfied with the results. So He remade the world and placed a gentle lady named Mercy on the throne. In that kingdom there would be forgiveness for everyone.

 

No one was ever made to pay for mistakes or punished for any wrong that he or she did. No matter if the crime were murder or kidnapping, excuses and alibis would avert the severe decree. Again, G-d wasnt satisfied and realized that neither justice nor mercy alone would be adequate.

 

When the Rabbi finished the story the young King understood the message. He looked at the fragile glasses on the table and said just as I must temper the drinks I put into these glasses so they will not break, so I must temper justice with mercy.

Eamonn.

(This message has been edited by Eamonn)

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Eamonn, are you saying that the incident should not be reported to the SE and Chartered Organization Head but should be left to the discretion of the Troop Committee alone?

LongHaul

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Having re-read the other thread a few things come to my mind.

I don't know about other Councils, but where I serve OA events are not Troop events.

If this is the case then technically the incident should be under the jurisdiction of the Lodge. As the SE is the Chief of the Fire,yes it should end up on his desk and in fact doesn't fall under the Troop Committee.

But for a minute let's put that to one side.

First and foremost as soon as the Bullying was noticed it should have been dealt with, then and there. I'm to lazy to look up the reference in the G2SS,but I believe (And I might be wrong) that the guide says that the bully or those doing the bullying should be sent home. What happens next is up to the Troop committee.

What is really sad in this case is that it seems that this sort of thing has been allowed to happen over some time.

If this is true the problem is with the leadership.This needs to be brought to the attention of the CC and the COR.

Of course we don't live in a perfect world. We are trying to teach leadership. I wish that I could put my hand on my heart and say that not one of the Patrol Leaders I have worked with over the years isn't guilty of leading by threats, intimidation and at times bullying.

I seen my role as SM as teaching these Lads that this isn't the way things are done, this isn't in keeping with the Scout Oath and Law and at the end of the day doesn't get the desired results.

The Lad who is supposed to be the bully here is also accused of using bad language and profanity.

We are all aware that this isn't acceptable.

Dealing with it can be difficult. But it can be dealt with. Over the years I have noticed that it seems to be a stage that some Lads go through. For a while they seem to think that it's cool to talk this way.Left unchecked it can become like a virus (Having led a Troop in down town London I have seen it happen)In most cases I found that talking with the Lad or Lads and telling them that we don't do this works and following up with friendly supervision will in time get rid of it.

The Lad is also supposed to have made a verbal threat. The posting doesn't say what?

While to my way of thinking threats falls under the heading of bullying and hazing. Of course we don't condone them, but there are threats and there are threats. "Give me my ball back or I'll punch you on the nose" is a threat. But is it as bad as "I don't like you so I'm going to kick your butt and burn your house down"?

Both are violations of the Scout Law.

Then there is the gun. I don't know much about these things. Years ago I did cover the B.B. range at Cub Scout Day Camps and one thing that we couldn't stress enough was that you never point a gun at anyone.

So if I were the SE and this came to me.

I have a lot of accusations about a kid that more than lightly I don't know from Adam.

I have a Troop Leadership core that isn't following the G2SS.

I have some very upset and unhappy parents.

I don't know what if anything led up to this incident?

I think as SE I would turn it over to the Troop Committee, I would more than lightly want to attend the meeting.

 

What is paining me most about this thread is that we the forum members are being asked to look at something which isn't that clear and worse still so many Scout leaders are saying what they would do. The truth is that it isn't their call.

I don't know if expelling the Lad is the right thing to do?

It might be.

But I do know once we kick him out we have lost every opportunity of bringing him around.

It saddens me to think that we as trained leaders who can work with Lads who have an alphabet of problems can't bring ourselves to work with this Lad. Still if the SE (Being that this might have been a Council event) Or the Troop committee say that he has to go I would abide by their decision, but if they say he stays I would abide by that also.

The older Scouts we serve (14 +) have a really overwhelming sense of justice, they more than lightly know more of what went on than we or the adults do. If all we go by is the facts that we have been given and we get it wrong we are really in fact telling them that there is no justice. Yes as the post says there has to be justice but I would hope we get the fact right, follow the correct procedure and temper our justice with mercy.

Eamonn.

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Eamonn,

     I agree with 99% of what you are saying. The absolute last thing we as leaders should do is give up on a boy. The offender in this discussion is the boy who needs us the most. Then there are the rules we are asked to follow. Youth Protection clearly states that we must report all cases. Does threatening to shoot a fellow scout fall under YP? Does bullying fall under YP? Does assaulting a youth member with a hand gun fall under YP? If we choose to keep this in house how are we different from the people in Grand Teton Council that failed to stop the sexual abuse on their scouts? Is sexual abuse different than physical or mental abuse when we are speaking in terms of reporting?Once we start deciding upon a degree of harm scale before we report we are saying that abuse and assault are OK under certain circumstances. Once we start acting as judge and jury, reserving the right to say what will be reported and what wont, we assume a great deal of responsibility for the safety of our scouts responsibility which is supposed to be spread out to insure quality control.

     You go on to say; What is paining me most about this thread is that we the forum members are being asked to look at something which isn't that clear and worse still so many Scout leaders are saying what they would do. The truth is that it isn't their call. When a scout comes to you and asks advice do you tell him Its not my call? We as forum members are being asked to respond to an incident as described to us. Some have asked for further information. Some have read gun and responded expulsion. We have been asked to render an opinion and give advice should we refuse? We have been asked in so many words, How we feel about this What we would do about this What we think about this Would you have us reply Its not my problem? I dont think this is the attitude you teach your scouts to have, at least not from what Ive read in your many posts.

 LongHaul

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Long Haul,

While not trying to a real pain could you (I'm not sure where to look) tell me where you are finding this in the Youth Protection Training's.

Again for a few moments let's put the case in question aside.

We as leaders are very often put in the situation where we have to decide what to do next.

We see a PL arrive at camp and is trying to get set up, but the other Patrol members have a different agenda, they want to go and play or whatever. The PL becomes very frustrated, he gets mad and very angry.

Soon the frustration and anger gets the best of him. All the good stuff we have given him goes out the window. He starts swearing and threatening. Before long the Patrol members take him up on his threat and there is a fight.

This is a true story.

I was the SM.

Needless to say I'm not happy.

I break up the fight.

I now am left with what to do next?

I could grab my cell phone and ask the parents to come and collect the two fighters and have the committee deal with this once we get home.

I could call the SE and see what he has to say?

Or I could use this as a lesson.

I opted for the lesson.

Of course the PL didn't live up to what is expected.The way he choose to deal with things was wrong.

But I have to ask myself what did I do to give the PL the tools that he needed? Did he just forget? Where was the SPL?

Why did the Patrol members behave this way? Was there a lack of communication. Was there a plan as to what had to be done when the got to camp? Were they just being little toads?

Using what I think are my skills of leadership, my knowledge along with a reflection we managed to get back on track.

I wonder how a unhappy parent might describe this?

" The Patrol Leader threatened and used profanity, he went on to beat up on a Scout"

No I'm not for passing the buck, but if it is going to get passed we need to be sure it gets passed to the right people.

Eamonn.

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When it comes to justice and mercy we should never pass the buck.

 

A few more thoughts...

 

Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace. Dwight David Eisenhower

 

All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom; justice; honor; duty; mercy; hope Winston Churchill

 

If you want peace, work for justice. Henry Louis Mencken

 

 

 

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Eamonn,

I'm not sure what you are referring to when you ask me where "this" can be found in the Youth Protection Guidelines. If you mean the specific incident in question it's not. I was referring to all cases of abuse. Pointing a gun at someone after threatening to shoot them is felony assault I would think that falls under the YP guidelines.

The difference in this and the incident you describe about the fight is on of pre meditation. Your scout allowed his anger and frustration to escalate to violence. The offending scout in the original post was described as as having bullied the victim, verbally assaulted him, and finally physically threatened him with a firearm. I see a big difference.

LongHaul

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