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Scout Master

The troop was at summer camp - cleaning up on the last day. 2 scouts were leaving an area and The scoutmaster asked the 2 scouts “what the f*** are you doing ?” He told them they were lazy and didn’t do anything to help the troop all week. To the first scout, The scoutmaster told him that he had acted like an ass and if he continued to do so he could just drop out of the troop or he would make him leave. He turned to the second scout and said that he was lazy and did not help out and was not a good role model to the younger scouts. He said he was the worst life scout in the troop and if he could, he would rip off his life scout patch off his shirt (which he was wearing). No other adults were around. Scout number two told his mother at camp pickup what happened. She went to the parents of scout number one. They asked scout number one what happened without any details and he told the exact same story. Any thoughts on how to proceed.

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Well, if this was my kid, we would be finding a new troop asap.

If it was my assistant scoutmaster he would be fired. If i was committee chair, the scoutmaster would be replaced.

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I agree that the adult should be removed from the troop. His behavior shouldn’t be tolerated. If this adult stays I would be moving my scout to a new troop.

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My opinion:

At a minimum, the Chartered Organization Representative should be notified of the incident. The Chartered Organization Representative (COR) is the one who approves positions in the unit on behalf of the chartered organization.

The youth should have been counselled separately.

There was a time in history when foul language was acceptable between men but not in mixed company. However in Scouting adult volunteer and youth leaders should try to set a good example.

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I have two thoughts:

  1. Adults are not perfect.

  2. Adults need to follow the Scout Oath and Law among many other rules, and also do so at a much higher standard especially in front of youth. As described, this looks to me to be a clear violation of the Scout Law (specifically: Courteous, Kind, and Clean).

This is a solvable problem It may be solved by the Charter Organization removing the adult from the troop. It may be solved by another avenue such as assigning the adult to a non-youth-exposure role such as Troop Committee. It may be a one-off situation where something traumatic just happened to the adult and the adult handled it poorly. I trust the “boots on the ground” (Charter Organization, Unit Committee, and with advice from the Unit Commissioner) to handle appropriately. They may want to consult their District Executive as well.

Scouts come first.

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Not in my Troop. He would be politely removed immediately by our Committee Chair and Committee. It wouldn’t even make it to the COR. No Scoutmaster should ever speak to a child like that, no matter the rank.

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Set a meeting with the Chartered Organization Representative (COR) and have the scouts tell their story. The COR is the one to remove troop leadership.

i would agree if it were up to the committee to remove troop leadership. It comes down to weather or not the COR will do so.

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I would like to know more about the dynamics of this Troop. Was this an isolated event or has salty language been a norm? If bad language has been tolerated in the past this Troop has a bigger problem than one man. While there is no question that the SM should not have acted that doesn’t mean the 2 scouts that were yelled at were angels and should get off. We all have tempers and when under stress sometimes we don’t handle it well. As Paul said “Adults Are Not Perfect”.

It’s easy to make a knee-jerk reactionary decision but I would hope all parties with the Committee and the COR sit down and discuss this. This could be turned into a teaching moment to show that adults make mistakes too and should be willing to stand up and publicly apologize for poor conduct.

Here’s the other issue. If you fire the SM, I hope you have someone willing to take over. Not all Troops are well organized and has a team of ASM’s ready to jump in and take over.

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@WilliamC well said. I hope this troop can learn from the experience and move forward successfully.

The troop is quite large and everyone was very grateful to have a scoutmaster take over as it is a very time consuming job. The troop definitely does not allow swearing and they have suspended several scouts for discipline issues over the last year from misbehaving to bad language. The scoutmaster can be bossy/controlling and the troop is definitely not scout-lead anymore but everyone tolerates it. I am sure that these boys were probably goofing off or not cleaning. There have been a few instances with scout one where the scoutmaster has called him lazy in front of other scouts and points out his lack of advancement. It seemed to be more of a personal issue than a general outburst.

An email was sent to the scoutmaster asking him to clarify his side of the story and there was no response so now the COR has been looped into the email.

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We would certainly investigate this event. Every story seems to have three sides.

Then careful consideration would be given as to what the next steps would be.

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Recent similar issue - regarding email to parents rather than word to Scouts with the ComChair. Short version, he resigned just prior to the ChartOrg removing him.

Lesson learned - do not tolerate the person, inform the Chart Org and let them make the decisions. Theoretically they approve the leadership and have the right and power to remove the leadership.

The COR and the Institution Head have that authority. The Committee Chairman does not. The unit is a franchise owned by the charter organization in spite of anything that you may have been told otherwise. All committee members serve at the pleasure of the charter org. The charter org is represented by the COR as a delegate of the IH. In fact, the recharter paperwork mentions that the COR is a delegate where the IH signs.

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First and foremost, this is a toxic situation, that under no circumstances should be allowed to continue. Point 1.) No mistreatment of youth, there should have been another leader present that should have stepped in and stopped this. Where was the 2 deep leadership. 2.) Where was the 2 deep leadership that is meant to circumvent these types of situations.
3.) This is Scouts BSA, not Scouters BSA, this is supposed to be boy led, not scouter led,a nd if this is a large troop, then I would operate under the assumption that there are enough older boys who are responsible enough to take leadership of the troop and patrols.
You all need to get with the COR, your Commissioner, and you District Excutive, and set forth a plan of action to remove this problem.

I do agree that the situation needs to be addressed. I also happen to think that the SM should apologize publicly and privately for his transgression. He needs to keep that in check and the troop should NOT keep him if this is a repetitive issue. That they were hurting for an SM is not a good reason to keep him. I wouldn’t condemn him based solely on what has been said here as I don’t write off people that easily.

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There has not been a formal meeting with the SM yet. He was asked to give a detailed report about what happened, or his version. He did respond to that request in writing but it was a list of perceived transgressions and bad attitudes on the part of the boys that had been irritating him at summer camp and throughout the school year. My feeling is that if there was something repetitive or extreme on the part of the boys it should’ve been handled during scoutmaster conference or any other time in the past year and not as a “spontaneous scoutmaster conference” as he called it. He denies using “F***” and “derogatory language.” Again because he did not use two deep leadership so it is his word against two teenage boys.

I appreciate everyone’s input. I will be sure to chime in if there is any resolution.

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Are you saying he was the only leader over the age of 21 present at camp? Two deep leadership means there are at least two adult leaders over the age of 21 present at all Scouting activities.

A leader speaking with a Scout at camp falls under no one-on-one contact. As long as there was a second individual present (within eyesight, not necessarily where they could hear) he did not violate any youth protection policies.

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Oh I see. Yes there was 2 deep leadership but it was just him and the two boys talking.

So a case of terrible judgement that needs to be addressed but no violation of Youth Protection policies.