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Two deep leadership question

I have a parent arguing with me about an issue so I thought I would double check with everyone to solve the issue.

Our troop isn’t rechartering so the AOL’s are splitting up and going to different troops approx 45 mins away. Can an adult leader drive the others boys to meetings along with their own kids? Or does there need to be two adults in the car?

Thanks for the clarification to solve this issue.

Never seen a clear answer in writing. But what I understand is going to a meeting, which means the Scouting Activity has not started, it is not a Scouting event yet so 2 deep is not required.

I would also encourage you to look at keeping your local troop going.

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This issue is addressed here, I believe:

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It’s always sad to hear of a troop not rechartering. I hope your scouts overcome the added time in transport so that they can still enjoy the program.

Yes, one adult may drive multiple youth to an activity. What this means is that an adult driving one youth other than their child to an activity is a YP violation. You will find this can make it incredibly difficult to successfully execute a scouting program for every youth in your community.

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@CharleyHamilton That’s a great link!

The specific answer is yes, one adult can drive multiple scouts to a meeting. But it is ultimately the parent’s decision if they trust the other adult with their scout.

from the last part of the FAQ -

Transportation

Q. How do the Barriers to Abuse apply to transportation?

A. An adult may not drive or be alone in the car with a Scout unless that Scout is their own child. An adult may drive two or more Scouts.

However, the BSA is not consistent with this answer.

Bryan on Scouting gave one answer 2015-11-12 in How does two-deep leadership apply when driving to Scouting events?

Two adults are not required per car when traveling to meetings or other Scouting events. That is, as long as the “no one-on-one contact” policy is followed.

So if a parent or unit leader is driving Scouts to a meeting or function, they need to make sure they are not in a one-on-one situation, unless that one youth is their own child.

and a different answer 2018-01-19 in What’s the difference between ‘two-deep leadership’ and ‘no one-on-one contact’?

from the end of the post -

One-on-One Contact

One-on-one contact between adults and youth members is prohibited.

The following exceptions and situations are allowed:

– One adult with two or more Scouts. That depends on the situation. For example, traveling to and from program activity, Scouting meetings and especially outside of Scouting it is not a good practice to have one adult with two Scouts, as the sexual abuser can and will use this as an opportunity to have singular access to Scouts.

Yeah, some of these “answers” seem written almost with more of an eye to deflecting liability from the BSA rather than providing leaders, scouts and families with workable rules. As I am fond of saying in other contexts: just having a law against something doesn’t prevent people determined to do the wrong thing from doing it. That doesn’t mean murder, for example, shouldn’t be against the law, just that we shouldn’t be surprised that even with laws/rules bad things still happen. You can’t protect everyone from everything.

I particularly worry about reasoning like this:

…as the sexual abuser can and will use this as an opportunity to have singular access to Scouts.

Someone determined to do harm will seek to exploit any situation to achieve that end. What about when one adult goes to the bathroom? Do we need 3-deep leadership at events to ensure that no adult is ever “alone” with multiple scouts?

If an organization creates impractical rules, even people who don’t want to cause harm will tend to ignore those rules, or will leave the organization. Consider the results of prohibiting one leader in the car with two scouts. Most sedans only seat 4, so you would need to have 2 adults for every 2 scouts. This isn’t really practical, especially in the context of camping locations that limit the number of people in each site or for a given backcountry access point/trail, which is a common issue out here in the west. Can this be worked around by using more multipassenger vehicles (e.g. minivans)? Sure, if your unit has access to them. Not every unit does, though, nor is every minivan available for every trip.

I’m wandering a bit far afield, I guess. I just worry that we as an organization are adopting more and more restrictive rules without adequate evidence that they have proportional contributions to achieving the stated goals.

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It’s not inconsistent as BSA frequently updates the Guide to Safe Scouting. The online version is always the most up-to-date version.

It may be the most up-to-day version, but the online version is inconsistent… especially where two-deep leadership is concerned. Which of these statements is correct, per the GTSS:

  • There must be two registered adults present for all Scouting activities and meetings.
  • An unregistered parent or guardian can count as a second leader in some cases.
  • An adult may drive two or more Scouts.

Answer: All three of those statements come from the GTSS, even though they conflict with each other…

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@SteveCagigas, they don’t conflict at all.

Our first concern is a predator taking advantage of a situation to isolate one scout. This tends to happen at activities and meetings. Having at least two registered (and therefore trained) adults minimizes this risk.
We have other situations (e.g., Merit Badge counseling) where scouts benefit from personal contact with an adult, and a second registered adult may be unreasonable. In those situations, a parent may serve as a second adult for YP purposes.
And we have other situations where an adult needs a particular task for several scouts on the to/from or during the activity. In those situations we rely on many-to-one contact of scouts-to-adults for YP.

This is consistent with common sense in the face of a threat where some people in this nation seek to isolate kids for ill in spite of the majority who would use one-on-one adult-youth association for good.

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Ahh, but they do conflict. Can you have a Lion Den meeting where you have one registered leader and all the Scouts’ parents are there? NO. The GTSS says one registered leader and a parent are OK, and in the next paragraph say it’s NOT OK.

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Where does it say that?

From Youth Protection and Barriers to Abuse FAQs

Q: The Barriers to Abuse say that there must be two registered adults present for all Scouting activities and meetings. Does that include merit badge counseling? Fund-raising events?
A. Yes. However, the parent or legal guardian of the Scout may serve as the second adult. This parent or legal guardian does not have to be a registered leader.

But note it says the scout. It does not say anything about parents serving as the 2nd leader if there are multiple scouts present.

Another question addresses Lion and Tiger den meetings:

Q. Do Lion and Tiger Den meetings require two-deep leadership since adult partners are present?
A. Yes. A Lion or Tiger adult partner is not considered a registered leader for meeting two-deep leadership requirements. Lion or Tiger partners, as well as other pack leaders, provide a pool of adults who could be registered as an assistant den leader to meet this requirement.

It’s the first question in the Barriers to Abuse FAQ:

So, if it’s OK to have a fundraising event where you have one registered leader and one parent with their Scout, why is it not OK to have a meeting where all the Scouts’ parents are present but you have one leader?

I know we’re getting off track from the original question because the GTSS is poorly written around this topic, but…

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So, I could have a field trip for a Tiger Den to go to the police station. One Registered Leader and all the Tigers’ adult partners attend. That’s totally OK per the GTSS.

BUT… Change that field trip to a den meeting with exactly the same attendees, and it’s somehow NOT OK per the GTSS.

I think we all have to acknowledge that this part of the GTSS needs re-written with some common sense. Or at least rewritten with a coherent set of requirements.

Steve,

I believe the next question addresses that:

Q. If only one leader shows up, does that mean we have to cancel the meeting or activity?
A. Yes. This policy is in place to prevent abuse in and out of Scouting. Adults should never be alone with youth who are not their children.

I interpret the policy to be the same for meetings and activities.

I’m actually not 100% sure that’s correct, @SteveCagigas. I tend to agree with you that the answers (or maybe the reasoning behind them) related to 2-deep tend to be somewhat opaque.

I get the argument for a single scout with his or her parent + a MBC being OK, since it is otherwise impractical to conduct routine merit badge counseling. I have also taken this to indicate it is acceptable to meet with a scout with a PoR I am advising (e.g. OA Unit Rep) with his parent present, but not another registered adult leader.

At the same time, why fundraising is materially different from any other scouting activity confuses me. I have asked (and not gotten an official answer) the same question you did: 1 leader + N (scout + parent pairs) = OK or not per G2SS? It seems like a reasonable extension of the “the parent or legal guardian of scout…” answer regarding fundraising and MB counseling, but I still don’t understand why those two activities are materially different for 2-deep leadership purposes.

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That’s exactly my point. If it’s OK to have a parent present instead of two registered leaders for some events, it should be OK for ALL events. If it’s NOT OK for some events, it should be NOT OK for ALL events.

But that answer is itself confusing and appears to conflict with the policy stated in the G2SS:

Case 1:
2 registered leaders show up for the meeting/activity → 2-deep leadership provided OK

Case 2:
1 registered leader + 1 scout + scout’s parent show up for the meeting/activity → OK? Not clear. Adult Supervision FAQ #4 says meeting/activity must be canceled, but gives reasoning as “Adults should never be alone with youth who are not their children.” However, that rationale is actually applicable to the no one-on-one contact rule, not 2-deep leadership, per se. In this case, the registered adult is not alone with the scout. The scout’s parent is also present, which is consistent with the conditions in Adult Supervision FAQ #1 to allow the parent/guardian to serve as the “second adult”.

However, Adult Supervision FAQ #3 explicitly says:

Q. Do Lion and Tiger Den meetings require two-deep leadership since adult partners are present?

A. Yes. A Lion or Tiger adult partner is not considered a registered leader for meeting two-deep leadership requirements. Lion or Tiger partners, as well as other pack leaders, provide a pool of adults who could be registered as an assistant den leader to meet this requirement.

I think that the only way to interpret all of these policies consistently is the additional (not written) rule: If every scout who is present has at least one of his or her parent/legal guardians present, then 2-deep leadership intent is satisfied. Adult Supervision FAQ #4 could more completely be written (if my assumed unwritten rule is correct):

Q. Do Lion and Tiger Den meetings require two-deep leadership since adult partners are present?

A. Yes. A Lion or Tiger adult partner is not considered a registered leader for meeting two-deep leadership requirements. Lion or Tiger partners, as well as other pack leaders, provide a pool of adults who could be registered as an assistant den leader to meet this requirement. However, if one parent/legal guardian is present for every scout who is present, this also satisfies the requirement for two-deep leadership.

[ Text in italics added to explain hypothetical effect of 1 parent/guardian for each scout present in light of assumed rule noted above.]

That clarified FAQ/added rule could make the following situations clear in terms of whether or not 2-deep leadership is satisfied:

Case 1:
2 registered leaders + N scouts show up for the meeting/activity → 2-deep leadership explicitly provided → OK

Case 2:
1 registered leader + N (scout + parent pairs) show up for the meeting/activity → 2-deep leadership provided by 1 registered leader + 1 parent/guardian of each scout present → OK

Case 3:
1 registered leader + N (scout + parent pairs) + 1 scout show up for the meeting/activity → 2-deep leadership not satisfied because scout N+1 doesn’t have a parent/guardian present → Not OK

Each of these cases is consistent with the explicitly stated rules, again assuming the implicit “rule” that providing one parent/guardian for each scout present negates the need for a second registered leader.

I don’t know that my interpretation is correct, which is why I asked for an official written clarification from the BSA. I have not yet (T + 6 months or more) gotten an official answer.

ETA: Various formatting and grammatical revisions to clarify what I was trying to say.

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But not all activities… Some are “special” but it’s not clearly defined why they’re special.

I guess the “why” is inconsistent, but the direction is clear, right?

All Scouting activities need 2 registered leaders (one being female if any female scouts are in attendance). The only exception is during fund raising and mb counseling where the MB consoler is on registered leader, but the parent can fill
in for the second.

I do agree since they say “the scout” does that mean that each scout needs a parent there. That is not clear.

They have made it clear that Lion and Tiger meetings / activities (besides fund raising) are not eligible for this exception.

The car situation isn’t inconsistent as the ride in the car isn’t the Scouting activity, but transportation there. It is just like if during the activity, half the scouts go on a hike and half don’t. As long as there isn’t 1:1 contact,
then the 2 adults need not be present at all moments. We have had it where a Scout needs a ride and a leader without a Scout in the program picked the 2 scouts up at one of their homes and dropped back off at one of the Scout homes.

Matt