OPINION ON B
Scott Dillard (scott.dillard@CHRYSALIS.ORG)
Fri, 13 May 1994 15:18:42 LCL
HU>The SMAs want him out of the Troop. They are concerned about trust as well
HU>the concerns of other parents.
HU>I suggested keeping him, but allowing him to meetings only for the next few
HU>months. We can observe his behavior and evaluate future involvement, but at
HU>least keep the tie in hopes of his behavior improving in the future.
One thing that concerns me about the original question and all the
public responses I've read so far, is that only adults have been
included in the decision making. Making some guesses (such as that this
is already a well-known situation to most of the adults and therefore
most of the boys) and given my troop's makeup (mostly boy run) which may
be different from yours, the following is what I'd most likely do. (And
yes, we've handled similar situations over the years in just this manner
and with good outcomes.)
Also, remember that the boy is already being raked over the coals by a
lot of adults (police, parents, Scout leaders?) and the odds are good
that any further adult input is probably automatically tuned out by the
boy. This is another important facet of having a peer group involved in
1) Talk to your Patrol Leaders Council privately (i.e. no other boys
need be involved and preferably only one or two other silent adults)
about the situation. Get them to think about and express their
viewpoints, options they can see, etc. Get them to start thinking about
consequences, possible actions to be taken, etc. Get them out of the
"let's go head hunting" mode (which it sounds like your SMA's need to be
careful of) and into the constructive mode. Get them all on the same
page so that when they have their discipline meeting with the boy, they
are already thinking alike and have gotten a lot of discussion out of
the way. This is not to say that the outcome of the discipline meeting
has already been decided at this point (i.e. no "guilty before
proven..."), but they have already rejected some possible actions as
being too harsh or unfitting (I think flaying is unpopular these days).
Get them to start thinking of possible actions that will have a
positive, constructive influence on the boy. Get them to think about
*how* they want this meeting to go. Do they want to come across as
judge and jury, or as friends and encouragers? If friends, how should
they approach this meeting? What should some of the first things be
that will make him feel more at ease? What questions should they be
asking the boy? The exact order of all these type of concerns is
indeterminate; as Scoutmaster you will be counseling the PLC through all
of these ideas and must go with *their* flow of thought. But in the
end, all the boys should be in general agreement as to how the meeting
will be conducted and have some possible outcomes (both positive and
negative, often depending on how the boy reacts during the meeting)
already thought out and talked out.
Make sure you have plenty of time. Nothing in this process should be
hurried, and the whole thing (from your counseling with the PLC through
the final outcome) may easily take 2-3 hours. Can't do it at a troop
meeting, obviously. Separate meeting? Campout?
If handled properly, this whole situation can have as profound an impact
on the PLC members as it does on the boy in question. Time and time
again I've watched the difference these unpleasant PLC discipline tasks
can have on *all* the boys. (And by the way, these types of discipline
hearings only occur every couple of years in our troop; it's not a
regular or expected thing.)
2) Have a Scoutmaster's Conference with the boy in question. Tell him
about the forthcoming (probably in a few minutes) meeting with the PLC,
what it will involve, reinforcing that it's a boy-run organization, and
that you will be standing behind the outcome of that meeting. [Soapbox
on] It is the role of the Scoutmaster of a troop to be an advocate of
each and every boy whenever possible. It is not the role of the
Scoutmaster to be passing his own judgements and punishments. [Soapbox
off] He's already been questioned enough about the incident(s) by
adults, so now is not the time for you to be asking/talking specifically
about that stuff. Just get him ready for the PLC.
3) Escort the boy to the meeting, formally introduce him, sit to the
side, and shut up. You should have done everything necessary by the
time you reach this point, so sit back and watch. If it is in keeping
with the style of meeting that they decided on (jury versus friends),
they should try to make him feel a little more at ease. Then the SPL
should be stating the purpose of the meeting, starting the first
question, then things will take care of themselves from there.
Very rarely have I had to interject anything into one of these meetings
and even having done it several times over the years, I never cease to
be amazed by the maturity, compassion, and level-headedness that these
boys have if we'll just get out of their way.
4) Have the boy escorted from the room if the PLC needs time to talk and
reach decisions. Listen in, but be careful about railroading your
opinions. Only interject if there is some major problem with their line
of reasoning (and be very sure that your own emotions and opinions are
not clouding your judgment on whether to intervene or not) and then
interject by asking questions (e.g. "What effect do you think that doing
xxx will have on the boy/family/troop/etc?"). Be prepared (and
accepting) for them to come up with a decision that doesn't jive with
what you think should happen; remember that it's *their* troop.
Whatever approach you end up taking, I'm sure many of us on SCOUTS-L
will be looking for your next update.
Scott Dillard (firstname.lastname@example.org)
~ OLX 2.1 TD ~ Only one hour a week...
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City