Privacy, Modesty, and BSA Guidelines
Gina Gestautas (NORTH@DRYCAS.BITNET)
Thu, 19 May 1994 11:41:00 EDT
I have a question about all this...
Since the BSA has made attempts to integrate its policies to include both
issues of youth (abuse) and leader (from allegations of abuse) protection,
when does confidence about one's self become more than that?
The kind of open display of nude bodies at a school locker room is now
not recommended for BSA activities. The guidelines mention that you (as
a leader) need to do what it takes to provide a safe environment (like
checking up in the showers if you hear alot of commotion), but that
otherwise you should do your best to give each child the privacy that he
feels he needs. As a leader also you are encouraged to be modest in your
own dressing. With the issues of women leaders now.. this becomes even
more complicated. Obviously it would not be appropriate to do OPEN AIR
dressing at camp when it is a possibility that a female leader may walk
by.. neither would it be appropiate for her to do this in front of the boys.
The point is that there are two different issues here..
Privacy is giving somone the right to be comfortable at camp whether they
choose to get dressed in their tent or in a private area.
Modesty is not inflicting YOUR definition of appropriate privacy on someone
else. It means that you respect the youth enough to allow them to define
their own sense of privacy and to not intrude unless required or needed,
and that you also attempt to be careful at times when youth might be around
and accidentaly stumble unto you dressing or undressing.
I am not trying to say that leaders are wrong when they find themselves
in these situations.. but the BSA guidelines do stress that this is not
only a matter of individual choice, but now a way to put another obstacle
in the way of possible youth abuse and also a method to protect leaders in
the case of allegations of abuse. Let us remember that the innocent skinny
dip in an old fishing hole that you may be thinking of could now be used
by people to accuse a leader of all kinds of criminal acivity. Sad but true.
If you have not heard of the recent news story, an angry student paid her
whole class a buck each to accuse their substitute teacher of sexual abuse.
You and I know that most scouting leaders are there because they care about
youth, and not to take advantage. The bad part is that child abusers look
just like you and me and have totally different reasons for being around
youth. Let us not turn a comment about dressing into a put down of a boy
who like his peers feels uncomfortable dressing in public. Let us allow
him his right to choose this, and make his experience at camp one that
allows him privacy and modesty.
Scouting in the nineties, what an experience!
Gina Gestautas, Unit Commissioner - District Cub Training Team Staff Member
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City