Re: Distinguished Commissioner
Thu, 4 Aug 1994 10:11:38 EDT
On Mon, 1 Aug 1994 09:25:09 -0500 "Brian L. Davis" <brian@COR.GOV> wrote:
>Regarding the "Jumpin Jim"/Hazing question, let me give a Youth >Protection
>Hazing is a *very* serious problem. It is strictly forbidden in all
>Scout programs, and should be considered a form of child abuse >under our
>"Hazing Prohibited. Physical hazing and initiations are prohibited >and may
not be included as part of any Scouting activity"
>-Youth Protection Guidelines c1993
>In all cases where a violation of the youth protection rules might >result
in a physical, sexual, or emotional injury to a child, the issue >must be
reported to the Scout Executive. Sorry, but this issue is >*not* one which
can be handled by *any* level of the District >Leadership.
>It is a fact, that many instances of sexual abuse which occur in
>Scout programs originate in some form of initiation ceremony. And >yes,
boys can and do sexually abuse other boys. This instance >may have involved
only emotional abuse (and a *very* serious rules >infraction), but the Youth
Protection Guidelines are fairly adamant - >This isn't something to be
handled by the Volunteers.
>So, the correct answer to the "Jumpin Jim" dilemma, is to >immediately
report the hazing to the Scout Executive, and
>then butt out.
>used to be an Eagle...
>Youth Protection Chairman
Nice to see that something in this program is so black-and-white.
Unfortuanately, the program surgically removes the cancer once it is
malignant, is an effective vaccination, and seems to cure the symtoms, but,
in this case, does not cure the disease in the carrier, Ivan. District-level
handling, in the form of discussion and training should be helpful in
deterring the spread of the problem via Ivan before it gets out of control.
Given the "presumed guilty" stance on YPP, I would be inclined to direct Jim
to put this one back on the persons doing the complaining, once he was
certain who they were. If the boys are unhappy, Jim should tell them to
discuss the issue with their parents. If the parents are unhappy, then give
them the Scout Executive's name and number. In no way should Jim, or his
ADC, be allowing the parents to abdicate their responsibilities to their boys
- that is not in a commissioner's job description.
Having said that, I think that Jim should also give a follow-up call to the
Scout Executive, with names and numbers, to make sure that the complaint has
Once that was done, then Ivan still needs a debriefing to keep it from
happening again. Chalk this one up to training - he needs to have this no
hazing policy reinforced, even if it means recycling him through the
training. Ignorance is no excuse on YPP, but by reminding him of his
obligations as a leader, then the issue becomes wilful misconduct if he
continues to let the incidents happen. In either case, he is on his own if
he lets it continue - BSA will drum him out, and he will be liable for all
subsequent civil penalties, i.e., he is on his own from a tort liability
Then, as ADC, I would then look for another job for Jumpin' Jim, because his
effectiveness as a Unit Commissioner would now be compromised: he would be
labelled a meddler and enforcer, not a valuable resource, and no other unit
would trust him, once word got out about Ivan's demise as scoutmaster due to
a hazing incident (and word WILL get out!). This is called punishing the
innocent. I want to point this out, because I have seen good people rendered
totally ineffective over less.
Maybe assigning him to units with younger leaders, rather than veterans, will
salvage him as a unit commissioner: they won't have a mindset, they will be
more receptive to his help, and he will have a chance to establish his
credibility before the rumor mill catches up with him. Then maybe, in about
ten years, no one will remember Jim's involvement in resolving a problem of
Assitant District Commissioner
Treasure Coast District
Gulf Stream Council
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City