Re: Handling Divorced Parents
Peter Farnham (pfarnham@ASBMB.FASEB.ORG)
Tue, 8 Aug 1995 10:51:57 EST
I had the phone conversation from h*ll last fall over a new kid from a
divorced home. It resulted in us rewriting the pack bylaws!
I held a Join Scouting Night at a local private school (near our
chartered organization, also a private school), and one of the kids
came with his maternal granmother. I collected a check and an
application form on the spot, took it home, and noted that there was
some information missing. In don't remember specifically what it was,
but something prompted me to call the grandmother and inquire about
the dad's name and phone number, which she supplied me. I didn't
think anything of the fact that the dad's name was different from the
mom's--that's fairly common around here, there being lots of married
women in the area who keep their maiden names for professional
Anyway, our pack has made it an informal practice to send mail to both
parents in cases of divorce or separation if they both live in the
area, particularly if they both have indicated an interest in their
son's activities in scouting. So, I called the mom of the new kid a
few evenings later to introduce myself, etc. During the course of
our conversation, I mentioned that we would be sending mail to both
parents--and that's when things went downhill--I mean, we're talking
plummeting, here! I have never had a more unpleasant telephone
conversation in my life than what ensued in the next five minutes.
I won't go into the full details, but the bottom line was that the
woman threatened to pull her son out of scouts if I contacted the
boy's father, that if he called I should simply hang up on him, etc.
I wasn't even to send him duplicate copies of any mail I sent her
(that's all I would have done, anyway)!
Well, I immediately contacted our CR about the matter, and she
informed me that the school routinely sends duplicate mail to all
divorced or separated parents unless there are legal limits placed on
contact and visitation privileges as part of a separation agreement.
The school requires as proof a copy of the separation agreement
specifying such limits before they comply with any such request from a
parent. This of course prevents contact with abusive parents, etc.
Anyway, after talking the matter over with our district DE, I wrote
the mom a letter informing her that we would be happy to comply with
her wishes regarding no contact with the boy's father if she provided
us with a copy of her separation agreement specifying limits on the
boy's contact with him. In other words, we adopted the policy of our
Chartered Organization on this matter.
Unfortunately, I never heard from the mom in question again; her son
as far as I know is not in scouts. It is a pity, but the pack
committee decided that we could not allow ourselves to succumb to her
use of her son as blackmail to get her way (i.e., do what I want or
I'll take my son out of your pack).
The upshot of all this is that we have rewritten the pack bylaws to
cover some of these real life modern-day situations.
CM, Pack 1515
GW District, NCAC
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City