Re: Utilizing a resource/drugs and drinking
Michael F. Bowman (mfbowman@CAPACCESS.ORG)
Mon, 5 Feb 1996 01:55:38 -0500
In the scenario you have laid out, you have the classic telephone game in
action. A told B who told C who related what C thought B heard from A to
you. What you have heard could be just about as accurate as the last
stage of the Hailey's Comet exercise you probably saw in leader training
only not as funny. Taking action based on fourth-hand revelations; e.g.
unsubstantiated rumor is risky business. And it gets worse, if one of
the information passers just happens to bear a grudge against the accused
or if one of the people just made up some of the "facts." I would
strongly urge you not to jump in and react to this on its own value. It
could end up getting fairly embarassing.
Now that said and done, there are few communities that don't have high
school and even junior high school children trying drugs and
experimenting with alcohol. And there are going to be parents that know
what their children are doing, but won't stop it.
It probably won't hurt for your unit to reaffirm its policies against
alcohol and drug use periodically to make sure everyone understands. And
a presentation by the Scouts through the PLC could be a great opportunity
for one or more to work on requirements for Public Speaking and
Communications Merit Badges in the process of learning and teaching other
Scouts not to fall for this sort of thing. I think these would be
appropriate actions without responding to a particular rumor.
If you get more specifics that are verifiable and reliable suggesting a
Scout is in trouble, what then? For sure the Troop has to make it clear
that the conduct is not acceptable in Scouting. But what next? Do you
kick the Scout out? If you do, then all opportunity to be a positive
influence probably will be lost with obvious results. If other Scouts
are aware of the conduct and it appears to be tolerated, then this
creates other problems too.
If you get to that point, you are going to have to make some judgment
calls that aren't going to be easy. Is this something where the PLC
should be involved? Should the youth leadership have a say in what should
be done? You'd be surprised at what they might have to say and what they
recommend. May even have to restrain 'em. :-) And the committee will
have plenty to say too. Situations like this really require a lot of
patience and cooperation to succeed.
In a Troop here, we had a Scout caught dead-to-rights smoking in his tent
telling the others he was smoking a joint. The PLC decided he should be
suspended until he signed a contract with them on how he would modify his
behavior and that he couldn't go on any outings after that until he gave
a presentation to the rest of the Scouts on the dangers of drugs. They
also required for the next three months that the Scout be accompanied by
a parent to any event. The wayward lad was shocked and we didn't see him
for a few weeks, but lo and behold he came back, signed the contract, did
the pitch, and started working on Star for a change. He hasn't always
been an angel, but he's been a good Scout since. He also quit dying his
hair green after that. Amazing.
Speaking Only for Myself in the Scouting Spirit, Michael F. Bowman
a/k/a Professor Beaver (WB), ASTA #2566, OA Vigil Honor '71, Eagle
Scout '67, Serving as Deputy District Commissioner for Training,
G.W.Dist., Nat. Capital Area Council, BSA - firstname.lastname@example.org
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City