Re: Can a boy fail a Board of Review?
Scott Drown (scottdd@HALCYON.COM)
Wed, 18 Jun 1997 06:19:14 -0700
Can a boy fail a Board of Review? Despite the discussions here which will
come from both sides, IMHO I think that the answer is yes. While the
Board's purpose is not to retest, if the Board becomes aware that the Scout
has not passed the requirments what other choice do they have other than to
diplomtically explain that there are a couple of areas that should be
addressed? To do otherwise would give the stamp of approval and passing on
of a Scout who did not meet standards.
>Some of our scouts have received substandard training on the required
>steps toward first class. Some was received last summer at our
>"Trailblazer" program, some was received at camporees, some within our
>troop by various assistants. At the conclusion of each training event,
>the boys were "signed off" on the various steps. I was aware of some of
>this, but was sure that we would be able to identify and correct any
>weaknesses at a later point.
This happens - our version of Trailblazers reminds Scoutmasters that they
need to check scout skills after the program for themselves.
>Well, it came time for the Scoutmaster conference and Board of Review for
>First Class. I touched on some specifics during the conference. The Board
>consisted of two adult Eagles who work with our Troop, and our Advancement
>chairman. Three of the scouts (including my son, I must add) were asked
>questions from the "requirements" pages, to which they could not give
>adequate answers. Each was told that he needed to study further before
>coming before the Board.
I do not feel ansking questions about the requirments page is a retest.
>We ended up having a very long committee meeting, where we fell into two
>fairly distinct groups - Group 1, who said "This is the way we've always
>done Boards, and we did it right." Group 2 points to the "Scoutmaster
>handbook", especially the part that says the Board is not designed to
>"retest" the boy. Basically, Group 2 says that once the book is signed,
>you can ask the boy how to tie a square knot, but if he can't, we should
>help him work through it, or suggest he study it some more, but the Board
>can't "fail" the boy, because this gets into re-testing.
>Your comments would be appreciated.
>Win Quakenbush Scoutmaster
>Troop 794 Buies Creek, NC
A few years ago it was very unusual for our troop to have a Scout come
before a Board and not pass initially. As the Troop has more than
quadrupled in size this has now happened about once a year. Each Scout who
does not pass is asked for input as to what he can do and needs to do to
improve and a written "contract" is made out, often by the Scout himself,
so it is clear. In every case where this method has been used the Scout
has shown real improvement and fulfilled the contract. In no case has the
Scout left the Troop.
Recently I have had one Scout, one of three 12 year olds in one patrol who
are problems. The parents and the boys are close. The boys are very
disruptive in meetings, when asked to help out they refuse a good portion
of the time and when asked to do a meeting they either refuse or come with
no preperation at all. "You mean I have a meeting tonight?" The parents
feel it is OK - just having a bit of fun and fun is what Scouting is all
about - Right?
When this particular Scout came up for First Class I asked him what he felt
he needed to work on - his answer, listening at meetings, helping out, and
not being disrputive. Based on this and my own feelings and observations I
turned him down for First Class, telling him that he could make it by July
if he wanted to work on it. I asked him to write a short paragraph of what
he needed to work on and give it to me the next week. I had spoken with
the parent prior so he knew it was going to happen. Not only did the Scout
not write anything, he told me he could not recall what we had talked about
the week before! The parent was livid, saying that his son did not
understand (The Scout is an "honor student" with A grades.)
I am now taking a great deal of heat from that parent and the group of
parents who feel that this Scout and their sons are great kids, just having
a bit of fun. I have been accused of bias, picking on these Scouts, being
to hard etc etc. The Committee in general supports my decision.
My point is, is that there are times when, while the Scoutmaster probably
should turn down a Scout down, may choose to discuss issues with the Scout
and allow him to go forward to the Board so that the decision can be shared
and that more than one person can communicate to the Scout regarding what
he needs to work on to successfully pass. It may not be exactly what the
Scout book says but that is why we have revisions to the book! There is
more than one way to skin a cat.
As far as I am concerned there was no retest from what I have seen here and
sounds like the Board and procedures followed here were good ones.
Just my 25 cents. :)
SM Troop 39, Maltby
Mt. Baker Council, Everett Wa.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City