Re: hazing problems
settummanque, or blackeagle (blkeagle@DYNASTY.NET)
Fri, 12 Sep 1997 12:23:20 -0500
Hi Charlie! I'm NOT mad at you, but...:
>I know that hazing is illegal according to national policy, but
>you're not going to get scouts to stop.
But it HAS to stop. It's a National AND ALL Local Council policy, and your
Council has the ability to:
*revoke your Troops' charter WITHOUT a hearing or comment
*deny membership to those involved in the hazing event, in most cases
*permanently for the life of the person* (this means that they can't join
some other unit or become a Scouter)
*bar your chartered organization from sponsering a Scouting unit for an
*unspecified period of time*
and lots of Councils have done just that. The BSA may not be able to get
Scouts to stop, but they have been willing and able to stop units from
putting the BSA into more of a legal problem than they *already* have!
> First of all, as younger scouts we
>had the same done to us, so we take it upon ourselves to 'continue the
Even if the "tradition" has been wrong? I know of a Troop whose Scoutmaster
was very much well-respected in their Council. The Troop has had a history
of paddling new Tenderfoot Scouts with a large paddle that was given to the
Troop by the first Scoutmaster, a member of the college fraternity Alpha Phi
Omega (based on Scouting ideals).
The Scoutmaster would paddle each new Tenderfoot Scout 12 times, while the
rest of the Troop would recite the Scout Law points. Well, they paddled
this frail kid, and after the tenth paddle, his bottom started to bleed.
His parents sued, the BSA and the local Council settled out-of-court for
"unspecified costs" (I found out later that those costs were $74,000,
$20,000 of which was immediately given to the Scout and his parents) and the
Scoutmaster removed. During the removal, the Scoutmaster appealed, stating
"there's men in this town that were paddled over the years of this Troop,
and not a one of them complained about it.
We're just living in a time whereby everyone's so sensitive".
The Council's Scout Executive was fired, because "he was aware of the
Troop's "tradition" but failed to do anything about it" for fear of getting
his "prize Scoutmaster" (Wood Badger, Silver Beaver holder, etc. etc.) and
his "prize Troop" (the one that gets to do a lot of the Council's special
events and ceremonies, etc.) in "trouble".
That's a big price for "tradition", Charlie.
> Secondly, as long as it is done only jokingly, and the
>perpetrators stop when asked by the younger scout (if they ask...) I see
>no problem with it.
As many Scouters have stated here in a previous round of this topic, there's
that "fine line" between "a joke" and "hazing", and not many kids let alone
adults know where a "joke" (going to get a smoke shifter, for instance) has
crossed the line to hazing ("you haven't tried hard enough...now GET OUT
THERE and find me that smoke shifter!" *snicker*)!
>I'm not saying that I believe in hazing (I can see myself getting alot of
>e-mail about what I've said), meerly that it's just an 'unnofficial' part
>of scouting that can be controled (somewhat) and as long as there are >some
rules set out beforehand by the adults (if the scouts says stop, you >stop;
dont do anything that could be physically harmful; etc...)
The rules have already been laid down. You DON'T HAZE PERIOD.
Hazing is NOT an "unofficial part of Scouting" *anymore* and those units and
individuals that "don't get a clue", don't get to remain as a registered
member of the Boy Scouts of America. The BSA is rather hardnosed about
this, Charlie, because they've had to pay out hundreds of thousands of
dollars in settlements just because "some Scout or Scouter don't get it".
>This is the way my troop operates in regard to 'prank night' at scout
>camp, and we've had only one problem that was more with parents
>complaining then the kids.
And rightfully so, Charlie. Parents are going to complain when their sons
tell them that "something went on there that I don't like". This leads to
the BSA getting the bad "rep" that it has in a lot of circles...you know
"not a place to put my kid" because "I don't trust the adults involved in it
to take care of my son".
I appreciate your comments, Charlie...I really do. I would suggest that
your unit *strongly reconsider* your "prank night" program and develop some
other way to maintain togetherness (which is what hazing in a lot of ways
does positively for many organizations and which is why it's so hard to "let
go of it").
It only takes *one Scout* to get injured, even accidently. In today's "Sue
YOU!" society, that one Scout can end the public and private life of your
Scoutmaster, force your Troop to be disbanded without even a reason, and
most importantly, scar a Scout or Scouter physically and mentally for the
rest of his or her life. While I disagree with a lot of the BSA's many
policies, this is one that I strongly stand behind, enforce and ask others
to likewise enforce. It makes sense, not just from a "money"
standpoint...we can use the money the BSA has spent defending itself in
courts all over this country to make Philmont run better, to buy new
equipment at Sea Base, to hire more professionals in our urban and rural
areas, to create new publications to make it easier for Scouts to work on
special awards, and to lessen the costs of our uniforms and the many badges
and insignia pieces we have.
It makes sense also, Charlie, from a promotional point-of-view. We already
are losing hundreds of thousands of Scouts to sports and other groups.
We lose that much more -- and the community support that goes along with it
-- when we have to endure "problems" caused by those few Scoutmasters and
Scouts that choose not to follow National's cut-and-dried policies and to
"do their own things" and in the process, someone gets hurt!
(c) 1997 Mike Walton ("no such thing as strong coffee,...") (502) 827-9201
(settummanque, the blackeagle) http://dynasty.net/users/blkeagle
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