Re: Hazing prevention
Charles R. Batteau (charles.r.batteau@BELLATLANTIC.COM)
Sun, 23 Nov 1997 19:13:40 -0500
Edith Kerr wrote:
> I have seen a couple of references in the list to hazing prevention.
> Can anyone explain to me what this technique is
> and how it is used?
Basically, the SM (or CM) has to make it clear that hazing is going
against the Scout Law and that it will not be tolerated. This has to
apply to adults as well as to Scouts. (Some of the hazing that I
witnessed before becoming SM was done by the ASMs; although they did
nothing overtly hurtful, it sent the message to the older boys that
hazing was OK.)
It might seem obvious to you and me, but it's absolutely necessary to
explain to the boys and adults what hazing is, why it is prohibited
and what will be done if any takes place. Since it's impossible to
list all possible hazing incidents, you have to give general
guidelines (kind of like a referee explaining off-side in soccer).
THEN, the SM/CM has to keep his eyes open 24 hours a day, forward,
backward, and around the corner. (No problem, we're born that way,
right?) Anything that would embarrass another scout, hurt him, or have
any negative effect on his Scouting must be stopped immediately.
My first summer camp several of the older boys went around the last
evening shaking underwear out of the younger boys' packs, getting it
wet, running it up the flagpole, etc. They thought that since it was
the last night of camp I couldn't do anything serious about it. (heh,
heh, heh!) Although I couldn't catch any of them IN THE ACT, I KNEW
who the ringleader was (heh, heh). They finally quieted down about
1:30 or 2 am. At 4:45 a.m., I got up, put on my uniform, and woke the
ringleader, giving him 15 minutes to report to my tent with his
coconspirators. I read them the riot act and told them they would not
be permitted to participate in the next activity (a tour of a nearby
military base, possibly the most desirable activity of the year. NEVER
underestimate what a SM can come up with for discipline!) Before
reveille they cleaned up the mess they had made, then apologized to
the rest of the troop for their actions. We haven't had a serious
problem since then.
The basic idea is to make it VERY clear what is and is not permitted
and enforce that rule ruthlessly.
Remember that these boys have lots of energy and playfulness. Make
sure that what YOU interpret as hazing might just be energetic play.
Only if it's embarrassing or hurtful should you intervene.
Our troop introductory pamphlet states it this way:
"The Boy Scouts of America is not a social fraternity or a
military organization; it is a brotherhood of scouts that
dedicates itself to development of the boys and to having
good, clean fun. As such, "initiations," hazing and pranks
have no place in a Boy Scout troop. We will immediately
send home any person, boy or adult, who participates in
hazing or pranking.
There is often confusion as to what constitutes pranking and
what is normal play for boys. Generally, a prank humiliates
or embarrasses a boy. Any activity that singles out a
person, can cause embarrassment or injury, or involves the
person's clothing or gear is unacceptable. The Scoutmaster
is the final judge."
Chuck Batteau -- SM, Troop 751, Glen Allen VA USA
I used to be an Eagle ...
maybe they meant an hour a DAY! :-)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City