Push-ups and Hazing, etc.
Anthony Mako (ajmako@NLS.NET)
Thu, 23 Jul 1998 12:33:59 -0400
I agreed with everything you said in your post until point 4. While I
understand the point you are trying to make, your logic is a bit faulty.
> 4. It is hazing and hazing is not permitted ...
> Haze -- 1. In nautical usage, to oppress, punish, or harass by forcing to
> hard & unnecessary work. 2. To initiate or discipline (fellow students) by
> means of horseplay, practical jokes, and tricks, often in the nature of
> humiliating or painful ordeals.
> If you argue that pushups are within the meaning of definition 1 then I
> think we need to revise the Tenderfoot requirements because they
> (pushups, sit-ups, pull-ups, etc.), too, are clearly within the scope of
> this definition.
The fact of the matter is, the Tenderfoot requirements are not designed to
oppress or punish the Scout. Nor is it "unnecessary work." The Tenderfoot
requirements are a test of the Scout's ability and accomplish a particular
> If you argue that it is definition 2 then we better cancel all OA
> activities because the OA ordeal is clearly within the scope of
> this definition. Actually I've wondered how long it would be before
> someone successfully argued that the tap out ceremony and the
> OA ordeal are clearly within the reasonable definition of hazing
> and initiation. We require the boys to endure the ordeal to become
> a member of the group, that's both "hazing" and "initiation" which
> are supposedly against the rules. If you think I'm wrong, try to make
> a rational distinction between the OA ordeal and a snipe hunt
> (we take these kids out at night, leave them all alone, they have no
> idea what's going on, they can't talk, etc.).
Once again, you logic is a bit hazy (pun intended). Of all of the OA
ceremonies, only the "Tap Out" (now referred to as "Calling Out") could be
considered hazing. In fact, the Tap Out ceremony I went through in 1979 WAS
hazing! But the Ordeal itself doesn't fit the second definition of hazing.
To explain: Members of the OA are elected by their peers in their troop. As
soon as the election is over, anyone elected is a member of the OA. The OA
is an organization of "honored" campers, which means that membership in the
OA is intended to be an honor given by fellow Scouts who are NOT members of
the OA. The Ordeal is does not involve "horseplay, practical jokes, and
tricks, often in the nature of humiliating or painful ordeals." There is no
pain or humiliation involved in the Ordeal. Scouts are required to remain
silent for 24 hours and spend the night sleeping under the stars in solitude
to help them reflect on why they were chosen to be members of the OA. They
spend the day doing arduous tasks with little food so that they will learn
how to render "Cheerful Service".
In contrast, a snipe hunt involves taking Scouts out into the darkness with
false information and asking them to perform "unnecessary work" as part of
an initiation or as punishment for being new and gullible. A snipe hunt
serves no purpose other than humiliation while the OA Ordeal is intended to
lead one to a greater understanding of the ideals of Scouting.
> Once again, anything can be hazing if taken to extremes. Asking a
> Tenderfoot Scout to stand in front of the troop, as part of a court of
> ceremony, and recite the Scout Oath and Law can be considered hazing of
> boys because it is "harassing by forcing to do hard & unnecessary work."
Explain to me how reciting the Scout Oath and Law is unnecessary work. For a
Tenderfoot Scout it shouldn't be hard to recite the Oath and Law and I would
submit that it is NEVER unnecessary.
The question remains "is using push-ups as punishment a form of hazing?"
Based on the definitions above
they can be used to "to oppress, punish, or harass by forcing to do hard &
unnecessary work" if the person administering the punishment goes overboard.
The task used as punishment should not be beyond the Scout's ability to
accomplish. That's when you cross the line into hazing. Are push-ups used to
"discipline by means of horseplay, practical jokes, and tricks, often in the
nature of humiliating or painful ordeals?" They can be if the crime is of a
minor nature, the Scout is forced to do them while other Scouts watch, or
the number of push-ups assigned is beyond the Scout's ability.
AJ Mako, firstname.lastname@example.org, Scoutmaster Troop 381
http://members.aol.com/Scouts381/ "Home of the Unofficial Boy Scout Desktop
Great Trail Council - Old Portage District - Akron, Ohio
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City