Re: Push-ups and Hazing, etc.
John Conley (ITI@FRONTIERNET.NET)
Thu, 23 Jul 1998 13:53:35 -0700
OK, I'll saddle up...
James H. Brown wrote:
> I know this is a hot button for many, but here goes ...
> First, I would like someone to give me a canonical reference for the "no
> push-ups as a punishment" BSA rule. So far all I have found is the "no
> hazing" and "safe environment" references, neither of which prohibit
> push-ups as a disciplinary action.
They don't specifically prohibit water torture either, but many of us
feel that it would be demeaning (at the very least) and a violation of
the "safe haven" policy, so we wouldn't do it. Many of us feel the
same way about push-ups.
<snip a bunch of stuff I don't agree with but lack the time and energy
to argue about>
> 3. The punishment should, itself, retrain the individual
> Contrived example: Offense: you forgot how to tie a square knot. Punishment:
> tie a square knot 10 times.
You did say that this was a contrived example, so maybe you meant it to
be ludicrous. What bothers me here is not so much the form of
punishment to be administered, but the fact that you think that
forgetting how to tie a knot deserves punishment at all. Thank goodness
I never had you for a teacher! Or maybe you didn't do a very good job
of teaching, James, drop and give me 10!
>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.
It may be clear to you, it isn't at all to me. Have you been through
the OA ordeal? The OA has changed quite a few things in recent years
(including some things that us old fogeys didn't think needed changing)
to make sure that their induction process does not include hazing.
>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.
Hazing is against the rules, and has been pretty much eliminated from
the OA induction process, unless you happen to have a renegade Lodge
that won't follow policy. I would call it induction rather than
initiation. The difference may be subtle, but it's significant.
> 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.).
You point out at least one of the distinctions in your post: The ordeal
candidates *do* have an idea of what's going on. Another is that ordeal
candidates are surrounded by Brothers who care about them and want them
to succeed. In fact, they have Brothers who go through the ordeal
alongside them. I assure you, the ordeal is *nothing* like a snipe
hunt. As purely anecdotal evidence, I have witnessed quite a few
ordeals, and have never seen a Scout driven to tears by one. I can't
say the same for many activities which I would classify as hazing.
>Any disciplinary action (timeouts, keeping a boy
> after, etc.) can be taken to extremes and be detrimental.
Nothing personal, James...
Arrowhead District Commissioner
Finger Lakes Council (NY)
*Better to build boys than mend men*
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City