What would you have done? resolution
Carol McFadden (mcfadden@RSO.RADSAFE.PITT.EDU)
Tue, 25 Aug 1998 13:26:13 EST5EDT
First, I'd like to extend a heartfelt Thanks to all who responded to my
questions and anxiety over our decision. I'll be responding individually
to some of you who raised specific issues.We now have no doubts that
what we did was the proper way to handle this and no other actions
would have changed the outcome.
THE REST OF THE STORY
After finding out our son had been threatened, we immediately
notified the school and the police juvenile officer. We wrote a
letter to the committee outlining the incident and stating that we
could not stay and work with Ralph present in the troop. We sent
copies of this letter to the District Chair, our COR, and our
DE. Within days, we were chastized by our Committee Chairman for
going over their heads. A few days later, we heard from Ralph's
family lawyer charging us with defamation of character and filing a
false police report. The committee dithered for 4 weeks before
they decided that since the threats were not made on church property
or at a Scout function, it was none of their business. We
immediately resigned. I then heard personally from the
Secy/Treasurer's lawyer about trying to control the troop's business,
and also received some rather disturbing anonamous mail. When the
COR heard of the committee's decision and our resignation, he was
highly displeased at their actions. He threatened to replace all of
them if they didn't stop running to their lawyers and get back to
running the troop in the interest of the boys. He made YP and Scoutmaster
Fundamentals training mandatory for committee membership. He also
made them retract the statement to the parents that we had retired
and told the parents the truth about our resignation. But neither he
nor the committee would revise their decision to retain Ralph in the
troop, promising that the next time he causes trouble he will be expelled.
We are now in another troop, happy as clams there! And the old troop
is again deciding about Ralph's fate--apparently there was a serious
knife incident at the high adventure camp this summer and Mom's on
the phone threatening to file an attempted homicide charge.
Several of the responses asked why the leaders helped Ralph attain OA
membership. It's simple.....he asked how he could become elegible,
as he thought the age and rank requirements were all he needed.
That's why he vandalised the electee's tent at summer camp as he
thought they and the adults had conspired to keep him from election.
We explained what it takes to become an Arrowman and worked with him
for 6-8 months to help him follow Scouting principles. And he was a
model Scout all the way through Ordeal. And then we didn't see him
more than a few times and never saw him wear the OA sash--very
disappointing for all of us. Just as well, tho, as he's definitely
not OA material and as we now know, has little understanding of the
principles and guidelines of Scouting. He just wanted to win a
I've known Ralph and his mom since he was 6 years old, and I think his
biggest obstacle is his mom and her actions to 'protect' him. The
saddest part of this was the history of this troop. My father-in-law
was Committee Chairman for a number of years. His sons reached their
Eagle ranks during that time. My husband had been SM for 25 years in
this troop and had excellent relationships with the church and
District--he brought a lot of energy and dedication to the job. It
is ours and the CORs and District's belief that a particular ASM had
wanted to be SM for years and was using the Committee Chair and
Secy/Treasurer (husband and wife) to achieve his goals. They tried
to appoint him the new SM, but the church denied their request. The
parents have almost totally lost faith in the committee, but luckily
none of the other boys have been much affected by the changeover.
And the committee has been fully trained (except for the
Secy/Treasurer and she's now no longer there), and the new SM and one
ASM attended Woodbadge last week. So maybe the shakeup did the
troop some good.
Again, thank you all for the encouragement and kind words. I *knew*
the wise folks here could help!
ASM and Advancement Chairman
T194, Allison Park, PA
The opinions expressed above are entirely mine, and have
nothing to do with the University of Pittsburgh.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City