Scouts-L Mail Archive for June of 1999: Re: How to handle a marijuana situation.
Re: How to handle a marijuana situation.
Sun, 6 Jun 1999 09:08:53 -0700
Your question had to do with use of marijuana by some members of your
troop, it being not altogether clear when, where, and how many. One
of the boys and his parents are telling a story somewhat different
Dealing with this situation is not going to be easy. I would wish I
could show Scouts some of the human flotsam and jetsam that washes up
into the courtrooms I have been in, who still persist in saying that
they can control what they're doing and stop any time they wish. I
have heard this from forty year old persons whose family life is a
shambles, and unfortunately for the children, birth control is not a
big item among users. You are also dealing among other things with a
subset of teenager immortality. The parents when behind the closed
doors of the family home may or may not be supportive of corrective
There will be differences of opinion whether these boys should or
should not be permitted to continue with the Troop. A Scout is
obedient, which includes following laws with which they do not agree,
while working lawfully to change those laws. First, whatever else, if
your troop decides the boys can stay around, you must make it clear
to the boys that they are not welcome to participate further in the
Troop unless they promise unconditionally to stop any use of
marijuana and/or alcohol. Explain that breaking that promise will
mean immediate expulsion, and likely involvement of the Police. (The
promise may or may not mean anything, but it paves the way for quick
and final action if the promise is broken.) You should also explain
to them that in that they have been untrustworthy, their packs and
bags are subject to inspection. They need to understand that they are
earning back your respect for their behavior, they are not entitled
to it currently.
Second, and this requires cooperation of the families, the boys
should have counseling respecting the use of controlled substances
and alcohol from a counselor whom youth in your community respect.
Third, a law has been broken in the jurisdiction of possession, and
in the jurisdiction of use. You do not have the duty to report the
breach of the law, but you may wish to do so, especially if the local
juvenile authorities enjoy a reputation of being respected by youth,
and of dealing with the problem in an intelligent fashion. Your DE
can be especially useful in this aspect.
Fourth, if your troop has not had training in use of controlled
substances, it is needed; a refresher course may well be needed.
While this use is news to you, if it really happened on a troop
outing, virtually every boy then present knew about it. The
conspiracy of silence is alive and well in most troops. Your DE can
be useful here, and your Unit and District Commissioner as well, if
commissioner service is alive and well in your District.
Fifth, make sure other Scout leaders are aware of your problem, for
it will not be unique to your troop, and as you were caught
flatfooted, so may they be. Roundtable training in dealing with this
problem may be called for.
Sixth, the boys are 'entitled' to some detriment, by reason of
breaking the Scout law and Oath. They are obviously not going to have
your approval for any OA election. They are not going to be eligible
for Troop office. If they already hold it, they are removed from it.
Asst Scoutmaster, District Committee, District Commissioner,
Lewis-Clark Trail District, Inland Northwest Council 611, & 'a good
ol' Fox too'; Es Kaielgu Lodge 311, Tseminicum Chapter, Vigil,
mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org ; and Macintosh fan. Take a look at