Scouts-L Mail Archive for June of 1999: Re: Coping With A Hyperactive Boy Scout At Summer Camp Brochure
Re: Coping With A Hyperactive Boy Scout At Summer Camp Brochure
Bruce E. Cobern
Wed, 23 Jun 1999 12:28:00 -0400
From: jay.thal <jay.thal@TCS.WAP.ORG>
Date: Wednesday, June 23, 1999 9:49 AM
>The problem is lack of communication.
I agree with the whole theme of Jay's post, but there is the issue of
prescription drugs which bothers me because I think that many people
don't understand the BSA policy.
>3. The "new" Scoutmaster Handbook, pg. 131, has a blue sidebar which
>been extracted from the G2SS. Entitled: "Scouts with Prescription
>Medications", it will place the fear of the law into you. You MUST
>and have a thorough understanding with the Scouts' parents, about how
>and when the medications will be dispensed.
>Your Council may have its own established policy, and should be aware
>State laws. Your Council should obtain for you information about the
>laws of other States through or to which you may travel.
>The responsibility is yours, but should be shared with junior leaders
>that irrespective of activities the timely taking of medications is
>adhered to. At summer camp all medications should be handled through
>the camp's medical staff.
The responsibility IS NOT yours. It rests ENTIRELY with the Scout and
his parents, except as discussed below. The entire section on
prescription drugs from the G2SS says the following (1999 edition, page
"The taking of prescription medication is the responsibility of the
individual taking the medication and/or that individual's parent or
guardian. A Scout leader, after obtaining all the necessary
information, can agree to accept the responsibility of making sure a
Scout takes the necessary medication at the appropriate time, but BSA
policy does not mandate nor necessarily encourage the Scout leader to do
so. Also, if your state laws are more limiting, they must be followed."
Let's ignore the last sentence for now because state laws vary so much
and it is impossible to address them without dealing with specific
locations. What BSA policy is saying is that the Scout leaders and the
camp staff and administration have NO responsibility when it comes to
prescription medication, that it is up to the Scout and his parents to
arrange for the Scout to take his own medication, or to have someone
administer it, and that failure of the Scout to do so is the
responsibility of the Scout and his parents. That is far different from
the scenario Jay presents above.
I absolutely believe that the SM (and the camp staff) need to know what
medications Scouts are taking and what the dosage and timing of those
medications are, but I do not believe they have any obligation to become
part of the process.
In fact, I think it might be unwise to do so. Why? Because I believe
that once you accept that responsibility you have a positive,
affirmative responsibility to make sure the medication is properly
administered. That means at camp, for instance, I do not believe it is
enough to hold the medication at the health lodge for the Scouts to come
and take. I believe that once the camp staff insists on possession of
the medication, as many camps do, even for adults, the staff has
accepted the responsibility for FINDING the Scout and making sure the
medication is administered. I'm not sure that I, as a Scout leader,
want that responsibility, and I don't know why camps feel they want it,
unless they are required to do so by state law.
Some camps, including where my troop camps, want ALL medications, even
those of adults. That means, should I give them my blood pressure
medication, like I am supposed to, and not show up to take it, they have
to find me. Should they fail to do so, and should my lack of medication
lead to any adverse consequences, I believe they would have a
significant liability problem. Why they would want that problem,
especially when it comes to adults, is beyond me.
The other thing is that I would be real hesitant before sharing this
information with junior leaders, especially without the approval of the
parents. It is one thing for the adults to be aware of a condition and
the need for medication. It should also be sufficient because it is the
ADULT leader who is accepting the responsibility for timely
administration and he can't very well shift that liability to his junior
leaders. He has the obligation to find the Scout and make sure the
medication is administered.
My point is that, absent state law, Scouting puts no requirement on us
to get involved in the administration of the medication to our Scouts
and I would think long and hard before I would accept that
Bruce E. Cobern