Scouts-L Mail Archive for December of 1999: Re: Youth Protection - What's the straight word?
Re: Youth Protection - What's the straight word?
Thu, 2 Dec 1999 22:07:49 -0500
Each local Council is supposed to have a risk-management committee as part
of its organizational structure. This committee is there to mitigate risks
and liability for the Council, whether by assuring compliance with local
laws or by evaluating unique circumstances that pose risks in the local
This is pretty standard and encouraged by National. The National Office
sets the minimum standard of care required for the organization and leaves
it to individual Councils to exercise discretion as warranted by
circumstances, law, and so forth to add more stringent requirements for the
protection and safety of Scouts and to take actions to reduce the risk of
If a particular Council wishes to impose a three-deep rule or four-deep rule
and has justification for doing so based on law, the way cases are getting
decided in local courts, or some other special circumstance and makes a good
case, the National Office is not apt to get upset with the more stringent
Suppose for example that a group of volunteer organizations meets and votes
a resolution that the standard of care for youth serving organizations in
Alfalfaville, Yourstate should be a minimum of three adults at all
gatherings involving youth. The BSA National position may at the time be
two adults. The risk-management committee meets and the subject comes up.
Legal counsel for the Council argues that this joint resolution of other
organizations effectively creates a standard of care and that failure to
follow this standard makes any other organization negligent as a matter of
law. Now there is no statute or city code involved here. Not even a court
decision. The committee following the advice of legal counsel decides to
call for a rule of three adults. Council issue a new rule and it becomes
binding on all volunteers. This more stringent rule will be supported and
backed by National, because the Council has set up the rule to avoid
liability and to adhere to local standards.
Mike Bowman, Vice President
U.S. Scouting Service Project, Inc.