scouts-l Mail Archive for March of 2000: Re: PLC or Committee?
Wed Mar 08 2000 - 10:10:10 CST
In regard to a youth discipline question (minor altercation between Scouts),
it was written:
<< Chain of Command - PLC first. If it has to escalate beyond that, SM and
I guess I have a question here. Maybe more an inquiry into this game we call
Scouting. If I reflect on my past behavior as a Scouter, in cases of
physical violence (minor or major), and illegal acts, I think I have
generally regarded myself as being in loco parentis. That is, I have
regarded this behavior as being outside the scope of Scouting and treated
them as problems for the adults to handle not the boys. I appreciate the
strength of the patrol method. I appreciate its value in planning, its
ability to provide espirit de corps, etc., but I guess I feel uncomfortable
turning areas of discipline over to it.
My reaction is based partly on the idea that I am an attorney, and partly on
the idea that I am a parent and want to know what is going on with my kid.
While PLC discipline does not preclude telling a parent, my first reaction is
that it would not involve a parent, at least immediately.
My approach has been: 1) to separate boys and protect them from violence
(and if I have touched the boys in doing so- call their parents to tell them
exactly what I did), 2) to talk to the boys and if there has been only minor
infractions, warn them that I would be telling their parents, and 3) if this
was the second offense, or a major infraction (violence, theft, major
vandalism) I would talk to the parents on how they felt the boy should be
disciplined. I would point out the troops concerns that there be some
teaching here, that there be some repercussions, then arrive at a mutually
agreed on disciplinary measure between the parents and I. All of this I was
involved in at my previous troop.
In my current troop, a disciplinary item was handled at the PLC and a boy
counseled the miscreant in my presence (without my participation, just
I wonder if there is any literature on this issue? Does the program of
Scouting explicitly cover disciplinary actions or is this more appropriately
an adult affair? As I write these words I can hear in my mind the
conflicting issues: boy led, boy run, boys learn from the experience (both
the miscreant and the PLC), social pressure as a constraint on the boy--- all
that versus--- I will be the judge of what discipline my child receives, who
gave those boys the right to say my son couldn't go on the next campout, etc.
Yours in Scouting,
G. John Marmet
Troop 156, Glenview, IL