scouts-l Mail Archive for March of 2000: Re: A pocket knife is a weapon...
Sun Mar 19 2000 - 11:20:42 CST
There has been something missing in this recent discussion. I believe the
original poster was upset because the boy in question was one of his Scouts
(I believe, in fact, a Cub Scout). I have no interest in pursuing the zero
tolerance argument- I frankly find all such law a bit too universalist to my
taste (considering the universalist vs. particularist views of the law), and
does not provide competent jurists, or school administrators, a way for the
punishment to fit the crime (which is after all one of the goals of proper
law - and may even be a quote from Gilbert and Sullivan, but maybe I am
remembering things wrong).
Anyway, the thing missing was the perhaps unstated question; which was: "Is
there anything I can do?" And my answer at least begins with a question,
which is: "How well do you know the boy in question?" It has been my
experience that wearing a Scout uniform does not guarantee the "Scout like
qualities" of the wearer. Scouting is, after all, a teaching device, not a
club of expert campers. (I am fond of observing that Scouting is very much
like religion- it is not for the saved, but for the sinners.)
But if the Scout leader has every belief in the virtue of the boy and in his
innocence (not of the crime- because after all he had the knife- rather his
"innocence" in the other meanings), he might approach the parents and offer
to write a letter to the school board outlining the scout policy on knives,
its relationship to the Scout movement and, implicitly at least, a plea for a
little understanding on the part of the board. This letter may fall on deaf
ears, but it could be worth a shot. The leader would be on a bit of shaky
ground here because, after all, we are supposed to require that a Scout carry
his authority to carry a knife (his Totin' Chip) along with the knife.
Random thoughts from a random Scouter.
Yours in Scouting,
G. John Marmet
Troop 156, Glenview, IL