scouts-l Mail Archive for March of 2000: Re: banning Scouters (long) (2/2)
MAJ) Mike Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle (blkeagle@USSCOUTS.ORG
Fri Mar 26 1993 - 09:05:49 CST
Dale and Donna Buss wrote also:
>I will also tell you that many of these offenses require confidentiality of
>the alleged victim. Therefore, those of us in the troop, pack, district,
>council, etc. are not going to know details. Those who know the details
>will not be allowed BY LAW to share them.
But the details ARE shared, Donna and Dale. While you are absolutely
correct that the policy require this, many Councils are happy to announce
that "We got that...!" as I've heard in one case. The reality is that many
Councils use this policy to get rid of people they perceive as
"troublemakers", the ones that choose not to go along with how the Council
wants things done and rather how they see their job as written or carried
out. In criminal situations, nobody says a word only because they do not
want the Council dragged into a court case or an unfavorable public
relations situation with regard to the individual.
>What may seem like arbitrary dismissal, an unwillingness to share
>information by scout execs, a sweeping Thou shalt not... all are necessary
>to keep confidential information away from the general public.
I disagree. While the vast majority of removals are for criminal behavior
and for actions which clearly should remove a person from volunteer service;
the BSA has removed also individuals whom have done nothing more than to
stand up to the Council's Scout Executive and say "I'm not doing that.
That's wrong, and you're wrong for telling me to do this through your
professional (or in person)."
Those individuals, to those looking at this from the "outside" are "lumped
together" alongside those individuals whom have killed, maimed, or abused
individuals; whom have taken funds and resources from units and/or Councils;
and alongside those individuals whom are openly gay, lesbian or bisexual.
There is no "explaination" to the Scouter on the boilerplate letter other
than "he or she does no longer meet our standards for membership in
accordance with the Scout Oath and Law." So, when a person is removed, we
ALL look at that person in the worse spot of light: "He or she must have
harmed someone in the program" rather than to *ask* and *seek understanding*
of why the person was removed. This too, is why I'm personally proud of James.
(It's like the AIDS deal: only ten years ago, many Americans would have
associated AIDS with homosexual behavior and IV drug usage/abuse. When a
person contracted HIV and later AIDS, that was the only thing affecting our
actions and behavior toward that person: "Aw, he must be gay", "What kinds
of drugs has she been on?"
It was only later, when we truly came to grips about the disease and how it
was transmitted, and under what circumstances it could be transmitted, than
we saw that there was clearly OTHER ways that the person could have
contracted HIV/AIDS, and we started to actually ASK and SEEK UNDERSTANDING
before we gave an opinion or acted upon what we knew).
Many of the situations you provided to us are examples of why the BSA treads
very lightly on this issue. The biggest thing is that in some cases, an
action of removal can result in a court case, which could be very costly and
which can cause the Council to lose membership, units and chartered
partners...and more importantly the support of the community in the process.
This is especially true in the case of longtime volunteer Scouters "all of
suddenly" being told to leave the program for "no reason". While you are
correct that we may not know all of the "background information" in why a
person was removed (and seriously, unless the person told us all, it's none
of our business), the mere threat of "you do things the way we do them or
I'll remove you and make it impossible for you EVER to become a volunteer
again!" is enough threat to either keep volunteers "in line" or to force
them to leave.
And I hate to even post it, but it's true: one of the responsibilities of
all professionals, at all levels, is to "cultivate, motivate and control
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle)
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