scouts-l Mail Archive for March of 2000: Re: banning Scouters (long) (1/2)
MAJ) Mike Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle (blkeagle@USSCOUTS.ORG
Fri Mar 26 1993 - 09:06:05 CST
When James DeGhelder first posted to the list, my first inclination was to
write to his personally, and express many of the items I posted to the list
earlier this week.
On Wednesday, I simply could not concentrate on anything but trying to
respond to James' posting WITHOUT trying to sound like a former member of
our list. He was a professional for many years, and the BSA dealt him the
same "dark hand" that it has done to James. This guy invested a lot of
time, personal energies and yes, monies, into something he believed in --
and now the program basically said for their *own reasonings*, that they did
not want him as a professional any more.
He was bitter. He was angry, and he wanted to strike out at "the system".
In a lot of ways, he felt guilty even though there wasn't anything for him
to be guilty of. He felt let down, destroyed by the one "fun, enjoyable
thing" in his life to be associated with. And he struck back, through angry
words at himself, others and the program.
Which is why he was removed by the listowner from this list.
James, I am proud of you. I am proud of you as a fellow Scouter and as a
person that in many ways, felt yours (and the other guy's) feelings for the
program and how it arbitrarily "took you out". I personally feel as I felt
when I wrote the original response to your questions and concerns, that you
WILL find a way to continue to be of service to others. It takes a matter of
sitting down and reassessing how important you consider Scouting, how
important you consider standing up for what is right and real, and how
important you take the Scouting ideals into your own personal life.
Other Scouters have complained about what I stated, particularily when I
stated that "he could still be a part of what's going on, but not just in a
uniform". That's true. The boilerplate letter states that the Scouter
shall "sever all ties" with the BSA. Officially, this means that the
individual cannot have any official involvement in the program...as a
registered individual. I do stand by what I stated earlier, gang:
no organization, movement, nor club can MAKE you not believe in their
standards, not allow you to support them, not want to take your money, and
not allow you (particularily if you have youth members enrolled in the
program) to participate to the extent that any other unregistered adult can
participate. They have taken your right to be a registered member away, and
with this, the BSA is hoping that you will feel bad enough that you will NOT
WANT to have any other association.
You did not sign a contract to serve as a volunteer. You have volunteered
Therefore, you can volunteer to serve in a variety of other ways, which the
local Council nor the national organization has any control - or desire to
control - over.
Joe correctly stated that what I was saying was that the person "should do
what we're telling and teaching our Scouts not to do." Yes, Joe, I am
saying just that.
If the chartered organization -- the organization owning and operating the
BSA unit under the standards of the BSA -- desires to have James or any
other volunteer around, they may do so. They also take up the consequence
of their action, whether it is a revocation of a unit's charter or the
informal "banning" of that unit from District and/or Council activities, as
another person posted me privately. They may also choose to, as was done in
the past of the BSA and local units, to place this person into their own
"protective custody" and allow him or her to do some committee-type tasks
and encourage him to attend but not participate in unit meetings. Again,
that's why chartered organization heads are given that power: to make those
decisions which affect their relationship with the BSA program and to make
their program THEIRS.
I do also disagree with the person that said "But we've been told that they
will pull our charter" if such an instance happen. Let's be for real here:
the ONLY way that a local Council will "pull" a charter is in the case of
GROSS ABUSE (i.e., a situation whereby an individual was convicted of child
abuse, say, and the unit still allowed this person to be around youth
members). With the numbers of units and individuals dropping this year and
last, and with the large number of Councils scrambling around trying to FIND
chartered partners, threats like that tend to keep in check rather than to
actually be able to be carried out. Again, however, that is the *decision
of the chartering organization* and NOT the decision of the unit's committee.
Dale and Donna Buss wrote:
>Consider it naive, but I do not for one minute believe that a national
>organization is going to arbitrarily dismiss a volunteer from service.
Yep. Please believe it. The Boy Scouts of America can remove anyone for any
reason at any time. It is the print which doesn't appear on any of the adult
applications (although I've been told that there are plans to print some
sort of "at will" statement on the future volunteer application) and which
local Councils, their Scout/Council Executives, and volunteers have to deal
>I worked in the criminal justice system for 13+years. (Probation Officer,
>Circuit Clerk and Victim-Witness Coordinator in a State's Attorney's
>Office.) (REcently) I can tell you that a drug addict, abuser, molester,
>alcoholic, etc. can convince Mother Teresa of their innocence and
>railroading by the system. I believe that there has to be some BSA rules in
>place written down nationally with a list of things a volunteer can be
>dismissed for. THERE HAS TO BE SOME WHERE. I do believe there are >appeal
procedures as well.
There is none, Donna and Dale. NO list which clearly states "You will be
removed from registration with the BSA if you...." do this, that or the
other; fail to do this that or the other; or have been implicated or
convicted in these series of crimes.
The "standard for membership" IS listed both on the application and
elsewhere and this forms the "standard for removal" as well: Scouters must
be of "good moral character" and must "agree to abide by and adhere to the
Scout Oath (or Promise) and Law".
That's the "list", and that "list" is subjectively evaluated by the Council
Scout Executive, whom must sign a "denial of registration" form and send it
to the BSA's Registration Service's Director.
There IS an appeal process, and it is written within the letter of denial,
as well as within the BSA's Standards for Maintaining Membership
publication. The process depends upon whether or not the local Council or
the national organization removes you. Appeals are to the Region, the
Registration Service, and finally to the Office of the Chief Scout
Executive. Individuals do NOT appear in person. Only those items sent to
the appeals committee are reviewed and examined. No professional nor
volunteer can appear before the appeals committee on your behalf. Members
of the appeal committee are not supposed to be familiar with the situation
Removal for a criminal act are never overturned (at least I'm not aware of
any which has been, even if the person was only "alleged" of committing a
criminal act. The court, in one case, threw out the case, and even sent a
letter to the BSA's Regional office in support of the individual. The
individual was still removed). Removal for
civil actions are overturned at about a quarter rate (every four removals,
one is overturned at the Regional level). Removal for all other reasons are
overturned at a rate of a two-thirds rate (for every three cases, two are
overturned). (Don't ask how I know this....) A "strong packet" and proof
of the person's character goes a long way toward overturning the decision.
which is why the standard was written the way it was.
Someone wrote that the "Council Scout Executive somewhere must talk with the
Council President and Commissioner, right?" That's true. That's a part of
the process, but in my 15 years of observation of this policy, it doesn't
get done in many Councils until AFTER the fact. Some Council Presidents and
Commissioners have been influncial in getting the removed volunteer
reinstated -- at the risk of their own volunteer service (at least at the
risk of being "removed" as Council President or Commissioner!)
(more on the followup to this posting)
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle)
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