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I have no particularly strong opinions about this, other than that telling a special needs child one thing and then pulling the rug out from under him is probably the most cruel way to treat someone with special needs. I just thought this piece was interesting and was the sort of thing the board enjoys a discussion of:

https://www.sltrib.com/news/2018/03/17/utah-boy-who-has-down-syndrome-loses-merit-badges-and-his-shot-at-becoming-an-eagle-scout-because-of-discriminatory-policies-lawsuit-says/

 

tl;dr A boy with Downs Syndrome was starting his approved Eagle Scout project only to have the national Boy Scouting organization overrule the approval of their local organization and take away all his merit badges because the local organization made accommodations for him in getting them. The family are suing (for a dollar in damages and to have the policy changed).

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I'm going to sound like a bad, negative person here, but I assure you that I'm just a realist when it comes to things of this nature. My son has a disability and qualifies for accommodations in variou

Right or wrong, good or bad, understandable or incomprehensible, this is bad publicity for scouting and correcting the errors made by this boy’s troop could have been handled in a more delicate and

There’s way more to this story. BSA has very well written and clearly defined guidelines for special needs scouts. They have a road to Eagle, but it involves following the rules, which these parents

Reading between the lines a little , it sounds like BSA has some policies in place for accommodations , but the local scouts didn’t use that and instead just awarded badges for effort. Which was fine until they got to the Eagle Scout stage. Then BSA put its foot down .

 

I really sympathize that the kid is caught in the crossfire , but it sounds like the local leaders only did a halfway job in advocating for him .

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What a horrific thing to do. That brought tears to my eyes. It’s one thing to say that going forward, he has to follow exactly. But, no one should punish a kid, especially a kid with limited abilities to really understand, for mistakes an adult made.

 

Not to mention, there is NOTHING for the organization to gain by taking the badges away.

 

Just...wow

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Reading between the lines a little , it sounds like BSA has some policies in place for accommodations , but the local scouts didn’t use that and instead just awarded badges for effort. Which was fine until they got to the Eagle Scout stage. Then BSA put its foot down .

 

I really sympathize that the kid is caught in the crossfire , but it sounds like the local leaders only did a halfway job in advocating for him .

 

Well, the actual lines are that the boy's dad "got an email a day after Logan's Eagle Scout project, to distribute care kits for newborns at a local hospital, was approved...National organization policy required that Logan 'MUST' complete merit badge requirements as written and that he should 'plan, develop and carry out' his project on his own."

 

What are the BSA policies in place for accommodations? It didn't sound to me like the badges were awarded "just" for effort at all. It sounded like they used their knowledge of this young man to help him participate in line with his abilities.

 

This strikes me as discrimination, plain and simple. Like it will somehow tarnish the meaning of being an Eagle Scout if this young man, who is already facing great challenges to participate with his peers, achieves the honor. Seriously, asking him to go back and complete all the merit badge requirements "as written" and challenging him because he received help in planning and developing the project?

 

Edited for possible hyperbole.

Edited by fralala
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Wow.

 

As the parent of a 16 year old, who is a scout, who has down syndrome, this is hard to process. I've been putting my years of special education training to good use adapting materials. Or at least I thought I was. Our troop is all young men who have special needs. Now I am wondering about how the council treats us.

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I don't know enough about the BSA to really say for sure what's appropriate. Obviously the way this was handled is cruel in the extreme to the kid and was not okay on a basic level.

 

The issues that I feel like weren't tackled in the article directly were more like... what should we provide accommodations for and what shouldn't we? How far should accommodations go? Are there some things that people just can't access sometimes because certain levels accommodations would lessen the value of it, like a college degree or an Eagle Scout badge? And is an Eagle Scout badge one of those things (I would say no, I mean, come on... but I don't have strong enough feelings about the scouts to have a stake in that opinion, I feel).

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I don't know enough about the BSA to really say for sure what's appropriate. Obviously the way this was handled is cruel in the extreme to the kid and was not okay on a basic level.

 

The issues that I feel like weren't tackled in the article directly were more like... what should we provide accommodations for and what shouldn't we? How far should accommodations go? Are there some things that people just can't access sometimes because certain levels accommodations would lessen the value of it, like a college degree or an Eagle Scout badge? And is an Eagle Scout badge one of those things (I would say no, I mean, come on... but I don't have strong enough feelings about the scouts to have a stake in that opinion, I feel).

To be honest, I am ok with saying that if he can't follow eagle scout requirements as written he can't do it.  But, tell him ahead of time. 

 

But merit badges, I mean, they are little round fabric pieces with embroidery on them.  They aren't a means to employment, they aren't considered for scholarships, they are just a piece of fabric that show you learned something.  Taking those away from someone who didn't learn every single thing exactly as stated because he has special needs is...

 

just....I can't imagine being the person who made that decision.  

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I'm not an expert on any of this but do know a local BS who is developmentally disabled received his Eagle last year without issue. I don't know what specific accommodations he was given but I know he was given a lot of support locally and it all went through without issue.

 

I'd like to hear more info because it doesn't add up with our experience so far. To deny the project is not all that surprising or a big deal but for all his badges to then be voided doesn't make sense to me, what was done to determine that they weren't done correctly? Did they call every single MB counselor? 

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Can they give them more time to work with BSA and figure out what accommodations will work?

 

I would be OK with that as long as there was some reasonableness there.  I hope they can't actually refuse to allow people with intellectual disabilities a path to Eagle.

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I think I'm okay with that too. Or even maybe with the merit badges having very specific requirements. Or anything really. I don't think a private organization is required to provide accommodations. Organizations like universities that receive federal monies have to make accommodations of various kinds, and that's good. But they still can have certain standards.

 

On the other hand, the world is better when organizations do make accommodations. I mean, kids who need more time need more time. You can't just wave a wand and make them need less. Kids who need assistive tech, just need it. I'm not totally sure where the lines should be.

 

Again, it should go without saying that their handling of this was an epic fail.

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I think I'm okay with that too. Or even maybe with the merit badges having very specific requirements. Or anything really. I don't think a private organization is required to provide accommodations. Organizations like universities that receive federal monies have to make accommodations of various kinds, and that's good. But they still can have certain standards.

 

On the other hand, the world is better when organizations do make accommodations. I mean, kids who need more time need more time. You can't just wave a wand and make them need less. Kids who need assistive tech, just need it. I'm not totally sure where the lines should be.

 

Again, it should go without saying that their handling of this was an epic fail.

Well and I guess for me is.....fine, have the standards.

 

But, this kid has spent YEARS earning these badges.  And to turn around and void them.....that's just wrong.  I don't even care if the troop leaders messed up.  I mean....I do, but...that's their mistake, not his.  Don't void HIS earnings.....void the rank/position/whatever of the people who actually screwed up.  

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I also wander if there's more to the backstory. Like someone decided their boy's achievement couldn't be tarnished by this young man getting something comparable. So they pushed the local and national organization to review.

I know exactly what parents mean when they say the activities uncovered ability they didn't know their son had. One reason I like participating is it's a way to push my ds' learning.

I also know the pain when something close to the child is taken away. Whatever happens, I doubt this boy will wear a scout uniform again. A bully scared my ds out of the swimming pool. At that point he had had a successful year swimming on the neighborhood team. It was two years before he showed he knew how to swim again (2years with me dragging him to the pool because I didn't want him to forget). He does compete now (neighborhood and special Olympics),but he's never had the same level of joy he previously had. Something important was taken away.

 

ETA: about the "important" thing. As parents we like to help our dc find a passion or find a sense of purpose or find simply find something basic to enjoy doing. Achieving that for a child with special needs can be extremely hard. When it is taken away the pain is deep and finding something new may not be possible. Our kids cannot just go try something new. There are not a lot of opportunities for our kids to try stuff in the first place. 

Edited by Diana P.
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Well, the actual lines are that the boy's dad "got an email a day after Logan's Eagle Scout project, to distribute care kits for newborns at a local hospital, was approved...National organization policy required that Logan 'MUST' complete merit badge requirements as written and that he should 'plan, develop and carry out' his project on his own."

 

What are the BSA policies in place for accommodations? It didn't sound to me like the badges were awarded "just" for effort at all. It sounded like they used their knowledge of this young man to help him participate in line with his abilities.

 

This strikes me as discrimination, plain and simple. Like it will somehow tarnish the meaning of being an Eagle Scout if this young man, who is already facing great challenges to participate with his peers, achieves the honor. Seriously, asking him to go back and complete all the merit badge requirements "as written" and challenging him because he received help in planning and developing the project?

 

Edited for possible hyperbole.

 

These were the lines I  was thinking of:

But Logan hasn’t been kicked out, according to Boy Scouts of America spokeswoman Effie Delimarkos, and the changes the Blythes reference were revisions to the eligibility policy. Despite the committee’s decision on Logan’s Eagle Scout project, he is just as welcome in the Scouts as anyone else.

“In fact, he was recognized at a special event in January to celebrate his commitment and love of Scouting,†she said.

She disputes the assertion that the decision was discriminatory and says the organization offered the Blythes “a path to earning alternative merit badges based on [Logan’s] abilities,†as well as additional time to complete the badge requirements. To qualify for Eagle rank, a Scout must meet the requirements by age 18.

 

My guess -- and it's just a guess -- is that there are paths to badges with accommodations, but the local leaders didn't go through BSA, but instead just handed out badges as they wished, and it's become a tug of war about if that level of local approval is OK.

 

My background is as a  girl scout leader; I have had a Scout who required some accommodations due to being Deaf, and we went through our council so they were aware (it was never a problem; they  gave us funding for translators).

 

I am not defending the decision here, it's awful.  I'm just guessing at the context.

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Reading between the lines a little , it sounds like BSA has some policies in place for accommodations , but the local scouts didn’t use that and instead just awarded badges for effort. Which was fine until they got to the Eagle Scout stage. Then BSA put its foot down .

 

I really sympathize that the kid is caught in the crossfire , but it sounds like the local leaders only did a halfway job in advocating for him .

Absolutely.  My son's troop has three scouts with Autism.  One of whom is primarily non-verbal.  He will earn his eagle in the next year.  I was the awards committee chair for the last four years and our troop has followed all BSA guidelines for accommodations.  You cannot just make up your own.

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I'm in the situation of working with accommodations for mbs on a regular basis. (I'm the District Advancement Chair). What has happened, many times, is that the boy's parents don't want to go through the process.Now, the accommodations can be applied for (written form from an MD and then it goes to Council) and received. And THEN the mb can be earned. https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/33088.pdf See section 10. 

 

My other guess on what happened is that registered mb counselors were not used. Was each mb counselor registered and had he received training? Quite possibly not.

 

And the article made it seem that the boy and his parents worked on the Eagle project together. Nope. The project has to be conceived of, and developed BY THE BOY! I just had a conversation with a boy not an hour ago--nope, you're not ready. All the paperwork is not filled out, so you can not begin. And no, I won't chat with your parents about it. It's YOUR Eagle, not theirs. 

 

An epic fail? Not on BSA's part if the boy and his parents didn't follow the procedure. 

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If he were in a wheelchair and did adaptive sports, would BSA deny the merit badges for those sports since the Scout “didn’t follow the directions as written�

 

As parent to a child with both a physical disability (hearing loss) and a developmental disability (autism), it infuriates me how much better people generally treat children with physical disabilities compared to those with DD’s. Physical disabilities garner sympathy while DD’s often get treated as making excuses for bad parenting.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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To qualify for Eagle rank, a Scout must meet the requirements by age 18.

 

 

 

 

There are provisions for earning the Eagle after the age of 18. However, there is a process that must be followed. BSA is welcoming of members with disabilities, but they do have a road to Eagle, one that must be followed. 

 

We have a mom here who is STILL mad that we would not accept "he did his best" for the swimming requirement. Nope. Not how it works. The boy would easily qualify for accommodations, but I wasn't going to lie and say he could swim 100 yards. He couldn't. And this mom wanted the troop to quit kayaking, climbing 14ers, and backpacking so her ds could go along. Sure, there were SOME trips he could do, but not all. There was a camp he couldn't attend as there was no way to get him from one place to another.

 

We have a Scout right now who is not comfortable around knives. Well, the boys have to earn their Tot'n Chip in order to do some activities at camp. We're not going to deny the rest of the boys those activities. Tenderfoot requirement #3 involves the uses of knives, saws and axes: 

Tools 3a. Demonstrate a practical use of the square knot. 3b. Demonstrate a practical use of two half-hitches. 3c. Demonstrate a practical use of the taut-line hitch. 3d. Demonstrate proper care, sharpening, and use of the knife, saw, and ax. Describe when each should be used.

And it says demonstrate, NOT discuss. So, that's what has to be done. This particular boy does not meet eligibility for accommodation as per BSA guidelines. 

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If he were in a wheelchair and did adaptive sports, would BSA deny the merit badges for those sports since the Scout “didn’t follow the directions as written�

 

As parent to a child with both a physical disability (hearing loss) and a developmental disability (autism), it infuriates me how much better people generally treat children with physical disabilities compared to those with DD’s. Physical disabilities garner sympathy while DD’s often get treated as making excuses for bad parenting.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

 

The Scout would be able (most likely) to earn the Sports mb. However, it is not an Eagle-required mb, so alternative requirements are not available. I could see how the Sports mb could be earned doing adaptive skiing whilst still following the requirements. However the sport must be okayed by the mb counselor, NOT mom and dad, in advance. There are 2-3 Eagle-required mb options in several categories. BECAUSE they are Eagle-requireds, there are alternative requirements IF the Scout has been identified as needing those. So, the boy can do Swimming OR Hiking OR Cycling. So, a boy who could not pass the Swimming mb, could hand cycle (for example). If a boy earns all three of those, they roll to electives. Only the Eagle-requireds have alternative requirements. If a boy is terrified of dogs (for example) there are not alternative requirements to get around taking care of the dog. He simply chooses another mb to do as an elective. 

 

Here is the list of Eagle-required mbs: 

All of those have alternative requirements allowed. 

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There’s way more to this story. BSA has very well written and clearly defined guidelines for special needs scouts. They have a road to Eagle, but it involves following the rules, which these parents haven’t done. There is no “family prepared the Eagle projectâ€. An Eagle project is a scouts alone. That article also said that he didn’t follow all of the requirements for the merit badges, which also isn’t allowed. Like I said, BSA has a clearly defined policy for SN scouts, but the parents have to be the ones who get the scout on that track, starting with having him officially designated as a SN scout.

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I can be on board with having clearly defined specific requirements. There have been young men who happened to have down syndrome who achieved Eagle. 

 

If the situation is truly based on clearly defined specific requirements, the problem I see is someone set this young man up to think he was meeting requirements. There are consequences to doing that. He could probably have been happy as a scout progressing with the badges he could do with appropriate accommodations. Letting stuff slip by created expectations. Backing up on those expectations can be seriously damaging, in a way that is not something easily recovered from if it can be recovered from. 

 

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The young man has more time to get this fixed.  I would hope they could still make it work.

 

It's a shame someone gave him false expectations, but if he needs to do more to make eagle, then he needs to do more.  I think the parents could take a more productive view of it.

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Margaret,

 

Is it typical that when a locally approved Eagle Scout project is sent to the national organization, all of the kid’s merit badges leading up to Eagle are scrutinized? Or does the organization generally assume the that if the scout master awarded them, they must have been legitimately earned?

 

The turn around on this was super fast, which makes me think that this kid was targeted for scrutiny because his disability was visible and named. That matches with my experience as a special educator, that kids with disabilities are constantly under the microscope, and held to standards that aren’t actually enforced for others.

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I'm going to sound like a bad, negative person here, but I assure you that I'm just a realist when it comes to things of this nature. My son has a disability and qualifies for accommodations in various environments. He is a former Scout and my husband is still a merit badge councilor. 

 

Whoever told them that BSA would modify badge requirements gave them, at best, incomplete information. The troop leadership, council leadership and parents should all have worked together to ensure that everything was done according to BSA specifications. There is actually specific training available to leaders of special needs Scouts. There are some circumstances where they can substitute individual requirements of a specific badge and some when they can substitute required merit badges, but there is a stated procedure for going about doing this. Following the procedure correctly leads to no surprises. BSA will also sometimes allow an active Scout with disabilities to remain in the program to progress in rank beyond the age of 18, but agin there is a specific procedure to follow for this to be allowed.

 

 If the phrase "the family prepared Logan's Eagle Scout project" is accurate, than he most assuredly didn't meet the requirement for the Eagle project. That is something the scout is supposed to do. This young man is fifteen years old - honestly, in my area, that's young to be an Eagle Scout. I know that it is technically possible, but speeding through the program isn't encouraged in our area and many of our young men who attain the rank of Eagle do so late in their 16th year or in their 17th year. I am well aware that in other areas, kids are encouraged to progress much more quickly, it's a matter of preference, I suppose. 

 

The fact stands that while people with disabilities (my son is one), are entitled to accommodations in public places and in places of employment that meet certain criteria, but they are not entitled to have requirements for anything changed or waived. Both public and private institutions have the right, and in many cases, the obligation, to protect the integrity of their program. Just by way of example, everyone is entitled to accommodations that ensure their access to a "free and appropriate education." Everyone is not entitled to a high school diploma, minimum high school diploma requirements must still be met. If you are disabled and cannot meet the minimum math requirement, chances are you will work on a vocational certificate or earn a certificate of completion, but you won't earn a high school diploma unless you meet the diploma requirements. Everyone is entitled to apply for a driver's license, but if you don't pass the vision screening, you are not entitled to a driver's license. If you cannot read, you are entitled to opportunity to take the written test orally, but you are not entitled to a passing score. If you have limited mobility, you are entitled to use adaptive equipment, but if you don't follow basic traffic laws, you are not entitled to a passing score on the road test. You still have to know the law, recognize signs and drive in a safe manner.  

 

The parents want the line "to the best of the boy's ability" added to the merit badge requirements. That changes the entire nature of the BSA program, in my opinion. Scouting simply isn't an environment where everyone gets a trophy, so to speak. The purpose of earning the merit badge is for the boy to learn about and demonstrate competency in a particular area. For example, if someone can't swim the required distance for the swimming merit badge when working "to the best of their ability," then they are not competent in the same manner that someone who can swim for the required distance. Part of the point of that particular merit badge is to build up endurance, because swimmers who can swim longer distances without stopping are safer swimmers. As written, that requirement is objective in it's measure, as most of them are. I think many people who haven't been involved in the program don't realize how well thought out and well designed the requirements for badges and rank advancement are. There is a reason that few people make it to Eagle. It's hard. It's supposed to be. 

 

If anyone is interested in the "official" information, here's a link for you. You can also poke around on that site and get to the requirements for rank advancement and for individual merit badges (earning specific merit badges is a requirement for rank advancement, as is troop leadership experience). 

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Wow.

 

As the parent of a 16 year old, who is a scout, who has down syndrome, this is hard to process. I've been putting my years of special education training to good use adapting materials. Or at least I thought I was. Our troop is all young men who have special needs. Now I am wondering about how the council treats us.

 

Here is the official policy. I strongly suggest that you go for the special needs training program through your council, that way you can make informed decisions. 

 

I will say that it's okay for anyone to participate in scouts and not advance through the ranks. My son was a second class scout for three years. He simply didn't meet the advancement requirements. He still loved camping and he learned a lot. 

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I missed that he is 15 . That might have been a red flag that caused the investigations .

 

 

No matter what it sounds like this kid did everything in good faith and I truly hope they can come to a way to get him to Eagle.

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Here is the official policy. I strongly suggest that you go for the special needs training program through your council, that way you can make informed decisions. 

 

I will say that it's okay for anyone to participate in scouts and not advance through the ranks. My son was a second class scout for three years. He simply didn't meet the advancement requirements. He still loved camping and he learned a lot. 

 

There is a difference between choosing not to do something, and not being able to do something because of disability.  

 

The more I think about it, the more I think that a reasonable amount (determined based on the individual) of personal assistance, from a parent, or a fellow scout, or someone else, needs to be an allowed accommodation.  It's a very common accommodation used by people with ID and/or severe physical disabilities.  It's an accommodation recognized under federal law, and spelled out in ADA.  Schools use it widely, as do other public places like rec centers, movie theaters, and public transportation.  Given that, it seems reasonable to assume that it would be included under this description.

 

 

Simple modifications very close to existing requirements need not be approved. A Scout in a wheelchair, for example, may meet the Second Class requirement for hiking by “wheeling†to a place of interest. Allowing more time and permitting special aids are also ways leaders can help Scouts with disabilities make progress. Modifications, however, must provide a very similar challenge and learning experience. 

 

I happen to be very close to a young woman with a severe physical disability.  I have to wonder how the scouts handle cases where scouts have very limited physical abilities.  Do they simply exclude them?

 

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I happen to be very close to a young woman with a severe physical disability.  I have to wonder how the scouts handle cases where scouts have very limited physical abilities.  Do they simply exclude them?

 

 

 

I have a girl with Muscular Dystrophy that uses a wheelchair and has limited muscle control in my troop of 10 yo GS. We do not exclude her--we find ways for her to participate. She has to have a parent with her at all activities and events (I'm not trained to help with some of her needs) but so far, if her mom has wanted her to do an activity, she has done it. She went camping with us once but since her mom hates camping, she hasn't signed her up for any other trips like that. There are some badges that aren't easy, but in GS we have the ability to adapt things to our girls. I did learn that we couldn't do ice skating at the rinks around here because they don't have the equipment to get her safely on the ice though, and that's a real bummer. We're going to find a way though. I'm sure she isn't the first girl in a wheelchair to want to skate.

 

Some of my girls (my own and some of my GS girls) want to camp and hike more so we've created a camping coop group in our town that's open to any GS whose parent is willing to volunteer. That helps with some of the more adventurous ideas. It is still open to her but it's a coop so you have to have a parent that can lead.

 

So no, the girl you know would be just fine in our GS troop.

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Girl Scouts sounds WAY less bureaucratic than Boy Scouts when it comes to badges and awards. For a gold award, the girl would have to plan and carry out the project on her own. But there aren't a bazillion prerequisite merit badges to complete in order to be eligible to start the gold. The badges have recommended activities but if a SN girl needed to modify or substitute an activity, it's up to the troop leader to decide what "counts" to earn a badge.

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There is a difference between choosing not to do something, and not being able to do something because of disability.  

 

The more I think about it, the more I think that a reasonable amount (determined based on the individual) of personal assistance, from a parent, or a fellow scout, or someone else, needs to be an allowed accommodation.  It's a very common accommodation used by people with ID and/or severe physical disabilities.  It's an accommodation recognized under federal law, and spelled out in ADA.  Schools use it widely, as do other public places like rec centers, movie theaters, and public transportation.  Given that, it seems reasonable to assume that it would be included under this description.

 

 

 

I happen to be very close to a young woman with a severe physical disability.  I have to wonder how the scouts handle cases where scouts have very limited physical abilities.  Do they simply exclude them?

 

 

Sure, personal assistance is one thing, waiving the requirement or changing it in such a way that it no longer meets the intent of the program is another entirely. The purpose of the BSA is to develop practical and leadership skills and they have a very prescribed manner in which they do so. Also, what a personal assistant can do is  strictly defined in the settings you describe. A personal assistant may transcribe verbal answers into written form, but not provide answers, for example. For the purposes of an Eagle Program, a personal assistant could act as a scribe. However, they cannot conceive of the idea, secure funding, materials, volunteers, complete the content of the application, or run the project. The purpose of ADA and IDEA is do guarantee access, not success. ADA guarantees less than IDEA. IDEA only applies in public, K-12 schools. People are guaranteed access to BSA programming. They are not, however, guaranteed that they will progress though the program because no one is given that guarantee. It would be discriminatory if they provided able-bodied, able-minded people the opportunity to progress through the ranks and denied that opportunity to disabled people. However, that is not what they are doing, at all. They are providing both groups access and are providing accommodations for disabled people, but they still don't guarantee that anyone will progress through the ranks. 

 

No, scouts do not exclude people with limited physical abilities. They offer reasonable accommodations to assist people to progress through the program. Not everyone will progress through the program, no matter their level of ability. Everyone is welcome to participate, whether or not they are willing or able to progress. 

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I happen to be very close to a young woman with a severe physical disability.  I have to wonder how the scouts handle cases where scouts have very limited physical abilities.  Do they simply exclude them?

 

 

 

I have a girl with Muscular Dystrophy that uses a wheelchair and has limited muscle control in my troop of 10 yo GS. We do not exclude her--we find ways for her to participate. She has to have a parent with her at all activities and events (I'm not trained to help with some of her needs) but so far, if her mom has wanted her to do an activity, she has done it. She went camping with us once but since her mom hates camping, she hasn't signed her up for any other trips like that. There are some badges that aren't easy, but in GS we have the ability to adapt things to our girls. I did learn that we couldn't do ice skating at the rinks around here because they don't have the equipment to get her safely on the ice though, and that's a real bummer. We're going to find a way though. I'm sure she isn't the first girl in a wheelchair to want to skate.

 

Some of my girls (my own and some of my GS girls) want to camp and hike more so we've created a camping coop group in our town that's open to any GS whose parent is willing to volunteer. That helps with some of the more adventurous ideas. It is still open to her but it's a coop so you have to have a parent that can lead.

 

So no, the girl you know would be just fine in our GS troop.

 

 

You can take a manual chair on the ice.  You don't need special equipment beyond that. It works really well actually, and the person pushing doesn't have to be a good skater since the chair acts as a walker.  A power chair is trickier because of the weight and other factors, but a manual chair is a delight on ice skates.

 

I have more experience with GS than BS, but having supported a kid with a significant disability through a gold award project, and now having read the BS requirements, it seems that GS is inclusive, while BS practices mainstreaming (they even use the word, which kind of made my head spin).  That's a pretty huge philosophical difference.  

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You can take a manual chair on the ice.  You don't need special equipment beyond that. It works really well actually, and the person pushing doesn't have to be a good skater since the chair acts as a walker.  A power chair is trickier because of the weight and other factors, but a manual chair is a delight on ice skates.

 

I have more experience with GS than BS, but having supported a kid with a significant disability through a gold award project, and now having read the BS requirements, it seems that GS is inclusive, while BS practices mainstreaming (they even use the word, which kind of made my head spin).  That's a pretty huge philosophical difference.  

 

That's good to know. She has a power chair. I'll have to talk to her parents and see what we can do about a manual chair. The ice skating place made it sound like some huge thing and super difficult. I'll have to try another rink.

 

I have kids in both GS and BSA and have seen good and bad in both programs. I understand the BSA opinion but really it seems heavy handed.

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As to the scrutiny on mbs, it is done at the Council level. When a young man's Eagle work is completed, it is usually checked over by the District Advancement (here, that would be me) to catch errors before it goes to Council. At that level, each page is gone over, each date is checked, etc. In all my years of doing this, only ONE time have I had a book go through with no corrections. It's easy to mess up on length of time for a Position of Responsibility, etc. Only once every thing is verified, does it go for the Eagle Board of Review. Once the Eagle Board has met (and signed a zillion more places) does it go BACK to Council and then on to National. 

 

I have a suspicion that the merit badges "earned" of this young man's were either NOT signed by a legal mb counselor or not entered correctly into his Scout records. If they HAD, the discrepancy would have been caught a long time ago. There's no doubt that some adults let this boy down, either through laziness, ignorance, or sloppiness. Or a combination of all three. I had a SM just two weeks ago expect me to give an extension to one of his Scouts because "well, he's in track, and he's busy" Yeah, right. He's had 7 years to get this done. No, I won't sign an Eagle project proposal for something that will take all of 30 minutes. The rule is: does it show leadership? I had a young man (in my troop no less!) want to "put up a few fliers and see if anyone wants to do a chess tournament"!!!! Again, nope.  Routine maintenance of painting graffiti on your grandma's fence isn't going to cut it. And getting your bishop to write me nasty grams won't make any difference. The camp director (a dear friend) can call me to see if a boy can work on camp property. Nope. It can't benefit BSA.

 

I had a SM try to bully me into accepting a project that the boy had not gotten approval for. First off, it was a blood drive, which here means, one call, hang a few posters, done. The hospital does it all. No leadership shown. The parents tried to claim the disability route. BSA is clear that ADHD or something similar that merely means that the boy will have to take longer to accomplish tasks is not a reason for a disability accommodation.

 

As to the previously mentioned SM's call, I visited with him, and clarified a number of things (he's new), and after suggesting a possible project or two, I finished the conversation by saying that I needed to talk to THE BOY. I believe he aged out over the weekend, never having contacted me. 

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As to the scrutiny on mbs, it is done at the Council level. When a young man's Eagle work is completed, it is usually checked over by the District Advancement (here, that would be me) to catch errors before it goes to Council. At that level, each page is gone over, each date is checked, etc. In all my years of doing this, only ONE time have I had a book go through with no corrections. It's easy to mess up on length of time for a Position of Responsibility, etc. Only once every thing is verified, does it go for the Eagle Board of Review. Once the Eagle Board has met (and signed a zillion more places) does it go BACK to Council and then on to National. 

 

I have a suspicion that the merit badges "earned" of this young man's were either NOT signed by a legal mb counselor or not entered correctly into his Scout records. If they HAD, the discrepancy would have been caught a long time ago. There's no doubt that some adults let this boy down, either through laziness, ignorance, or sloppiness. Or a combination of all three. I had a SM just two weeks ago expect me to give an extension to one of his Scouts because "well, he's in track, and he's busy" Yeah, right. He's had 7 years to get this done. No, I won't sign an Eagle project proposal for something that will take all of 30 minutes. The rule is: does it show leadership? I had a young man (in my troop no less!) want to "put up a few fliers and see if anyone wants to do a chess tournament"!!!! Again, nope.  Routine maintenance of painting graffiti on your grandma's fence isn't going to cut it. And getting your bishop to write me nasty grams won't make any difference. The camp director (a dear friend) can call me to see if a boy can work on camp property. Nope. It can't benefit BSA.

 

I had a SM try to bully me into accepting a project that the boy had not gotten approval for. First off, it was a blood drive, which here means, one call, hang a few posters, done. The hospital does it all. No leadership shown. The parents tried to claim the disability route. BSA is clear that ADHD or something similar that merely means that the boy will have to take longer to accomplish tasks is not a reason for a disability accommodation.

 

As to the previously mentioned SM's call, I visited with him, and clarified a number of things (he's new), and after suggesting a possible project or two, I finished the conversation by saying that I needed to talk to THE BOY. I believe he aged out over the weekend, never having contacted me. 

 

I'm confused how the bolded fits with "the idea must be the boy's".  

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Margaret

 

I'm still confused with how what you describe fits with what the article describes.  You describe a variety of steps that must be taken before the project is approved by the council, but in this case it seems that the project was approved by council.  So, either council felt that he met the requirements, or council didn't do their job.  Then National rejected it, within 24 hours.  So, my question is still, how closely does National (not council) usually scrutinize applications?  Do they look at everyone's application within 24 hours?  Do they redo the work that the council did, or take the council's word?

 

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I don't tell the boy what I think he must do. I do have a list in the back of my mind, of what might be needed in the community. So, I might say, "I wonder if the social services people need more kid backpacks for kids put into foster care?" "I think the observatory might have a project or two." "You're interested in gardening. I wonder if the food pantry people might have a need." "You like animals. Any possibility with the new dog shelter?" I often suggest to a boy that they look through the very cool Eagle showcase: https://eagleprojects.boyslife.org/ for the sparking of ideas. The best projects are the ones that the boy has a connection to--maybe a friend who is a foster child, or dad is a firefighter, or, as in the case of my ds, getting injured at the town's ski hill due to outdated facilities. That's different than saying, "Here's what *I* think you should do." I throw out ideas, and usually, the boy goes, "Cool!" It's a process. I might say, "Hey, there's this fellow at city planning office who might help you. He's an Eagle Scout! You might talk to Mr. So-and-so. He might be a resource." What DOESN'T work well is dad saying, "Here's your project." We've had some great ones over the years. I have a young man right now in Finland, gathering ideas for a project over there. I had to read up how to go about dealing with the paperwork. I had a boy last year who had moved, but kept his registration in CO as he wanted to Eagle from his long-time troop. I had a young man who figured out as a Cub what he wanted to do--it was a massive project, taking over 800 hours, but was well received. 

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How can merit badges be awarded by the parents? Don’t official Boy Scout leaders do this? I doubt you can sign off your own stuff and just purchase your own badgers. Someone “awarded†them to him in a ceremony of some kind. It seems odd to devote resources to scrutinizing old badges and revoking them.

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I don't tell the boy what I think he must do. I do have a list in the back of my mind, of what might be needed in the community. So, I might say, "I wonder if the social services people need more kid backpacks for kids put into foster care?" "I think the observatory might have a project or two." "You're interested in gardening. I wonder if the food pantry people might have a need." "You like animals. Any possibility with the new dog shelter?" I often suggest to a boy that they look through the very cool Eagle showcase: https://eagleprojects.boyslife.org/ for the sparking of ideas. The best projects are the ones that the boy has a connection to--maybe a friend who is a foster child, or dad is a firefighter, or, as in the case of my ds, getting injured at the town's ski hill due to outdated facilities. That's different than saying, "Here's what *I* think you should do." I throw out ideas, and usually, the boy goes, "Cool!" It's a process. I might say, "Hey, there's this fellow at city planning office who might help you. He's an Eagle Scout! You might talk to Mr. So-and-so. He might be a resource." What DOESN'T work well is dad saying, "Here's your project." We've had some great ones over the years. I have a young man right now in Finland, gathering ideas for a project over there. I had to read up how to go about dealing with the paperwork. I had a boy last year who had moved, but kept his registration in CO as he wanted to Eagle from his long-time troop. I had a young man who figured out as a Cub what he wanted to do--it was a massive project, taking over 800 hours, but was well received. 

 

My experience, is that often times kids with significant, visible disabilities (like Down syndrome), are held to higher standards than others.  So, if a child without a visible disability has that conversation with you, and ends up growing food in a garden for the food pantry, they still get credit for the idea.  But a child with Down syndrome who has a similar conversation, with reasonable accommodations like photos to give context to the conversation, or an adult to drive him to the food pantry so he can ask what they need, is accused of not thinking of their own idea. 

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Margaret

 

I'm still confused with how what you describe fits with what the article describes.  You describe a variety of steps that must be taken before the project is approved by the council, but in this case it seems that the project was approved by council.  So, either council felt that he met the requirements, or council didn't do their job.  Then National rejected it, within 24 hours.  So, my question is still, how closely does National (not council) usually scrutinize applications?  Do they look at everyone's application within 24 hours?  Do they redo the work that the council did, or take the council's word?

 

 

I hate to say it, but I find it hard to believe that National rejected it in 24 hours. First off, they simply don't look at them that fast. National doesn't review every step (how could they?) so something is fishy there. Here's what National receives: https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/512-728_wb_fillable.pdf Possibly the records listed were not actually recorded, in which case, Council has a problem. It's obvious from the article that the parents have not familiarized themselves with the entire disability process, so I think there's some back story we're not getting. I hope the boy's records are straightened out. There IS a process to follow (of course there is--it's BSA!)  for Eagle under disputed circumstances. 

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How can merit badges be awarded by the parents? Don’t official Boy Scout leaders do this? I doubt you can sign off your own stuff and just purchase your own badgers. Someone “awarded†them to him in a ceremony of some kind. It seems odd to devote resources to scrutinizing old badges and revoking them.

 

 

A boy can earn a mb from his parents IF the parent is a registered mb counselor. And there is a limit on the number that a person can counsel. So, my ds earned his Snowsports mb from his dad as dad was a ski patrolman for years. He earned his Horsemanship from his sister, as sister showed dressage all over the nation, and was registered. He then turned in his blue cards, and the Advancement Chair ordered the badges. In order to be able to purchase those mbs, the record keeping had to be done at Council. Yes, you can get ahold of mbs quite easily--check ebay. That's why, in order to get awarded your Eagle, many years later, if you never got it because of say, WWII, you have to have the records, NOT the badges. 

 

SOMEONE let this boy down--either the troop, or Council. I doubt we ever hear the final details. 

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I don't know much about the Scouts, but was there really no other option for how to handle this beside invalidating all of the merit badges he had already done?

 

I thought that this quote was interesting: "After years of being told their son couldn’t do things other kids could, and knowing he’d never achieve many rites of passage within the LDS Church, such as going on a proselytizing mission, the Blythes said scouting appeared to be one of the few things he could do."

 

My own (broader) religious community, which places a huge emphasis on study and intellectual achievement, has struggled with how to truly include persons with disabilities, especially developmental disabilities.  I feel like we're making progress, but it's a process.  

 

 

 

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I hate to say it, but I find it hard to believe that National rejected it in 24 hours. First off, they simply don't look at them that fast. National doesn't review every step (how could they?) so something is fishy there. Here's what National receives: https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/512-728_wb_fillable.pdf Possibly the records listed were not actually recorded, in which case, Council has a problem. It's obvious from the article that the parents have not familiarized themselves with the entire disability process, so I think there's some back story we're not getting. I hope the boy's records are straightened out. There IS a process to follow (of course there is--it's BSA!)  for Eagle under disputed circumstances. 

 

It seems that errors were made, by the Council and/or the leader, but I don't see how the parents are at fault here.

 

Wouldn't it be the scout master's responsibility for knowing the disability process and guiding the parents through it, not the parent's responsibility for familiarizing themselves with the process? 

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Parents fault, leaders fault, counselors fault, whoever.

 

Taking back the badges from the kid is wrong. I can understand not allowing him to continue with the eagle award. But letting a kid with disabilities keep the badges he worked for and believed he earned hurts no one. Taking them away only hurts the kid. The person who screwed up in awarding the badges isn’t losing anything.

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Ok, I really hate to say it, but the fact that it is an LDS group makes me suspect the leaders didn't know what they were doing. Now, that is more from personal experience (which is with Scouts Canada).

 

I am sure that there are some fine LDS groups out there. But I have been a leader for 25 years in Scouts Canada, both in LDS groups and community ones. Most leaders in LDS groups, from what I have seen, never chose to be a leader, have difficulty knowing what training is needed, and often stay apart from the rest of the scouting community. I have banged my head at group committee meetings telling leaders that they can't just do x because it is not allowed.

 

Anyway... I may be totally off base, but I suspect the troop did not follow the correct proceedures or get the special needs training mentioned above.

 

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My experience, is that often times kids with significant, visible disabilities (like Down syndrome), are held to higher standards than others.  So, if a child without a visible disability has that conversation with you, and ends up growing food in a garden for the food pantry, they still get credit for the idea.  But a child with Down syndrome who has a similar conversation, with reasonable accommodations like photos to give context to the conversation, or an adult to drive him to the food pantry so he can ask what they need, is accused of not thinking of their own idea. 

 

 

That certainly hasn't been my experience here. If a boy says that he got an idea from another project, that's fine. What is NOT fine is dad presenting the project, whether a disability or no. In the case of the blood drive boy, he could not answer a single question I would ask. "When was the drive held?" and he would have to ask mom. "How many people came?" and he would have to ask mom. "Who did you work with (called the beneficiary)?" and he hadn't a clue. He simply had NOT done the project. He hadn't had the requisite signatures beforehand anyway (5 are required just to begin!) A boy must plan and execute, showing leadership (he can't do all the work himself). He certainly can do a project requiring being driven to meetings. We had a cool project down valley. The troop tore out miles of invasive shrubs. Of course the troop couldn't run the chainsaws, but the Eagle candidate acted as he foreman, leading the project. His dad just happened to be in charge of a firefighting hotshot crew--the project finished up by burning all the slash piles. The boy, of course, was not lighting piles on fire, but was the general contractor as it were. But HE had to keep the whole thing going. In the case of a boy and the garden--can the boy motivate the other Scouts to plant, water, and weed? Is Is HE calling the food pantry to say that he has 20 lbs of zucchini that week? Is HE making the calls to find out what produce to plant? I question any boy's leadership if someone else is speaking for him. 

 

btw, we ended up doing the Eagle Board for the invasive weed project on Skype, as the boy ended up against the 3 months after his birthday to get the Board done. He got called out on the big AZ fires last year. It was REALLY cool--he was sitting against a fire truck, at his staging area, having his Board!

 

I'm sure most folks are not familiar with the scope of an Eagle project. Here is the workbook: https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/512-927_fillable.pdf  That is only ONE piece of the Eagle notebook. As someone pointed out earlier--access is there, success is not guaranteed. There are a lot of "Life for life Scouts" out there, boys who never quite finished. That doesn't mean they didn't learn a great deal on their Scouting path. 

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There are two more other possible scenarios for the entire kerfuffle--was the boy actually registered? It happens sometimes--it happened here. I kept pointing out to a boy and his mom that he had not actually turned in the application. She kept blowing me off, saying he'd turned it in. Well, everyone else got a particular mb, but not her ds. I suggested he look in his backpack (as I had suggested many times over) for the app. Sure enough, there it was! I solved the problem, but it was extra work on my part. 

 

Another possibility: is the troop actually Chartered? We had a boy here move to TX. They visited the closest troop, but reported it was in shambles: boys getting Camping mbs w/o camping, etc. I finally looked it up--they hadn't re-Chartered the year before! So, of course, no advancement was actually happening. It's unlikely that would happen in an LDS troop, but it could. 

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Ok, I really hate to say it, but the fact that it is an LDS group makes me suspect the leaders didn't know what they were doing. Now, that is more from personal experience (which is with Scouts Canada).

 

I am sure that there are some fine LDS groups out there. But I have been a leader for 25 years in Scouts Canada, both in LDS groups and community ones. Most leaders in LDS groups, from what I have seen, never chose to be a leader, have difficulty knowing what training is needed, and often stay apart from the rest of the scouting community. I have banged my head at group committee meetings telling leaders that they can't just do x because it is not allowed.

 

Anyway... I may be totally off base, but I suspect the troop did not follow the correct proceedures or get the special needs training mentioned above.

 

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I am LDS and I can say that as in any group, some leaders are better than others. I happen to have two boys--one in a community troop and one in a church troop so I actually see both sides. For a while the community troop was definitely superior--number of boys, activities, leaders. Everyone was properly trained and you could tell that things were running really well. At the same time, the LDS troop was struggling. Strangely enough in the years since then, things have switched. I have my opinions on why, but training was part of it.

 

Trained leaders are better--I got trained when I was chosen to be a Cub leader many years ago and knew a lot more than some of the other leaders. I can say though, the other leaders at the training avoided me once they discovered that I was LDS (kind of funny since we were meeting in my church building). There is a huge disconnect between the community leaders and the LDS leaders and it comes from both sides.

 

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