It appears that I’ll be waiting a while longer before I have some good news to report about the Boy Scouts of America. The latest headline the group has managed to garner is once again not exactly covering them in glory. A local troop in Utah recently had to inform the family of 15-year-old Logan Blythe, who has Down’s syndrome, that the scouting badges he had accumulated were no longer valid for his entry into the Eagle Scout program so he would not qualify for the group’s highest rank. This has led the boy’s father to sue the BSA… for one dollar.
Tell me, Boy Scouts of America… are you really just trying to get everyone to hate you now? (BBC)
A US father is suing after his son, who has Down’s syndrome and autism, was prevented from participating in the Boy Scouts’ highest programme.
The local Scout group had previously allowed 15-year-old Logan Blythe to perform modified tasks to gain badges, his father told the Salt Lake Tribune.
But the Boy Scouts of America say that Logan did not fulfill badge requirements and could not progress.
Logan’s father, Chad Blythe, is suing the Scouts for a nominal $1.
The local group where Logan is a member is the Utah National Parks Council, but you shouldn’t be blaming them for this mess. They were allowing Logan to participate fully and letting him earn the required badges through modified tasks which he could complete. It was only when they sent his forms to the national council of the BSA that they were informed that he would have to complete all of the required tasks the same as the rest of the scouts.
I understand that a lot of people make comparisons between the Boy Scouts and the military. (And one frequently does lead to the other.) But we’re not talking about some sort of credentialed program where people’s lives are going to be put on the line. If the boy could make his best effort to earn all the badges and address the subject matter within the limits of his abilities, then what in the world would be the harm in letting him finish?
The Boy Scouts have been on a real run of super public relations lately. First, it was the gay scouts issue, then they decided to let girls into the Boy Scouts (effectively gutting the Girl Scouts program). And now they’re going to essentially blacklist scouts with Down’s syndrome or any other mental or physical challenges which might require some special considerations when trying to earn merit badges. Will the next new badge you offer be for demonstrated dexterity while drowning puppies in a sack?
This isn’t an issue that requires different politics or government intervention. Just some common sense. Sadly, that seems to be lacking among the national leadership of the Boy Scouts these days.