Reintegrating a scout after a big problem

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Reintegrating a scout after a big problem

Postby Fred Johnson » Sun Mar 25, 2012 5:27 pm

This weekend was a first for us. We had to send a brand new eleven year old scout home. The scout significantly crossed the line with what he said as he blew up at scouts, leaders and his mother. It was far beyond the line. I knew he had a known emotional disorder but did not realize the significance.

Part of me wants to develop a plan to welcome him back to the troop. The other part of me says that scouts often face stressful situations (storms, heat, food, people, ...) and if he was triggered during a new scout weekend, then there are sure to be many more situations to come.

We know his mother very well. She's a wonderful person. I'm sure we will work through it with her. But, any helpful advice would be welcome. I'm just not sure how much to help versus how much to protect the troop. In the past, we've tried to help other boys who we thought would really benefit from scouting, but it ended up driving scouts away.

Any helpful advice would be welcome.
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Re: Reintegrating a scout after a big problem

Postby wagionvigil » Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:46 pm

I am a hard ass. Do not bring him back. You will regret it. you will loose others because of him for one!
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Re: Reintegrating a scout after a big problem

Postby FrankJ » Sun Mar 25, 2012 7:31 pm

Impossible question to answer on the internet. Some questions to ask yourself though. One time event? New scout maybe just had a bad day. Most of us would look pretty bad if judged on the singularity. Important question. Does the scout really want to be there? What kind of resources do you have. Is the scout going to take too many of them? Discuss with the parent just what kind of emotional problem the scout has & if it will be a danger to him or the troop.
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Re: Reintegrating a scout after a big problem

Postby wagionvigil » Sun Mar 25, 2012 7:41 pm

The reason I said what i said was we had this problem and gave the young man a second chance. It ended badly.
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Re: Reintegrating a scout after a big problem

Postby ismellbacon » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:18 am

Pray on it.

If this is the first incident, I would be willing to put forth the effort to try to make it work out. He should know that he is on probation. But, if he does not want to be there, then he should not be made to come... that is unhealthy for everyone.

If you give him another chance and he fails to comply... then he should not come back. Learning experience for everyone.

If you give him another chance and he makes it... then you have helped him for the rest of his life.

Question: Does your unit give a "new scout briefing" to scouts and parents? Like, "we will not tolerate this, this, and this"...

:D
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Re: Reintegrating a scout after a big problem

Postby Quailman » Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:44 am

Does your troop have a process for handling discipline problems that involves the PLC? Regardless of what the consequences are, they will have a bigger impact im it's handled by the youth leadership. And as far as determining what the consequences are, the boys are pretty good about coming up with appropriate measures.
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Re: Reintegrating a scout after a big problem

Postby RWSmith » Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:23 pm

See also: Scouting for Youth with Disabilities Manual, No. 34059

NOTE: This is a 2.91 MB PDF file (162 pgs!)... it will be slow loading (because National's bandwidth, uh, well, sucks). So, be patient. :wink:
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Re: Reintegrating a scout after a big problem

Postby Fred Johnson » Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:42 pm

Thank you EVERYONE!

RWSMITH - Thank you. I didn't know about that manual. That will be very helpful. Page 72 onward deals with it. It's alot to consume but it's at least something

QUAILMAN - I can see having the PLC deal with fighting, swearing, ditching responsibilities, stealing and maybe even drug use. But when it raises to such a critical level, do you still route it through the PLC? I don't know how they could respond without reading the health form, talking with the mother and understanding the detailed diagnosis and past history.
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Re: Reintegrating a scout after a big problem

Postby lambeausam » Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:51 am

If this young man has a diagnosed disability, I would really try to work with him and his family. Since you have an established relationship with the mother, have a conference with her and talk about the activities, settings, etc. that the scout will be exposed to. Ask her if the SPL can sit in on the meeting. If the scout has an IEP or 504 plan at school, ask the mother if she is willing to share the accomodations the school uses. He may require a full-time adult attendant, i.e. parent. Talk about what the attendant and troop responsbilities would be for the scheduled activities. Identify "safe zones" that the scout can retreat to when he feels disregulated. Create a progressional plan. If overnight activities seem to be too taxing, offer to have the scout attend camp during the day and return home for the evening.

I understand Jerry's hesitation at allowing a second chance and respect his suggestion. However, there is a significant difference between a scout with issues related to dx'd disabilities and a scout that is just ill-behaved. Scouts with special needs can function in most traditional troop settings as long as there is a good plan. From your post, it appears that the troop was not aware of the level of needs that the scout has. Did you feel like you didn't have a full understanding of this scout's needs prior to the event? If so, that was a disservice to you and the other troop members.
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Re: Reintegrating a scout after a big problem

Postby wagionvigil » Wed Apr 04, 2012 2:07 pm

Don't get me started on IEP's. They are one reason I retired when I did. But very recently I was talking to a guidance councilor who also was in charge of the musical I was playing in. A young lady auditioned for a part she failed to get the part she wanted so mom filed a complaint with the DOE in PA. The principal asked the adviser to give her something in the musical which she did. The young lady failed to make any rehearsals etc. but insisted she was still going to be in said musical. The adviser and the principal said no she was not. Mom said well next year we will adjust her IEP so this will not happen. The district will give in to save the tax payers a ton of money to defend their position. If this happens the adviser is walking away from doing musicals after 25 years of great music. So Don't get me started. I can list 100 just like this.
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Re: Reintegrating a scout after a big problem

Postby Fred Johnson » Wed Apr 04, 2012 3:15 pm

Thank you to everyone.

To follow up, this is what we did.

- Ran a "controlled" discussion at the next committee meeting. Tried to really keep the discussion focused as I've seen these discussion take hours and be as damaging as the original situation. It took about 15 minutes and we quickly had decision points.

- Unit leaders (SM, ASMs, committee members, etc) were very supportive. We've dealt with scout behavior before, but this one might be new to most of us. But since ... The scout wants to be a scout and the parent is willing to help and be on all camp outs. And we have a few people experienced with such disorders, we decided to give the scout chances (not a single chance, we know we will have issues again, that's the disorder)

- I had a long discussion with the parent addressing our hard boundaries (threatens other, threatens his parent(s), threatens himself) and also asking about how we can work together to provide the needed support and accomodations. Also, we invited the scout to the next troop meeting. Also, mentioned to the parent to the parent that everyone will be wondering what happened. Though we are not requiring it, it would help if the scout gave a very brief "I'm sorry" statement.

- The scout showed up at the next meeting and on his own apologized and then participated in the rest of the meeting.

My big fear is that I've seen emotional behavior disorders before. Situations can get ugly. We will need to be observant and intercede in advance if needed.
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Re: Reintegrating a scout after a big problem

Postby fritz1255 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:02 pm

Good luck! Our experience with scouts that have behavior issues has not been good - the other scouts stop coming to meetings and especially campouts if they know the kid will be there. Hope it works out!
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Re: Reintegrating a scout after a big problem

Postby smtroop168 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:43 pm

fritz..just curious..why post to this after 9 months?
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Re: Reintegrating a scout after a big problem

Postby Fred Johnson » Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:09 pm

Just to provide an update. We've had more issues with this scout and I had a long heart to heart with the mother. She is thinking about transfering the scout to another troop as he's burnt his bridges with all our scouts. If he continues in our troop, I've got to document what's happened and give him a final warning (i.e. last chance). From what I've seen, he'll make another bad mistake. I think one reason for transfering is to avoid the results of removing him from the troop.

- The sad part is we've lost scouts. Those adults who were most vocal that the kid should stay even had their kids leave. Kids get scared of being outdoors and on their own. This kid can be scary to others and was a final straw.

- The sadest part is a good good friend and who I hoped would be our next scoutmaster let his son choose his troop. The result was a different troop ... primarily because of this scout.

I'm very sad about the whole situation and a little upset with the mother. I think it comes down troops can adjust for disabilities of all types, but scouting is NOT a treatment program for major behavior disorders.
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Re: Reintegrating a scout after a big problem

Postby cballman » Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:07 am

To quote a famous movie "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one" But then again sometimes "The needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many"


Having been involved in this area before within our troop I understand what you have went through. We for the most part believe that a child with the type of behaviour can be fixed but at what expense? How many other kids and parents have left the troop? So if this behaviour still exist and other kids are leaving then sometimes the problem child must be removed so that the troop can grow and flourish. Yes it is a hard thing to do but if the safety of other children is a problem then their is no problem.
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