Scouts in trouble
The 10th Harpenden Scout group were in hot water, costing their insurers £42K, following discrimination against a 12 year old mildly autistic boy. The case also said the group had infringed the boy's privacy.
The national Scout Association said: "... The handling of Ben's case was completely unacceptable...." and "... it was also looking at plans for mandatory training for all adult volunteers..."
The local group say the decision had been made [to supervise the child at events] for the health and safety of the whole pack.
A difficult case, but I can't help but feel the decision of the parents to resort to the law will have unintended consequences. Firstly privacy does not seem to be at issue, the boy has been named and pictured on the international and national BBC website, presumably with parental agreement. I'd also imagine the leaders of the local Scout Group will have been left feeling angered and sore. It certainly doesn't help to attract new volunteer leaders to the Scouts. I'd not be surprised to see 10th Harpenden close down.
I know kids with autism can be challenging. Our close family friends have two boys with noticeable autism, and I also have a couple of local autistic teenage boys who volunteer in my community orchard project.
However the decision of the parents, both lawyers, to resort to law to solve this situation does not help. There's plenty of other consultative mechanisms within the Scout Association which could have addressed the issue. I fear we're heading down the American path.
Re: Scouts in trouble
26-03-2018 7:51 AM - edited 26-03-2018 10:21 AM
Just a bunch of mini Masons.
At the age of twelve I was told I could not join because I did not go to the church they were affiliated to and guess what, I joined the Boy's Brigade with no questions asked.... and no idea they were strongly religious. They must have been desperate!
Always be wary of any group that wants you to dress up in regalia or wear a uniform.
... but on a serious note, this is a case of them being caught out by the changing times that demand we be all things to all people, so I do have some sympathy with the Scout group to be honest. Just imagine for one moment somebody with TS being accepted into the priesthood. Now that could be embarrassing.
Exclusion for whatever reason is fraught with complications and modern day legislation. We need to take stock, be sensible, and not be taken to the cleaners by some people looking to make a fast buck. Not always the case I know, but they are out there.
PS. Apparently both parents were lawyers? Hmm.
PPS. Just to add this in case folks think I am being harsh in saying about all things to all people. That link talks about 700,000 people - yep, 7000,000 people being diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum. I have sympathy for those with needs and disabilities but crikey, talk about attaching labels. It reminds me sometimes of that saying about not knowing you were poor until somebody told you.