Kicked out of Brownies? same as special needs post - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 08-19-2003, 11:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My 8 yr old dd has Pervasive Developmental Disorder, think "autism lite" She is in regular school, is in advanced reading and math classes. She attends weekly dance classes and has performed in recitals.Socially, she is immature and has great difficulty recognizing social cues. While that makes her "odd", it's not lke she's setting cats on fire.
Yesterday, we received an e-mail saying the troop leaders want to meet with DH and I regarding dd and "Girl Scouts". Alarm bells went off. When dh called they were evasive. When asked point blank if this had to do with behaviour, they reluctantly said "yes" , but wouldn't elaborate. The official meeting is Sat., but it sounds like they are wanting to kick dd out of her Brownie troop of 2 years.

We have NEVER in 2 years received a note, a phone call, a comment on any negative behavior. Now this 2 weeks before the 1st meeting of the "season????!!! Can they do this? Is this covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act? Would they do this if dd had an "obvious" disability like Down's Syndrome or Cerebral Palsy?

Now we don't want to keep dd in that troop where she isn't wanted..but how can we tell our dd who LOVES Girl Scouts, that they didn't want her?


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#2 of 21 Old 08-19-2003, 11:58 AM
 
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Do they know she is special needs? If they do, call you local chapter and talk to them about the situation. I do believe they can put some limits on if your daughter can attend (like require you or your dh to be at every meeting) but not kick you out. I might be wrong but that is the feel I get at our local chapter.
I am so sorry they are doing this.

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#3 of 21 Old 08-19-2003, 08:12 PM
 
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Wow... I thought that the girl scouts prided themselves on their inclusiveness and the importance of diversity (unlike the boy scouts). I don't know anything about how the law might apply, but maybe you could talk to them about her Pervasive Developmental Disorder within the framework of diversity?? Perhaps you could offer to talk to the other girls (and/or have your daughter talk, depending on her ability) about Pervasive Developmental Disorder (and what it does and does not affect, and how it makes her special). I would think that's the sort of thing they might do with a more obvious disability (and I'd be fully prepared to point that out to them), and it might be even more important/useful in a situation like your daughter's.

I guess I'd probably wait and see what her troop leaders have to say before you do too much else, but I wouldn't stop with the troop leaders if they try to kick her out--I'd definitely call the local chapter on up to the national office if they try to kick her out without even trying to find ways to work with you and her.

Please keep us posted--I'm sure that lots of us former girl scouts would be happy to write letters if that would be helpful
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#4 of 21 Old 08-19-2003, 08:29 PM
 
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You may be getting ahead of yourself. Go to the meeting with an open mind. They may have some valid concerns and truly just want to discuss them with you and figure out how to handle your daughters situation in a way that will be most beneficial to everyone. In fact you might want to simply start thinking of the meeting in THAT light and go in, full of enthusiasm about working with the leaders towards your daughters continued success in their troop. If you go in with a lot of energy and set a positive tone the meeting could really go your way. Social stuff with girls can get really complex and kind of ugly at early ages. Maybe they just want to air some things out before problems arise.

Am I too much of a Pollyanna?
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#5 of 21 Old 08-20-2003, 12:41 AM
 
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Volunteering to be an assistant scout leader might alleviate any concerns. If they do want to boot her, contact the council, because the troop leaders have to have a REALLY good reason to kick a girl out of the troop. A disability certainly doesn't fall in that category and if the reason for them wanting her out is tied to her disability, they're definitely overstepping their bounds.

You may be able to simply put her in a different troop. And if they do kick her out, I'd contact the parents of the other children in the troop and let them know about it, see if any of them would like to move their child to another troop as well (in which case then your daughter would have a few friends in the new troop.) The leaders may quickly find themselves without a troop if they act in a discriminatory fashion.

When I was an older scout I voluntarily left a troop because I didn't like the leader. My mother was a troop leader for years, she never would have kicked a kid out because of a disability, though she might have asked the parent(s) to become more involved if she didn't think she and her existing assistants were up to dealing with the special needs involved.

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#6 of 21 Old 08-20-2003, 10:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks all. We are doing our best to go in to this as positive as possible. What can we do to help dd have a good scouting experience. ..What really "got" us is the fact she has been in this troop for 2 years and we have never heard anything with regards to her behaviour! Either my dh or I bring her to the mtgs and pick her up. We stay and chat with the leaders, are with dd during off site things (pizza parties, skating etc.) So why wasn't something said earlier? We were just really blindsided and we feel it is being handled poorly.
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#7 of 21 Old 08-20-2003, 12:54 PM
 
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Maybe you weren't notified earlier because it is a recent issue? I wouldn't assume it's something that's been festering for 2 years.
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#8 of 21 Old 08-20-2003, 03:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The last GS meeting was at the end of April, so why wait until 2 weeks before the new season? If the behavior(s) are bad enough to warrant the leaders meeting with the "home office" and then an official mtg with us, .....why the heck weren't they mentioned before..like in April or May if she was a problem.

Thanks for everyone's responses by the way! I do appreciate them.
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#9 of 21 Old 08-20-2003, 04:29 PM
 
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I too would go into the meeting with an open mind and a willingness to be extra-helpful if that's what they ask. Then, see where it goes from there.

I don't know anything about the structure of Girl Scouts, but I would definitely go "higher up" than the leader if they want to exclude your daughter if at all possible. If that doesn't work, search for a different troop or maybe a different organization (e.g. Camp Fire or YMCA programs which are similar).

Unfortunately, the law (Amer. w/ Disib. or other) probably isn't much help here. As I understand it, the Boy Scouts have proved that they are a private club and thus can exclude anyone they want to. THe same cases would apply to Girl Scouts -- they can discriminate at will. Just like golf clubs can bar women and country clubs can bar African Americans.

Good luck and I hope it all works out.
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#10 of 21 Old 08-20-2003, 05:00 PM
 
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Nankay, I see why you're worried, but try not to over-react until you've heard what the leaders have to say. It might be much milder than you're expecting! Maybe they've just realized that they haven't been meeting your daughter's needs as well as they might, and they want to do better.

Here's an article on the Girl Scouts' policy about disabled girls. It includes some resources that might be helpful to your daughter's leaders.

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#11 of 21 Old 08-27-2003, 02:23 PM
 
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Has this meeting happened?

please give us the update.

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#12 of 21 Old 09-01-2003, 11:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am soo sorry in not posting an update.
Yes we had the meeting--3 troop leaders and a lady from the "head office".Lots was said but it boiled down to this: According to the leaders,DD 'wanders" while attending mtgs (at a leaders home) and they are "worried" that she will wander away and get lost when they are out doing something off site. "it only takes a second for someone to get lost in the woods". My response is DD attends all sorts of "normal" things--school, dance, swimming-and she doesn't "wander". Frankly I am a little leery that 3 adult women cannot keep track of 7 girls in a regular sized house. What, they look up and DD is just "gone?" Hmm. The one off site thing they did this year, I went "secretly" and watched from a distance--a cookie sale at a big mall. DD was perfect..she greeted people, made change, took people's orders etc. certainly never wandered!When I pointed this out, the leaders responded, "Oh she was sleepy that day".:
Anyway, the head office lady said that they would like to have dh or I attend mtgs at least in the beginning, to see dd settle in. The troop leader interrupted and said, "NO! EVERY MEETING!" , my dh said, "Well, you mean a parent..I can come, right?" To which they flat out rejected my dh!! "No we're all moms and we would feel more comfortable with MOM coming" So, just like that, they cut off their strongest supporter--My dh was willing to compromise, but this really hurt him.
I said, "Well, I think we're just going to take a little break from Scouting this year and concentrate on other activites instead." and left the table. The other ladies scrambled saying, "Oh no, we don't want THAT!" yeah right. Like I said, A LOT was said, and maybe you had to be there, but it was pretty evident they really didn't want dd there. DH is much calmer in situations such as these and even he had a bad taste in his mouth. I feel if "wandering " were really the issue, a reasonable requirement would be to have ONE of us with dd everytime they went off site--swimming, cookie sales whatever.
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#13 of 21 Old 09-02-2003, 01:14 AM
 
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In other words they are looking for 7 girls who can entertain themselves with little to no supervision......

My mom was my troop leader for about 6 years and I know it is hard work...but she had a group of 15 and no helper and never had a problem with any of them "wadering" and several of them had behavior issues (one quite severe...)

I'm sorry your dd has to put up with ppl like that....

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#14 of 21 Old 09-02-2003, 11:46 AM
 
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I'm sorry the leaders are being so unreasonable! You're right, 3 adults to 7 girls is enough that they should be able to keep track of her. Their real problem must be something else, maybe a fear that her "wandering" in the leader's home means snooping in the family's things? (I used to do that and didn't realize it was socially unacceptable until someone sat me down and told me that firmly--and I don't have a developmental disorder; I'm just the curious type!) Your descriptions of their behavior sound like there's something going on that they're not willing to level w/you about. This business of a dad not being welcome is weird, too, and not appropriate for Girl Scouts.

I think you are wise to follow your instinct and leave this troop. Since your daughter loves Girl Scouts, look for another troop or start one yourself!

The other option is to attend every meeting w/her as they've requested and see for yourself what goes on there. It sounds like something's off, and I'd be leery of sending my child there alone.

Maybe their agenda is that they really want you, Nankay, to be involved w/the troop??

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#15 of 21 Old 09-02-2003, 12:43 PM
 
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I am new here, my first time reading and posting. Please contact your local Girl Scout Council office. They need to know that this has happened.

I am sorry you have had to go through this, I did not read the replys to your message so please forgive me if I have repeated what others have said.

Girl Scouts do not turn away ANY GIRL who wants to join. No matter her disability.

Good Luck~

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#16 of 21 Old 09-02-2003, 03:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh the local office knows all about it. One of the people was there at the mtg. and had already discussed alll this with the leaders before the mtg.

It's a small town so I'm sure word has gotten out to the other leaders already, so joining a new troop might not help.Bah...I'm over it. I don't want to deal with them any more.
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#17 of 21 Old 09-05-2003, 09:04 AM
 
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Please take the time to tell the area council about this. They should not have allowed this to happen!!! GS do not discriminate - these leaders do - and you could prevent this from happening again. Leaving it like this seems like it was your dd's problem; which it clearly was not. Clearly, it was these leaders and the person from the "head office" (council or reg mngr?) I can promise you that GS of the USA would NOT like to hear this.

Is there another group? You don't have to stay within the same one. Each one is diff due to the leaders. My dd is with a group of betwn 13 -18 girls with 2-3 leaders and we never have a problem. I spoke to them abt this and they were very angry that this happened. They said the same thing as its-our-family, that they wanted a group to supervise themselves.

If it was my dd, knowing how much she loves it, I would find another troop. I'll bet the others do know and I'll bet some want to welcome her in....................give them the opportunity.


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#18 of 21 Old 09-05-2003, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not sure who to tell/write about this. The "head office" lady was from the Council hdqtrs--I assume she is in charge of our area. She is who I talked with over the phone when I first rec'd the e-mail and she already knew all about it. She was also the one who attended the mtg. Those of you in the know: who would you reccommend I write to? What would her title be?
I think maybe if we do go to another group, we will attend the 1st couple of mtgs and then let dd fly solo. Then offer one of us to help with "outings".

I think you're right about wanting the group to supervise themselves. Out of 7 girls 4 of them are children of the leaders. I felt a little leery of that to start with, but I let it go. Maybe I shouldn't have.

Thanks a bunch for all the replies!!!
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#19 of 21 Old 09-05-2003, 11:46 AM
 
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Nankay:

I did not want to respond after your post before last because I could feel it in your 'voice' that you were fatigued by this whole thing. And as you said, you were over it. Which I totally wanted to respect.
But now that Els 3 added her additional plea and you have been open to asking for more help.... I REALLY hope someone can guide you to the right people. I can't offer any help because it has been so long since I was even a girl scout and my ds is a boy and only 2..so, no current experience to share.

but my own thing is when I read this ...



Quote:
I went "secretly" and watched from a distance--a cookie sale at a big mall. DD was perfect..she greeted people, made change, took people's orders etc.

well, this made my heart ping. I just had this feeling that your dd was getting so much confidence and inner strength etc from these interactions and I hated to think it would be taken from her.

Please moms who know more, please help Nankay, if you can. maybe I can google some stuff....

by the way, I'm still heartsick my mother threw out my sash with all my badges. I got so much confidence from earning my badges.

guess I'm just sentimental.

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#20 of 21 Old 09-05-2003, 12:48 PM
 
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Thank YOU, Nankay!!

Even tho you are not obligated to, I am glad you have decided to let this be known. I will be happy to ask anything of my leaders that you wish. PM me.

Off the top of my head - what I would do.

Write a letter recapping the events up to and including the meeting. Send it to the head of the council. CC the person who attended the meeting. CC it also - OR - indicate a seperate letter to the National Council. I'll bet you get a fast response. I would also indicate that you are joining another troop - have that confirmed b4 you write.

Here is info on the council structure - scroll to bottom of page:

http://www.girlscouts.org/about/#partnership


Here is info about Iowa councils - don't know which you are:

http://www.girlscouts.org/councilfin...s.asp?STATE=IA


El
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#21 of 21 Old 09-06-2003, 11:24 AM
 
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Hello, OP. I only had time to read your posts and I’ve never had any real experience with Brownies but I just wanted to say that I think it totally sucks what these people are doing. Your daughter sounds really cool to me and I would welcome her in any group I was looking after. You and your husband sound great also and I think the Brownies group are missing out big time.

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