School district mailed Boy Scout recruiting letter & it offends me - Mothering Forums
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Learning at School > School district mailed Boy Scout recruiting letter & it offends me
QueeTheBean's Avatar QueeTheBean 12:38 PM 03-11-2009
I received a letter from my school district--on district letterhead--recruiting my son for Cub Scouts. The letter was signed by the Asst. Superintendent and by the district BSA Director.

I am opposed to BSA due to their discriminatory practices against gay and atheist leaders, and am upset that my school tax dollars were used for this mailing--a tacit (at best) endorsement by the school.

For anyone out there who feels similarly, would you just let this go, or would you go on the warpath? If you chose to act, what would you do?

Evan&Anna's_Mom's Avatar Evan&Anna's_Mom 01:53 PM 03-11-2009
I assume this is a public school? In the US? Assuming yes, I would definitely raise a major objection. The BSA went all the way to the Supreme Court to be declared a private religious organization with the right to accept/deny membership according to their standards. Thus, to me this letter would be roughly the same as getting a letter that says "Go to XYZ church". Not appropriate for a school to do.

So, now what? I think I would start by writing a letter back to the district sup. explaining that you believe this is inappropriate and why. Copy the local news stations and include a copy of the original letter with it. In our community, that would cause major issues. But then, I'm in pretty liberal So. CA. Not sure if that would ring with other communities. If you feel really strongly, seems like a case for the ACLU or something.
QueeTheBean's Avatar QueeTheBean 06:33 PM 03-11-2009
Yes--public school in the US.

What I would like to find is a copy of BSA's actual policy re: gays and atheists as leaders. Been e-searching, but can't find it yet.
Callimom's Avatar Callimom 07:02 PM 03-11-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by QueeTheBean View Post
Yes--public school in the US.

What I would like to find is a copy of BSA's actual policy re: gays and atheists as leaders. Been e-searching, but can't find it yet.
Here on their FAQ pages is a summary.
I'd be going up one side of the administration and down the other if this kind of stuff came home with my kid.
good luck
hth
Karen
zoeyzoo's Avatar zoeyzoo 07:11 PM 03-11-2009
There was a story about them in San Diego. They have the city lease them a building for something like $1. Many people were furious over this because the city's tax dollars were going toward the organization and they are known to have a religious and anti-gay message. The building itself was in a part of town with a large gay population. It went into the courts but I don't know what came of it. You might want to do a google search to see what they did and the outcomes.
MCR's Avatar MCR 01:24 AM 03-12-2009
The Cub scouts have a booth every year at back to school nights here in our elementary school, where they recruit kids and parents. Until my Ds had been with them for a while I had no idea about their actual policies. We never saw or heard anything that would have made us want to leave, they were very inviting and seemed to include everyone in our area never heard any anti anyone rhetoric. We dropped out when Ds was about 9, from lack of interest.
spedteacher30's Avatar spedteacher30 01:32 AM 03-12-2009
i believe that NCLB has a specific exemption that BSA is allowed access to public schools, even if they are otherwise violating non-discrimination policies.

i would definitely express your concern to the superintendent, but, unless the BSA recruiting information is the only outside agency you are receiving information for, I don't think there is anything that can be done.

http://www.ed.gov/legislation/FedReg...1/032406a.html
QueeTheBean's Avatar QueeTheBean 12:40 PM 03-12-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by spedteacher30 View Post
i believe that NCLB has a specific exemption that BSA is allowed access to public schools, even if they are otherwise violating non-discrimination policies.
http://www.ed.gov/legislation/FedReg...1/032406a.html
That is very interesting . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by spedteacher30 View Post
i would definitely express your concern to the superintendent, but, unless the BSA recruiting information is the only outside agency you are receiving information for, I don't think there is anything that can be done.
The thing that really gets me is that I received this through the mail and on school district letterhead. --I've received handouts from Cub Scouts & other groups before (camps, karate school, etc) that were sent home with my kids--I don't really love any of that, but I can live with it-- whatever, just chunk it in the recycle bin. But that my district approved of and mailed these out (using my tax dollars, as an added insult)--that really p&sses me off.
QueeTheBean's Avatar QueeTheBean 12:45 PM 03-12-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
Here on their FAQ pages is a summary.
I'd be going up one side of the administration and down the other if this kind of stuff came home with my kid.
good luck
hth
Karen
Wow. I know that BSA is a private club, but reading that just about made me lose my breakfast. I had no idea that it was that blatant.
mojumi's Avatar mojumi 06:54 PM 03-13-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by QueeTheBean View Post
For anyone out there who feels similarly, would you just let this go, or would you go on the warpath? If you chose to act, what would you do?
I'm not sure I would pull out all the stops, but I would certainly be upset. A letter written directly to the authors of the letter (both of them) expressing my concerns might be sufficient. (In my mind.)

So many people don't seem to realize when they are overstepping boundaries that were created for a real purpose. Someone thinks "who could possibly object to the BSA? They do such good stuff, no one will mind ... " I think it is important to stand up and say "yes, someone does mind when the public school spends taxpayer money to recruit children for a private organization that discriminates on the basis of religion and sexual orientation, so please don't do it again!"

Just had the thought that the BSA may have paid for the mailing (happens with lobbyists all the time!) -- but the objection is not just the 'taxpayer dollars' but that a public school would be using its authority and credibility to recruit for a private and discriminatory organization.
lauren's Avatar lauren 01:53 AM 03-14-2009
I know my kid's school had to stop sending the stuff home with all the kids and do their own recruiting, so there is some precedent for separating it from school. Perhaps google BSA + litigation or separation from schools?
BCFD's Avatar BCFD 05:01 AM 03-14-2009
Are the Girl Scouts affiliated with any of this?
Ceili's Avatar Ceili 11:25 AM 03-14-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by BCFD View Post
Are the Girl Scouts affiliated with any of this?
No, the Girl Scouts is a completely different organization, they are not affiliated with the Boy Scouts in anyway.
BCFD's Avatar BCFD 06:38 PM 03-14-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceili View Post
No, the Girl Scouts is a completely different organization, they are not affiliated with the Boy Scouts in anyway.
Thanks!
rodsmommy's Avatar rodsmommy 10:37 PM 03-15-2009
My boys came home with a plethora of boy scout materials, pamplets and stickers and lists of fun activities! They were so upset when I said they could not join and I was so upset that this group was allowed to push themselves on my kids when they have such discriminatory policies. My oldest child is special needs and I had to call early the next morning to let his teacher and special ed teacher know that he was coming to school upset and why. I did not push it any farther, but thanks to this thread, I think I will write a more formal letter of complaint next time I am glad I read this thread, most people act like I'm some radical since I won't let my boys be scouts. They are allowed to join anything else, and they are now informed enough to know why.
Leta's Avatar Leta 12:22 AM 03-16-2009
So glad DSS is not into Boy Scouts... and relieved that I have DD and another DD on the way!

I was a Girl Scout and I loved it.

But, if I had boys who were interested, I couldn't pay dues to a homophobic organization, so I'm feeling like I dodged a bullet here.
momtoalexsarah's Avatar momtoalexsarah 04:30 PM 03-17-2009
Um what is so wrong with scouting? I don't get it, I was a leader for a cub and scout troup here for a number of years prior to having my kids. It was excellent, ours are co-ed here and as I said i just don't get the issue.
Evan&Anna's_Mom's Avatar Evan&Anna's_Mom 04:41 PM 03-17-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by momtoalexsarah View Post
Um what is so wrong with scouting? I don't get it, I was a leader for a cub and scout troup here for a number of years prior to having my kids. It was excellent, ours are co-ed here and as I said i just don't get the issue.
On a legal level, it is wrong for a public school district to encourage membership in any private club, especially one that not all of the members of the school community can belong to. It would be, IMHO, just as wrong for them to recruit for members of a, say, the tennis club down the street. Especially if that tennis club had some sort of membership requirement, like, say, a certain income level. FWIW, I don't think its wrong from schools to distribute information about groups, as long as there is a fair policy (all groups or none) and it is explicit that this is info provided by the group and the school itself is neutral about it.

On a personal level, I will not pay dues to an organization that proudly discriminates against groups of people -- in this case gays and atheists. Other people are welcome to belong to this club, but my family chooses to hold to different beliefs. I realize that this probably doesn't impact most of the actual meetings at all, but I won't pay money to the parent organization because it seems to validate their stance on these issues.

On a public level, the fact that BSA wants to have its cake (be a private group that can discriminate) and eat it too (have the benefit of public support for things like school property use and low-rent leases on public land). By all means they have the right to control their membership any way they want to -- they are a private club (they went to the supreme court to prove it). But if they choose to be a private discriminatory group, then they shouldn't also claim to be a "public good" and expect public support and benefits that other private groups don't enjoy.
lotusdebi's Avatar lotusdebi 04:51 PM 03-17-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by momtoalexsarah View Post
Um what is so wrong with scouting? I don't get it, I was a leader for a cub and scout troup here for a number of years prior to having my kids. It was excellent, ours are co-ed here and as I said i just don't get the issue.
My father was an eagle scout and a volunteer for my brother's cub scout group back in the 80's. When I was born, he called me his "first boy scout" even though I'm female. Scouting was a big part of his life, and he raised me and my brother to appreciate the lessons he learned during his years in Boy Scouts.
My father was also a strong atheist. My brother identified as an atheist as well when he was in Cub Scouts. These were not issues back then.

Now (and I recall this becoming a big issue in the early '90s), atheists and people who self-identify as Queer (i.e. homosexuals) are not permitted in Boy Scouts. I cannot support an organization that discriminates against people based on their religious beliefs or disbeliefs or their sexuality. I have two boys. I'd LOVE for them to join Boy Scouts. I like the lessons, crafts, camping trips, etc. that are a part of scouts. But, my children are some of those who are discriminated against by the Boy Scouts. My 6 year old self-identifies as an atheist. And, what if my children decided at some point that they were gay? What if they put in all those years, all that time and effort, just to be thrown out of a group they had invested so much into? Just be be declared immoral.
And what would I be teaching them, to let them join such a group? I'd be teaching them that it's okay to discriminate against people because of their beliefs regarding God or gods. That it's okay to discriminate against people because of their sexuality. Or even that it's okay to lie about themselves in order to participate in such a group. Those aren't the kinds of values I'm raising my children to hold dear.

I hope that BSA changes their policies and welcomes all boys rather than a select few. But, as long as they discriminate in such a hateful way, my family will not - in any way - participate in the Boy Scouts, and we will continue to speak out against them.
whiddle's Avatar whiddle 01:50 AM 03-22-2009
It would bother me to receive that but I'd probably just ignore it. I'm not into stirring up problems and they are likely to write of your opinion as "weird" or "liberal." If BSA is such a christian organization, why are they doing so much judging? BLAH.
Kristine233's Avatar Kristine233 03:32 AM 03-22-2009
I've heard the boyscout controversy but it just hasn't affected us much. My son did scouts for the first time this year and we are a very non-religious family. Even though I'm totally non-religious I still do scout meetings when its my turn to do the parent led nights. (to help the leaders some of us parents help lead nights and activities) And I'm definitely not homophobic either (very adamant about equal rights to marriage etc). But for us, boy scouts has been more about socialization and getting him involved with peers in our community. I figure we, as his parents, are in charge of setting the example for him when it comes to acceptance and morals. He'll be exposed to ideas that are very different than ours all his life and some on a very deep level. So I don't exclude him from things just because some parent office of the organization is not in line with my morals and ideas, its all part of the life experience and all learning opportunities.

But, in reference to the OP's concern about where the letter originated, I do agree with that. No matter how much I support or don't support (or whatever) an organization I think all of those should be kept separate from the schools. I'd call them on it and point out how offensive it could be to families within the district that they'd personally support any specific organization, and point out how sticky the whole thing could get. I think they used extremely bad judgment.
Treasuremapper's Avatar Treasuremapper 03:41 AM 03-22-2009
Personally, and I may be in the minority here, I would let it go. BSA is so deeply ingrained in the public school consciousness that you would run the risk of looking like a troublemaker and that could backfire.

There are so many things about the public schools in our area that displeased me or enraged me that I just looked at the situation and pulled my dd out after three months. I was pleasant, I was nonconfrontational, but we left. Trust me, I wanted to say a lot. I could go on for pages. But my daughters were friends and neighbors with those other kids. Therefore, after careful comsideration, I decided, for once in my life, to say nothing unless the matter directly affected our own daughter, ie, a substitute was unfair to our daughter, they would not let our daughter drink water at certain times, etc. I did not get into the basic underlying ideals of how they treated children.

But if you choose to take a stand on this issue, good luck.
mommy68's Avatar mommy68 10:49 AM 03-23-2009
I would raise a stink about it. But I have always disliked BSA anyway. I don't think any outside organization should be able to try and recruit children that way, especially through public schools. If it were a private school or a church then I'd understand more but I completely understand how you feel.
spedteacher30's Avatar spedteacher30 08:23 AM 01-09-2011

nevermind--the post I was responding to get deleted. smile.gif sorry this got bumped unnecessarily.


VisionaryMom's Avatar VisionaryMom 04:53 PM 01-09-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by Treasuremapper View Post

Personally, and I may be in the minority here, I would let it go. BSA is so deeply ingrained in the public school consciousness that you would run the risk of looking like a troublemaker and that could backfire.
 

Yes, it's just like not allowing African Americans to vote or eat in certain restaurants was so ingrained in Southern culture that people made the exact.same.argument that you're making. MLK's Letter from ********** Jail has some eloquent passages about how he was told to let things go or ask for only gradual change and that he viewed that as just as problematic as openly hostile people. Boy Scouts of America took a very public stand that they oppose homosexuality. Fine - then you shouldn't have a space in our schools either. And if you do, those of us who support equality *should* make a big deal out of it. Schools cannot simultaneously propose anti-bullying campaigns aimed at ending LGBTQ taunting at the same time they're supporting a group with an openly anti-gay stance. It's wrong. Yes, OP, I would make a big deal out of it.


wannabesmc's Avatar wannabesmc 07:34 PM 01-09-2011

Hey, I just wanted to put this out there. For those of you who like the idea of scouting but either have religious beliefs that would exclude you from BSA or just don't care to support an institution that is openly discriminatory there is another option. Take a look at www.spiralscouts.org. Totally non-discriminatory for any reason. THIS is the scouts that my kids will be joining someday.


Sue the Shrew's Avatar Sue the Shrew 05:18 AM 03-21-2012

Hi, I am a 12-year dedicated Scout Leader in Massachusetts and this too would offend me. I am sorry this was handled that way but please give the Scouting program a 'fighting' chance?  Cub Scouting offers your son a LOT of life skills and interpersonal skills that he won't get from school clubs or sports. Boy Scouting will give him skills he will use a lifetime; every Boy Scout merit badge is a potential 'career' he might choose some day--and there are 125 of them! I think your argument is justified.


whatsnextmom's Avatar whatsnextmom 08:59 AM 03-21-2012

"Campfire Boys and Girls" is another option. They do not discriminate against anyone. People think of Campfire as a girl's organization but they went co-ed decades ago. You can have all boy troops, all girl troops and co-ed troops. Great organization, great skill building.

 

I too would not have my son in Boy Scouts. Certainly, there are some wonderful people involved. We know several. However, all a boy has to come across is a single jerk who decides to kick them out and strip them from their merits. All the wonderful people in the organization couldn't protect them from the charter the organizations leaders supports.

 

Personally, I found it offensive when Boy Scout stuff came out in school once but I decided it wasn't a hill to die on. It was the ONLY year that the local district allowed them though.


jaam's Avatar jaam 09:37 AM 03-21-2012


Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

"Campfire Boys and Girls" is another option. They do not discriminate against anyone. People think of Campfire as a girl's organization but they went co-ed decades ago. You can have all boy troops, all girl troops and co-ed troops. Great organization, great skill building.

 

 



I was a girl scout, and also did Campfire and LOVED Campfire! It was so much more fun! It was pretty much 50/50 boy/girl and that was in about '85. Dd does girlscouts and loves it so we'll continue, but that has ds asking when he can do boyscouts, which I'd like to avoid. I don't think there's a Campfire group around here but this has me thinking maybe I need to look into starting one! 

 

As I side note, I had no idea it wasn't legal for private groups to advertise via public schools. Dd brings home little flyers ALL the time for stuff from her public school. Hmm, maybe it's different state-by-state?


JudiAU's Avatar JudiAU 01:11 PM 03-23-2012

I would go on the warpath. Tax dollars have no business supporting bigotry. Schools officials have no business supporting bigotry. If your area allows BSA to operate in their facilities, then the letter should have come from the BSA and paid at their expense.

 

There is no way, NO WAY I would allow them to solicit my child to join an organization that is not open to all students that were included in the mailing. I would be annoyed to receive it even without the school's input.

 

If schools have this as part of their culture than this is the year to change it.

 


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