In a unanimous vote, the Clay Community School Board of Trustees voted to uphold their policy of not allowing organizations to recruit students. But there was a new idea mentioned during discussion.
Before the vote, Eagle Scout Andrew Bowman spoke to about the challenges the Boy Scouts face and how the current school board policy of not allowing them into the schools is affecting their numbers.
"When I spoke last month, I gave some numbers of our recruitment progress since 2006. I stated that since 2006, when we were no longer allowed to recruit in schools, the number of youth that we were able to pick up went from 100 to less than 30 just last year," he said. "To put it in other terms, my troop has gone from over 40 youth in 2006, to now under 20."
Bowman said the youth in his troop are sticking with the program but when they turn 18 and "age out," there are no younger youth to replace them.
"With this happening, it is becoming harder and harder to sustain Cub Scout Packs and Boy Scout Troops in Clay County," he said. "We want to work with everyone to find a way that we can have access again."
According to Supt. Dan Schroeder, corporation attorney Michelle Cooper indicated in a letter that the corporation is not required to allow the Boy Scouts or any other group into the schools to address or recruit students. Schroeder recommended the school board continue to follow the current policy and not allow the Boy Scouts to recruit students during the school day.
"Legally, if we allow the Boy Scouts access to our students, we need to afford other groups, educationally appropriate or inappropriate to have access to our students," Schroeder said.
However the school board is willing to look for ways to help the Boy Scouts.
"I want to know why we are turning them away," board member Forrest Buell said. "Forget the law, they would be coming in for entertainment, we let animals come in. So let them come in, in their uniform and not say a word but demonstrate some of their skills and perform in that way and answer questions from the students."
Board member Dottie King agreed with Buell and mentioned a possible convocation where the Boy Scouts could demonstrate their skills.
"If it is a type of presentation that is educational and there is no recruiting, as long as the principal agrees and the teacher could connect it to a lesson," Schroeder said. "I really don't think there would be a problem."
"We are making the materials available on a voluntary basis," King added. "If they want to stop by the office and pick it up then they are free to do that."
Discussion continued and President Ted Jackson spoke about his own issues with the policy.
"I am involved with an adult support team for THE ROCK in Clay City," Jackson said. "We have had the same challenge. We can't hang up flyers for a band that is coming in on a Saturday night and we can't advertise. It doesn't feel good to me because I can't say I really agree with it, but it does open the door for a lot of other things."
Jackson agreed with Buell and King's ideas.
"This is difficult," King said. "We are in a really tough spot here because we all want to be back to the day when good sense ruled and good people chose good activities to come in kept out bad activities and that was our right to do so."
"I hope that with the leadership in the room that you will listen to the unique solutions that we have tried to come up with," she added.