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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Board addresses Scout issue

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Forrest Buell
The Clay County Boy Scouts of America (BSA) will not be granted access to the schools to recruit students.

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."

Dottie King
"Maybe if this is connected to a lesson or an objective of learning and standards, that might be, but I wouldn't want the discussion to turn to any kind of recruitment," Schroeder said.

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.

Ted Jackson
Schroeder reminded the Boy Scouts that they are allowed to fill out a paper to have meetings in the school, while it is not in session, before or after school and on the weekends.

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Our School Board just voted to give up all Federal Funding for education within the Corporation and Invited a Federal lawsuit on the advice of an attorney who, apparently, does not know the law.

CITE: 20USC7905; This section may be cited as the ``Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act''.

(1) Equal access: Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no public elementary school, public secondary school, local educational agency, or State educational agency that has a designated open forum or a limited public forum and that receives funds made available through the Department shall deny equal access or a fair opportunity to meet to, or discriminate against, any group officially affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, or any other youth group listed in title 36 (as a patriotic society), that wishes to conduct a meeting within that designated open forum or limited public forum, including denying such access or opportunity or discriminating for reasons based on the membership or leadership criteria or oath of allegiance to God and country of the Boy Scouts of America or of the youth group listed in title 36 (as a patriotic society).

The key phrase in that section is "equal opportunity or fair opportunity to meet". The reasoning is that the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts in the area served by the CCSC do not have equal access or a fair opportunity to meet with boys preceding or following the school day due to school-provided transportation schedules for recruitment into a program recognized by the Federal Government as beneficial to the youth of America. Indeed, the Congress of the United States felt that this access was so beneficial that they passed a Federal Law to specifically guarantee that it would be provided by schools to all youth groups listed as patriotic societies under Title 36 of the United States Code.

What are the possible consequences?

Termination of assistance and other action, The Secretary is authorized and directed to effectuate subsection (b) of this section by issuing and securing compliance with rules or orders with respect to a public elementary school, public secondary school, local educational agency, or State educational agency that receives funds made available through the Department and that denies equal access, or a fair opportunity to meet, or discriminates, as described in subsection (b) of this section.

(b) The Secretary shall issue and secure compliance with the rules

or orders, under paragraph (1), through the Office for Civil Rights

and in a manner consistent with the procedure used by a Federal

department or agency under section 2000d-1 of title 42. If the

public school or agency does not comply with the rules or orders,

then notwithstanding any other provision of law, no funds made

available through the Department shall be provided to a school that

fails to comply with such rules or orders or to any agency or school

served by an agency that fails to comply with such rules or orders.

Note the last sentence "no funds made available through the Department (of Education) shall be provided to a school that fails to comply...).

How would it be proven, in Federal Court, that it is unreasonable to allow patriotic youth organizations access to students in CCSC when it happens all over the country in other schools?

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Sun, May 23, 2010, at 8:51 PM

The lawyer for the school just simply got it wrong. The Boy Scouts do not fall into some arbitrary catagory. The Scouts have been singled-out in FEDERAL LAW as an organization worthy of access to the schools. As a former cub master we would set-up a time with the principle so we could come in and put on a demonstration and talk about the fun, learning opportunities in scouting. We would have our cubs dress in their uniforms on the scheduled day and the teachers would bring the boys to the gym for the 20 minute program. Sign-ups with parents present would then be set for the following day or so after school. The notion that allowing scouts to come in would fling open the door to everyone is just not correct. It's very simple. If you want in get listed by the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT in Title 36.

-- Posted by brazilian on Sun, May 23, 2010, at 9:24 PM

I'm going to post this before the "flaming" starts.

Ignorance of the law is not a defense for violating the law in any court at any level of our government.

Violation of the law on the advice of an attorney does not mean that the attorney violated the law in giving you the wrong advice.

I am not an attorney, but I can read.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Sun, May 23, 2010, at 10:06 PM

"Designated open forum means that an elementary school or

secondary school designates a time and place for one or more outside youth or community groups to meet on school

premises or in school facilities, including during the hours in which attendance at the school is compulsory, for

reasons other than to provide the school's educational program." 34 C.F.R. I08.3(e). "Limited public forum

means that an elementary school or secondary school grants an offering to, or opportunity for, one or more outside

youth or community groups to meet on school premises or in school facilities before or after the hours during which

attendance at the school is compulsory." 34 C.F.R. 108.3(i).


In reading that, would or would not the meeting of such groups as the Future Farmers of America, or many of our other clubs that have a national organization not indicate that we do have an "open forum"?

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Sun, May 23, 2010, at 11:43 PM

My mistake, the Future Farmers of America holds a Federal Charter and some of its leadership comes from the Dept. of Education so it is actually a part of agricultural education, although I don't believe that membership is required.

Nonetheless, I cannot find that all of the clubs have Federal Charters.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Mon, May 24, 2010, at 1:28 AM

The more I research this issue, the uglier the picture gets.

The picture is one of discrimination specifically against the Boy Scouts of America, which is precisely what Congress passed the "Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act" to prevent.

It has been brought to my attention that the CCSC might be a "closed public forum" as opposed to the "open public forum or limited public forum" stipulated in that act?

The issue that the Boy Scouts have is being allowed access to the students for recruitment purposes and the schools most affected are North Clay Middle School and the elementary schools. At high school age, most boys either are in scouting or are not going to join, although there would be the occasional exception.

If our schools are a closed public forum, they would control the freedom of speech, among other things, on their grounds and religion would be a forbidden subject, yet we have clubs that are religious in nature. Do they recruit members on school grounds?

Almost all of our extra-curricular clubs meet on school grounds, they are "outside youth groups" as they are not required "to provide the school's educational program" and many of them have affiliations beyond the school campus with a national organization just as the Boy Scout Troops and Cub Scout Packs are with the national organization of the Boy Scouts of America. Would you offer the argument that the Scouting program is not as beneficial to augment our educational programs as any other clubs? From my observations in the classrooms of North Clay Middle School, I would think that our school corporation would be actively seeking organizations to come in and work with our youth in an attempt promote self-discipline and non-disruptive behavior in a social setting instead of trying to keep them out.

Are the Girl Scouts of America or the Future Farmers of America allowed to recruit on school grounds? When I was in high school, the adult member of the FFA that I was most familiar with was the teacher of the Agriculture Class. These organizations are both listed in 36 USC as patriotic youth organizations. However, we allow groups not listed in 36 USC to add to their membership on school grounds, too. Such is the case of the Business Professionals of America. As a former Cub Scout leader, I know that we held recruiting meetings in the gymnasium of Meridian Elementary School, we met there for a while, and our color guard participated in that school's Veteran's Day ceremonies during the 1990's.

Section 108.6 B 2 of 34CFR108 reads as follows: (2) Benefits and services. Any group officially affiliated with the Boy Scouts or officially affiliated with any other Title 36 youth group that requests to conduct a meeting as described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section must be given equal access to any other benefits and services provided to one or more outside youth or community groups that are allowed to meet in that same forum. These benefits and services may include, but are not necessarily limited to, school-related means of communication, such as bulletin board notices and literature

distribution, and recruitment.

Quite frankly, I think that our School Board, School Corporation Administrators, and the School Corporation's Attorney needs to revisit this issue, read both 20USC7905 and 34CFR108 in their entirety and comply with the stipulations contained in those documents before the Federal Government cuts off all Federal money from the U.S. Department of Education. That is the punitive action for non-compliance.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Mon, May 24, 2010, at 9:37 AM

Don't the schools have 4H come in and talk to the kids to the point that they schedule field trips to fairgrounds each year while in elementary school to see what different projects are and the older kids with their animals there? Who is paying for the busing of the students to the fairgrounds?

This really puzzles me as both Girl Scouting and Boy scouting have many educational opportunities for the kids and interests to explore to the point of learning about different things that they may end up wanting to work with in the future. It's not all camping and knot tying. I think the board needs to take and look at a badge book and see how scouting can augment and student's education and encourage personal growth and self esteem. Scouting includes the Explorer program in upper grades which is co educational. Rose Hulman sponsors an explorer program with their Explore Engineering events where participants can build bridges, build and fly hot air balloons, and build edible cars that are then raced to see which design is most aerodynamic. During college years then APO, an extension of scouting is a service fraternity [though in actuality co ed as well]upon one's membership in good standing is based upon a minimum number of service hours per year.

Scouting is one opportunity that adds to a child's development just as FFA and 4H do. I do not know what legal implications are but if they are not allowing access to the students they are in direct opposition to an educational opportunity.

And before someone starts ranting on me not having a clue...I was a girl scout and then leader for many years while my daughters were growing up, have one daughter who as adult is still a member of girl scouts, two who are members of APO and a husband who is an Eagle scout, past member of both BSA and GSA, and a life member of APO and local chapter adviser.

Where this decision came from in light of the other outside group encouragement, I cannot understand at all.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Mon, May 24, 2010, at 11:25 AM

Unfortunately, 4H has not been allowed to "recruit" in the schools for a few years.

The fairgrounds event you are referring to, Jenny, is actually Ag Day which falls under the Ag Dept. at the Extension Office. 4H and FFA members are utilized as speakers at some of the inside stations as well as the outside animal stations. The event is meant to show children the agricultural side of where their food originates. The inside stations promote healthly eating choices as well as farm safety. They explain soil and water erosion and prevention thereof.

I, too, wish we could go back to the "good ol' days" when common sense prevailed :-(

-- Posted by Linda A. Jackson on Mon, May 24, 2010, at 2:54 PM

I think the problem here is "Recruiting" in the school. A quote from the article says "Schroeder reminded the Boy Scouts that they are allowed to fill out a paper to have meetings in the school, while it is not in session, before or after school and on the weekends". Don't get me wrong I agree that what ever the boy/girl scouts want to do in our schools should be allowed. However i see where "recruiting" in our schools is setting the corporation up for a lawsuit from some left wing organization with a pocket full of money for an attorney to spend.

My suggestion to the scouts is to take the board up on the offer to allow you in for an educational opportunity. As i was involved with BSA for many years with my sons i know there is virtually no money for advertising so free publicity is better than doing nothing. Scouting is a GREAT opportunity for all students and especially the kids not involved in sports. As Jenny said scouting encourages personal growth and self esteem more than other activity i am aware of. I have seen kids mature thru scouting and become leaders who otherwise would have been followers of whoever paid them the most attention. I know of several kids who have more pride in their scout accomplishments than some student athletes have of their athletic accomplishments. These adults are still using the confidence and morals they learned in scouting.

To the Clay Community School Board of Trustees: Please continue to work with this organization to bolster their membership numbers. In my humble opinion this organization is more important to a lot of kids than any other.

To the scouts and leaders: Don't let up on this. If you do the few closed minded people in our society will quickly sweep this under the rug. Keep up the good work, boy/girl scouting is something that will influence most kids who go thru it for the rest of their lives.

-- Posted by jddriver4960 on Mon, May 24, 2010, at 3:08 PM

Hey Linda:

Don't get me wrong, I think 4H is also a good way for kids to learn self confidence etc but even with Ag day being the theme of the visit to fairgrounds, it still indirectly is a tool extension uses to get kids interested in 4H as older members are there... A good thing IMHO. Maybe older scouts can go and talk about what they learned doing a specific badge as that would be similar I believe.

Got to be a way around this "wall" as these groups who promote self confidence and responsibility are good things that augment what is learned in the classroom.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Mon, May 24, 2010, at 4:19 PM

I have met with Dr Schroeder and helped prepare Andrew's presentation for the board. I was told by Dr. Schroder that he had nothing against the BSA or Girl scouts etc. I thought that if given a legal way(title 36) to let us in that he and the school board would. I know that the law doesn't say we have the right to meet during school. We are asking for 15 min. during lunch , we can be brief. This is the only school corporation that is doing this. I dont know very many 5 or 6 yr olds that are going to ask to go to the office to pick up an application to join. I have worked on this isssue for several months and get more frustrated every day. I would think the school corporation would be asking us for help with all the meth and other problems we have. Sorry I had better stop.

-- Posted by rvoliveira on Mon, May 24, 2010, at 6:19 PM

I spoke with Dr. Schroeder, by telephone, on this matter after requesting a copy of the School Corporation attorney's letter concerning this matter. He denied my request of the letter on the grounds that it was deliberative in nature. He did e-mail my research to the attorney and ask that the issue be revisited. He did, however, mention that a State statue was referred to, which scares me. It is pretty much common knowledge that Federal Law modifies State Law to conform to Federal Law, that was decided with the Civil War. Having the issue reviewed by the same entity is like asking a multiple choice question of a student, then asking the same student an essay question to explain their answer. If the student answered the first question right, the essay will illustrate the reasoning. If they answered it wrong, the answer to the essay will most often be wrong also but you will get an idea of why they think they are right. Our problem is that a Federal Judge might be grading us and our attorney on this issue with Federal funding at risk.

Congress went to extra-ordinary lengths to insure that the Boy Scouts have access to students with the passage of the "Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act". They specifically defined an "outside youth group" as any group "not required for the delivery of the school's educational program". They required a signed "assurance" that the school or the corporation will abide by the provisions of the Act. They caused provisions to be written into the Code of Federal Regulations that states that "The obligation of a covered entity to comply with the Act and this part is not obviated or alleviated by any State or local law or other requirement" and "the obligation of covered entities to comply with the Act and this part is not limited by the nature or extent of their authority to make decisions about the use of school premises or facilities. They tied "all funding made available through the Department (of Education) to compliance with the withholding of those funds as a penalty for non-compliance. They removed enforcement and interpretation of this law from State Courts and put it into Federal Court.

As I see it, the Boy Scouts do not even have to have a lawyer, the corporation is at risk of being prosecuted for denying access during the only available time that the Boy Scout Leaders could possibly give their "boy talks" that would not interfere with classes or the transportation schedule in Federal Court by the U. S. Attorney in a case that would go on the docket as "United States vs. Clay Community Schools Corporation.

I doubt that an "assurance" for each individual school is submitted, I believe but I'm not sure, that a "blanket" assurance is signed for the entire corporation so the loss of Federal funding might be for just the affected school,if we are ruled to be non-compliant with the Act, but could possible for the entire corporation. That seems to be a lot to risk for a lunch period or two especially since we send a field trip to "Beef and Boards" in Indy every year so students can watch a play while they eat lunch!

Part of the Boy Scout recruiting problem is the ages that a boy becomes eligible. Boys are eligible to join at age 11, 10 if they transfer from the Cub Scouts and have earned a specific Cub Scout badge, and 10 if they have completed the 5th grade. That puts the earliest age right in our middle school and CCE where none of the students drive and very few walk to school. If the Boy Scouts have the same policy restrictions that the Cub Scouts have, leaders have a difficult time transporting Scouts and would be barred from transporting non-Scouts.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Tue, May 25, 2010, at 1:55 PM

The main objective of Boy Scouts is to make these boys into fine young men and LEADERS! I think this is unfair that they can not recruit in school. We OBVIOUSLY need more good leaders in this world and we are hendering that process. They do community service projects. They teach life skills and survival skills. Many of the young boys in this community could benefit from this. It might make it a better place and keep them out of trouble.

-- Posted by nurse92 on Sat, May 29, 2010, at 5:20 PM

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