I recently found this article posted on USA TODAY::Boy Scout with Down syndrome wasn’t stripped of merit badges, path to Eagle Scout rank, group says. The article states that the Boy Scouts are trying to make adjustments so that a Utah boy, Logan Blythe, can work his way toward becoming an Eagle Scout. There is no other information. For instance we don’t know the full details of the lawsuit filed by Logan’s father. I believe that there is a much longer history leading up to this story. And surely Logan, his troop and his parents have known for some time what are the requirements of becoming an Eagle Scout. Here is a shortened list:
- Be active in your troop for a period of at least six months after achieving the rank of Life Scout.
- Demonstrate that you live by the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
- Earn a total of 21 merit badges, such as First Aid and Citizenship.
- Serve actively in your unit in one or more positions of responsibility.
- Develop and give leadership to others in a service project.
- Take part in a unit leader conference.
- Successfully complete an Eagle Scout board of review.
As a Christian pastor I have had occasion to work with several boys in troops sponsored by congregations I served. I saw first hand what kind of boys were able to attain the rank of Eagle Scout and I know about and respect the Boy Scouts of America. This is a very fine organization. Based on that experience I expect there will be some acceptable resolution to this issue. Why then did this scout’s story make national news? A couplel reasons surface:
- Logan has Down Syndrome. And there are many instances of prejudice against children and adults with this disability. I’ve posted about them in earlier blogs.
- Logan’s father filed a lawsuit, making the issue public. As noted, we find nothing about earlier conversations within the posted stories. Nor do we know why Logan’s father felt compelled to take such a drastic step.
Perhaps the BSA will accommodate scouts with disabilities like Logan’s. At this point I do not know what has been done previously. I’m fairly certain that Logan is not the first. What I am looking for is a follow up story about what is being done. Were Logan and his family a part of my congregation the scout master and I would certainly have worked to reconcile those involved prior to any lawsuit.
If you know of any similar stories and how they were resolved I would love to hear from you. We can post them here. There are altogether too many instances of prejudice against those disabled. All of us must be on guard to such and work to eliminate them.