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Thread: Letting a bully into the Pack

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    Senior Member Ihatecamping's Avatar
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    Letting a bully into the Pack

    I have had an enquiry from a parent regarding their child joining the pack. Another parent has had real problems with this child bullying their child, who is in the Pack. Apparently it is long-term, stressful stuff that has had a bad effect on the Cub.

    What would you recommend? Act on one-sided information and dump the new applicant? Or ensure quality of access, and deal with things that may or may not happen? Or take one and accept the loss of the other?
    The long march through the institutions is nearly complete.

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ihatecamping View Post
    I have had an enquiry from a parent regarding their child joining the pack. Another parent has had real problems with this child bullying their child, who is in the Pack. Apparently it is long-term, stressful stuff that has had a bad effect on the Cub.

    What would you recommend? Act on one-sided information and dump the new applicant? Or ensure quality of access, and deal with things that may or may not happen? Or take one and accept the loss of the other?
    You take the new kid and you make 100% sure that there is no bullying and no opportunity for bullying in the Pack.
    Ewan Scott

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    Senior Member johnmcmahon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    You take the new kid and you make 100% sure that there is no bullying and no opportunity for bullying in the Pack.
    Agreed. You also insist on a parent rota of one.

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    Senior Member Rikki01's Avatar
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    Need to start on a clean slate.

    Everyone deserves a chance. Especially children.


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    Senior Member CambridgeSkip's Avatar
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    Broadly I agree with the above. I don't think you can deny them a place based on one side of a story about what's gone before.

    There's a but though.....

    The but comes from my long past teenage self.

    I was bullied at school. It wasn't the physical sort, it was more of the name calling, excluding, constantly made to feel stupid sort. Basically I was the working class kid at the very middle class school (a year or two ago my school featured in the Tatler guide to the best state schools, that probably tells you most of what you need to know about it) and I was accademically ok at an accademically pretty elite place. And I was never allowed to forget it.

    Thankfully none of the bullies would have been seen dead at any scout troop, let alone mine which met and drew mostly from not the best part of town. Scouts and later Venture Scouts were my shelter, where I felt at home when I hated going to school. If any of them had turned up there I would have been out of there. Thankyou, the end, goodnight. No way I would have spent time with them when I didn't have to.

    It's been well over twenty years since I left school, I've moved on grown up and I suspect that the bullies all have as well, but I do remember it vividly and some of the memories are still capable of making me wince all these years later. Have no doubt about it, bullying can leave deep and long lasting scars, mental as well as physical.

    Yes, give the alleged bully a break, but please, make sure you protect the alleged victim. Keep them separated, don't tolerate anything.

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CambridgeSkip View Post
    Broadly I agree with the above. I don't think you can deny them a place based on one side of a story about what's gone before.

    There's a but though.....

    The but comes from my long past teenage self.

    I was bullied at school. It wasn't the physical sort, it was more of the name calling, excluding, constantly made to feel stupid sort. Basically I was the working class kid at the very middle class school (a year or two ago my school featured in the Tatler guide to the best state schools, that probably tells you most of what you need to know about it) and I was accademically ok at an accademically pretty elite place. And I was never allowed to forget it.

    Thankfully none of the bullies would have been seen dead at any scout troop, let alone mine which met and drew mostly from not the best part of town. Scouts and later Venture Scouts were my shelter, where I felt at home when I hated going to school. If any of them had turned up there I would have been out of there. Thankyou, the end, goodnight. No way I would have spent time with them when I didn't have to.

    It's been well over twenty years since I left school, I've moved on grown up and I suspect that the bullies all have as well, but I do remember it vividly and some of the memories are still capable of making me wince all these years later. Have no doubt about it, bullying can leave deep and long lasting scars, mental as well as physical.

    Yes, give the alleged bully a break, but please, make sure you protect the alleged victim. Keep them separated, don't tolerate anything.
    I think that is what we all said.

    I completely understand your comments about the realities of bullying on the victim. When Friends reunited was on the scene I thought it might be nice to reconnect with some old school friends I had lost touch with. It was a mistake. Running through the names, I came across one that made my feel sick, I started shaking. I'm a grown man and this was 30 odd years after I last saw the thug that bullied me for six years.
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers



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    The unpaid help ASLChris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    You take the new kid and you make 100% sure that there is no bullying and no opportunity for bullying in the Pack.
    This.

    You can't punish a child before you know them - if necessary, have a chat with the existing Cub when this YP joins. Perhaps do an evening which covers bullying on one of the early weeks this new YP is there. And it may even stop the bullying.
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    Senior Member recneps's Avatar
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    Agree with what others have said.

    Just be very careful that in allowing the "bully" in, you don't take away the safe space of the "bullied"
    Dan Spencer

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    I would talk to both scouts and their parents, separately. I'd ask for their view of the story and also let them know that non scout like behavior will not be tolerated. Also, ask them if they're willing to bury the hatchet and move on. If so, it might be good to get them all together and talk about what happened and how actions have consequences. Who knows, maybe they have grown up and an opportunity to make a new friendship might be a good thing.

    At the same time, I'd assume nothing has changed. So ask them what will it require to keep things right. Keep them separated? You'll learn a lot from the parents of the bullying child. If they get real defensive then they won't see a problem and things likely will continue as before. If they apologize then you'll have all the parents on the same page and likely something good will come of having this kid join.

    I've had scouts that, once they realized what kind of pain they caused, stopped some really stupid behavior.

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    Senior Member Ihatecamping's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by recneps View Post
    Agree with what others have said.

    Just be very careful that in allowing the "bully" in, you don't take away the safe space of the "bullied"
    Thanks everyone. This is what worries me the most.

    I had the same experience as Bushfella regarding school reunions. By the time of the reunion, one was dead and the other was, for various reasons, laughable and pathetic, which made me feel a lot stronger, 38 years on.

    It's hard to come up with a way to protect someone without turning Cubs into a 'nice kids' clique.
    The long march through the institutions is nearly complete.

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    Had a similar situation with Scouts. We had two or three kids fast losing interest. But, they were the ones being accused of bullying. They were just fed up of always being on the receiving end of the accusations from one kid and their parents - so they we're going to leave Scouts.

    Parents were at logger heads (never helpful) and not on speaking terms - but lived in the same street. It was and is a bit of a mess.

    I took it as an opportunity to sort it out. No one was actually being bullied, but there were issues.

    As others have said, sitting the kids down (leave the parents out of it, I'd question whether they actually had an objective view point anyway), and first off - identify what the problems between them actually are - then work with them to resolve them. It could be that it just isn't what it seems, (in our case, you'd think this one kid was the very epitome of victim-hood - but that couldn't have been further from the reality.)

    Eventually, if you can, get them sat down together and talking openly if you can. Empathy is a great healer...

    Unless one of them is a psychopath, in which case, that won't work and you'll have to be as manipulative as they are to get some peace between them.

    In the first instance, assure your existing cub that you're 100% on his or her side and that the new cub is on probation...

    This could be an opportunity to really help a kid out, as already intimated, bullying can leave long lasting and deep scarring.

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    Cubs are brilliant, because they are young enough that they're not yet set on a course and you can make a difference to how they end up. I can't give you any advice because I don't know how you work with kids, and I don't know anything about these two. But I can tell you a story . . .

    We had a bully join the Pack. We sat on him hard. At one point I took him outside and told him eyeball to eyeball (one to one, sorry!) that how he behaved at school or at home was up to him, but he didn't do that at Cubs and if he did he was out. And something about if he was as big and strong as he thought he was he should be using his size to protect little kids not pick on them. But I can't tell if that would be the right approach in your situation.

    Years later I was doing an archery session for the local secondary school. It always fascinates me how the tutor groups differ so markedly from each other. This group was noticeably supportive - the wusses knew they wouldn't be laughed at, and they were encouraged by the other kids and cheered whenever they succeeded. It didn't take long to identify the lad who set the tone. It took a bit longer to identify him as the kid I'd faced down all those years before, but he knew me and gave me a hug as they left.
    John Russell
    ex-CSL now ACSL 1st Pinhoe Exeter Devon
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    Ergh! what a difficult position to be in, I do not envy you that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ihatecamping View Post
    It's hard to come up with a way to protect someone without turning Cubs into a 'nice kids' clique.
    It's probably something only you are qualified to consider accurately - for example, I would be much more worried if you had minimal adults with eyes on the situation at pack meetings - in such a case, a manipulative bully could easily use very short opportunities to continue bullying - e.g. when you are distracted or occupied with another child there could be whispered threats or gestures that simply would not be seen and could not be proved or disproved. Consider what you will do if the child who has been bullied previously complains that they are being bullied again - how will you be sure they are or are not being bullied?

    I don't think that answers your question; only you can do that. Good luck.
    Martin (GSL & acting CSL)

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    Senior Member Shaun's Avatar
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    I think you have to do what is right for you, but my story:

    There were two 15 year old scouts in my troop, one the son of the ASL and me. At scouts we were friends, after all we were bigger than the other kids. At school it was different, whereas everyone knew I was a scout, a lot of them knew my Dad as he was the cub leader and most of the “cool” had tried Cubs at some point.
    It got difficult when the other kids gang picked on me for being a scout and to prove he only went ‘cos his Dad was a leader was worse then the rest.

    Conversely at the troop I lead at now, the comments I get from parents is that the older scouts do police the playground and look after the younger ones.

    But in your case I would watch like a hawk, but once he is in, even if no bullying goes on at Cubs it could be adding extra ammunition to the issues at school.


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    Senior Member Ker-stee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ihatecamping View Post
    I have had an enquiry from a parent regarding their child joining the pack. Another parent has had real problems with this child bullying their child, who is in the Pack. Apparently it is long-term, stressful stuff that has had a bad effect on the Cub.
    Out of interest, how does the parent of the 'bullied' know that the parent of the 'bully' has asked for a place? Were they in a previous section together?
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