Tags: down syndrome | boy scouts | merit | badges

Boy Scout With Down Syndrome Stripped of Merit Badges

Boy Scout With Down Syndrome Stripped of Merit Badges

(Susanne Neal/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Tuesday, 20 March 2018 11:29 AM

A Boy Scout with Down syndrome was stripped of all of his merit badges he earned from the organization, preventing him from becoming an Eagle Scout, and his parents have filed a lawsuit in state district court to get them back, the Salt Lake Tribune reported this week.

Chad Blythe told the newspaper that the Utah National Parks Council of the Boy Scouts of America assured his family that Logan, 15, would be able to progress through scouting with modified badge requirements based on his disability.

Despite his limited verbal skills and other developmental delays, Logan Blythe earned enough badges to reach his Eagle Scout project, the Tribune wrote. The local scout troop approved his Eagle Scout project on Nov. 9, but took back the approval the next day, Chad Blythe told the newspaper.

Not only that, the organization proceeded to void all of Logan Blythe's merit badges because now it says the youth did not follow the badge requirements exactly as written, the father complained.

The Dallas Morning News wrote that Boy Scouts must earn 21 merit badges in addition to the Eagle project to reach the Eagle Scout rank.

The Tribune wrote that the Blythe family is asking in the lawsuit for at least $1 in damages and for Logan to be reinstated and accommodated within the organization.

Their attorney Ted McBride said that with the organization making accommodations for LGBT youth and now allowing girls to join, he is puzzled why accommodations for Logan Blythe have become such a sticking point.

"The local Utah people did not want to enforce this discriminatory policy, but regrettably that turned out to be a bad decision for them," McBride told KSL-TV. "The Boy Scouts have made accommodations for those who identify as transgender, they have even accepted girls into the boy scouts, and they are going to fight this? For what? To protect the prestigious Eagle Scout badge?"

In a statement, the Boy Scouts said it has always served "youth members with physical, mental and emotional disabilities," according to the Dallas Morning News.

"Scouting is uniquely positioned among youth programs to meet the needs of Scouts with disabilities by providing diverse programs and social experiences," the statement said, according to the Morning News. "The Utah National Parks Council has worked closely with this young man and his family to deliver a positive experience in our programs."

Boy Scouts of America spokeswoman Effie Delimarkos disputed the family's claim of discrimination, saying that Scouting policies require all Scouts to earn their merit badges by going through the same or similar process and even if they don't earn their badges, they still get something from the experience, the Tribune reported.

"It is the highest rank," Delimarkos said of the Eagle Scout ranking. "It is very prestigious, but it's not by any means the only way to experience the program and to benefit from the program."

Chad Blythe told the Tribune that he filed the lawsuit simply to make the national organization recognize his son's badges so he can become an Eagle Scout.

"It was quite a letdown, and I didn't really realize how much of a letdown for him," Chad Blythe said, according to the Tribune. "But the next time we tried to have him put on his uniform, he won't go near it. He won't touch it."

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A Boy Scout with Down syndrome was stripped of all of his merit badges he earned from the organization, preventing him from becoming an Eagle Scout, and his parents have filed a lawsuit in state district court to get them back.
down syndrome, boy scouts, merit, badges
556
2018-29-20
Tuesday, 20 March 2018 11:29 AM
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