Tenderfoot and the Bully

on February 19, 2008 in Advancement

By now you may have heard that the Boy Scouts of America have taken a stand against bullying by changing a Tenderfoot requirement to read, “Explain the importance of the buddy system as it relates to your personal safety on outings and in your neighborhood. Describe what a bully is and how you should respond to one.”

The BSA website (scouting.org) has a good explaining of this requirement for Boy Scouts and troop leadership. It states:

A bully is someone who wants to hurt another person. Bullying can be physical, verbal, emotional, social, behavioral, or any combination. Bullying can also take place just about anywhere: on the bus, at school, at soccer practice, even online, via the Internet. However, bullying can be stopped. Help put an end to the bullying by taking action first yourself.

  • If ignoring the bully doesn’t work, stand up for yourself with words. Rehearse what you want to say to that you will feel in control of your emotions when you confront the bully.
  • Tell the bully how hurtful it feels to be bullied, and ask why you are the target. Ask the bully to stop.
  • Sometimes, agreeing with the bully and having a ready response will work (“So what if I have a face full of zits. What’s it to you?”).
  • Hang out with a couple of friends; try not to be alone.
  • Tell an adult you trust, such as a parent, teacher, or coach.

This requirement is described on page 57 of the 2008 edition of the Boy Scout Handbook.

Luckily, Troop 68 has not had many instances of bullying within the troop during the last several years. When it does happen we try to “nip it in the bud” by talking to the Scout doing the bullying. I think it is a decent requirement to add to the Tenderfoot Rank and will allow us an opportunity to talk to Scouts about the subject.

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    4 Responses to “Tenderfoot and the Bully”

    1. Anonymous says:

      My son is overweight. He is continually tormented by several other scouts in his troop about his size. I’ve had other “issues” with our troop’s leadership so I hesitate to bring something else up to them. In the past, they have listened to me but little has changed. It probably doesn’t help that the Scoutmaster’s son is one of the tormentors.

      My son’s self esteem is suffering due to this. From my experience, scouting is rife with bullying and the wording of the text should point more inwardly as my son does not get nearly this much teasing in public school.

      This would never happen when he played football as the coach would never have tollerated it for a second. I mistakenly thought scouts would be as good an experience for my son as football was. But, the available evidence would suggest that I was wrong to think as highly of scouting as I did.

    2. Anonymous says:

      My son is being put down for his Christian beliefs by his scoutmaster. His scoutmaster seems to be the bully in the troop even though he is a minister. The soutmaster has even yelled at me and told me that he will talk to my son behind my back. When emotional abuse occured, as described in Youth Protection Training, the scoutmaster broke every rule and acted alone as defense council, prosecuter, judge, jury, and executioner, and is planning on blaming my son for being abused. There seems to be very little BSA info on emotional abuse and absolutely no info about what to do when the scoutmaster is a bully.

    3. Steve says:

      It's been my experience that telling a bully how bad it makes you feel isn't really what I'd call an effective tool. I had a really bad bully in my life as a kid (he had mental problems), and his bullying didn't stop until his family moved away.Do I have a good answer? Not really, but it seems to me that 2-deep leadership should probably cull this problem for the most part.

      Anonymous #2, if your son is truly being put down because of his beliefs, then I'd suggest you find another Pack to attend, one with your like minded beliefs. Half of my den is Catholic, and when we were told by another den leader that it was mandatory for us to be present at Scout Sunday, we said we'd be there right after Mass. Not good enough he says, Scout Sunday is more important. I told him no, God always trumps Scouts, especially if it conflicts with attending Mass. NEVER compromise your religious beliefs for anything.

    4. Steve says:

      Great Blog BTW! Forgot to say that in my first post

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