Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Boy Scouts of America and Illegal Recruiting in Highline Public Schools

The problem of illegal recruiting on the part of Boy Scouts of America in public schools in Washington State continues. This week it is in the town of Burien, a suburb of Seattle, in the Highline School District. I read about the recruiting in an article published in the Huffington Post, which prompted my letter to the District Ombudsman:
Dear Ms. Niizuma-Arambula,

I read this article in the press with alarm today: How the Cub Scouts' Exclusion Impacts Our Fourth Grader

I'm sure you are aware it is against state law and public policy for organizations that discriminate against LGBT people to have access to our students and facilities (see this article published by the OSPI: http://www.k12.wa.us/SafetyCenter/BullyingHarassment/pubdocs/ProhibitingDiscriminationPublicSchools.pdf).

The only exception to this in relation to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), in that they must be given equal access to rent facilities before or after school in an equal manner with any other neighborhood group.

Besides the recruiting event noted above, I have the following questions of Highline Public Schools:

  1. What other recruiting events for BSA happen during the school day?
  2. What will be done to correct this event and ensure no further violations occur?
  3. What other programs of BSA currently operate in this district?
  4. Does this district currently have Scoutreach, Learning For Life, or any other inter-operation, contracts or programs run by BSA or their Learning For Life subsidiary?
  5. Are BSA personnel currently permitted on school grounds during the school day?
I would be happy to discuss this with further, and look forward to your response. If there is a procedure that should be followed that I have not yet followed to ensure this is handled as a formal complaint please let me know what I should do.Thank you very much for your consideration and attention to this..

Yours,
Geoff McGrath, MSW
Are you aware of similar recruiting going on in your school district? If so, be sure and write a letter of complaint to your district ombudsman or compliance officer. They are required to respond within specific timeframes to resolve the matter within the constraints of the law. Discuss your efforts, successes and concerns in the comments below.