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Boy Scouts Strip Teen With Down Syndrome And Autism Of His Badges

A teenaged boy in Utah with Down syndrome and autism was stripped of his merit badges by the Boy Scouts of America. Fifteen-year-old Logan Blythe was discriminated against because of his disabilities, says the boy's family.
Logan's local scout troop made accommodations for the boy to participate in troop activities and earn badges, reports The Autism Site. Logan served as a scout for three years and was working on a service project to become an Eagle Scout, the organization's highest honor. Logan chose a project close to his heart: creating baby kits to pass to nearby hospitals for families with babies born with special needs.
But Chad Blythe, the boy's father, was recently informed that his son's service project was suspended since Logan supposedly had not fulfilled his badge requirements due to his accommodations.
Mr. Blythe received a text message notifying him that Logan’s project had been suspended the day after it was approved, reports The Autism Site. "The council claimed their 'hands were tied' after the national office investigated the situation and decided Logan hadn’t actually met the requirements for many of his badges."
“For example, if a task is cooking and the instructions are to pour a cup of flour, Logan won’t stop pouring,” explained the teen's father. “In situations like that, the local chapter has awarded him a badge regardless, for his effort.
“The national office looked into how Logan had earned his badges and decided that he didn’t really meet the requirements,” he added. “The National Parks Council said their hands were tied and they apologized for letting Logan advance so many levels.”
Mr. Blythe said he was always upfront about how his son completed his tasks and was in constant communication with scout leaders about the accommodations.
The family took legal action against the Boy Scouts of America. "The family filed a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America and the National Parks Council, asking them to change their discriminatory policy. Blythe says the lawsuit was about his son’s honor," notes The Autism Site.
“I want the Boy Scouts to change its policy. They should reinstate Logan’s badges and acknowledge the fact that not all boys have the same capabilities," said Mr. Blythe.
“Children with special needs are welcome and empowered to participate in the program. They can do so by coming to troop meetings and functions, and don’t even need to earn merit badges to participate,” said a spokesperson for the Boy Scouts of America.
“Boy Scouts with disabilities may qualify for the Eagle Scout rank. The Scout must earn as many of the Eagle-required merit badges as he can, and may then submit an application for alternative merit badges for those he cannot. His BSA local council may approve alternative merit badge(s) for him to earn. Any alternatives must present the same challenge and learning level as those they replace. The Eagle Rank is an incredible achievement and a demonstration of living by the principles of the Scout Oath and Law,” the spokesperson continued.
Logan was eventually able to receive his Eagle Scout award. The Blythes are hopeful that "their fight for justice will open doors for other boys with autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, and other disorders and disabilities," notes the site.

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