Skip to comments.Complaint brings end to Scout troop for juvenile offenders at Vernon Hills center
Posted on 03/08/2003 9:38:19 AM PST by RonF
What began three years ago as part of a highly-publicized program to help troubled boys has been quietly dropped by the 19th Judicial Circuit Court. The charter of Boy Scout Troop 19, based at the Depke Juvenile Justice Complex in Vernon Hills, was allowed to expire March 1 in response to concerns by the American Civil Liberties Union.
"We decided it probably would be best served not to continue," said Bob Zastany, executive director of the court's administrative office. "We thought we were doing some good things out there." The ACLU and others, most notably Buffalo Grove resident and well-known atheist Rob Sherman, generally have questioned the use of public funds to operate what he once described as a "discriminatory private club."
Sherman was unable to be reached Friday for comment regarding Troop 19. Ed Yohnka, director of communications for the ACLU of Illinois, said this wasn't a new issue for the group. He said the court did the right thing. "We've expressed concerns to a number of government agencies, including this particular court about their serving as a sponsor of an organization that has a discriminatory policy," he said.
The U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 ruled that as a private organization, the Boy Scouts can restrict its membership and leaders. The decision originated with a lawsuit by a gay Scout leader who was dismissed from a New Jersey troop. Atheists also are prohibited from joining.
Established in February 2000, Troop 19 was touted as the first formed with boys sentenced to probation. The 19th Judicial Circuit Court was the chartering agency for the troop operated by the juvenile probation and detention services division. Participants were boys aged 14 to 16 in the in-house treatment program at Depke, known as FACE-IT, or Family and Community Engaged in Treatment. That program is limited to 12 boys and is not associated with the detention center's general population.
The Boy Scout connection, the 19th Circuit said in 2000, would help instill "the exemplary values of character, citizenship and fitness" and build the teens' self-esteem. On Thursday nights, the troop would meet for about 90 minutes to learn skills such as first aid. On weekends, the troop would go on nature hikes or other activities. Participants who were interested in continuing in the Scouts after their stay were given referrals, although Zastany was unsure if or how many pursued Scouting after they left the center. "You plant enough seeds and you get a tree here and a tree there and sometimes you get some fruit," he said.
Sherman took his case to the Lake County Board last year, saying the use of public funds to operate the troop violated federal civil rights laws. The county funds FACE-IT, which distributed money to the troop. He also objected to judges and other judicial system employees working with a group that has discriminatory rules. Zastany said he and his staff closely studied the matter before recommending to Chief Judge Margaret J. Mullen the charter be allowed to lapse. Mullen could not be reached Friday for comment. "It was just a prudent decision on our part to let it lapse and regroup," Zastany said. "We're going to create programming and opportunities for these kids that will be even better."
Rob did this previously in the Chicago area. If I'm not mistaken, he tried to force a southwest suburban Cub Scout Pack that was sponsored by a public school to accept his son as a member after crossing out the part of the application that mentions God. The Cub Scout Promise includes a promise to do one's duty to God. Upon being rejected, he brought suit on the basis that the BSA was a public accomodation and that his son was harmed by being excluded from an activity that included his son's friends.
He lost. But the school did the same thing that the Lake County Commissioners did, and after knocking around a few years more the Pack died.
I faced the same thing. My Scout Troop was informed by it's sponsor, a Park District (which in Illinois is a municipal body), that the Park District would not renew it's charter because they were afraid that they'd get sued. Fortunately for us, both the Pack and the Troop were approached by a local Episcopal parish. They picked up our charter and we've been going strong ever since.
People on FR tend to talk bad about the Episcopal church, but this parish stood up and did the right thing, and continues to do so.
Tragic. The ACLU is currently defending LAMBA(men and boy love association). Perhaps they can recommend them to take over guiding these young people. I'm sure LAMBA doen't discriminate aren't you?
Something better than, "On my honorI will do my best To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight." ...?"
Something better than TRUSTWORTHY, LOYAL, HELPFUL, FRIENDLY. COURTEOUS. KIND. OBEDIENT. CHEERFUL. THRIFTY. BRAVE. CLEAN. REVERENT.
Only my Christian upbringing keeps me from actively seeking to remove people from this list....one by one.
Actually, it is: NAMBLA - North American Man-Boy Love Assoc.
Which is not to be confused with NAMBLA: Nat'l assoc. of Marlon Brando look alikes.
you gotta love South Park.
What a load of crap. The ACLU hunts for stuff like this. They have a choice what they want to litigate.
The fact that the ACLU has a choice of what they want to get involved in doesn't mean they initiated this. Rob Sherman has a long history of this kind of thing and I have little doubt that he came to the ACLU, not the other way around. Rob's even got his own cable show here.
Maybe local fire departments shouldn't discriminate against piromanics. Maybe the police department shouldn't discriminate against the mentally ill or just the ill-tempered. Perhaps we should remove public funds from PBS for discriminating against the mute as program moderators. No funds for music programs that discriminate against the tone deaf. And all public transportation organizations should hire the blind and the disabled to drive their vehicles or face charges of discrimination.