Boy Scouts of America apologizes for ‘confusion’ over Scout with Down syndrome

Logan Blythe, a 15-year-old Boy Scout from Payson with Down syndrome, poses in his scout uniform in this undated photo. Logan's father, Chad Blythe, is suing the Boy Scouts of America for discrimination, alleging the BSA blocked Logan from becoming an Eagle Scout | Photo courtesy of attorney Ted McBride, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The Boy Scouts of America clarified that a Utah boy who has Down syndrome did not have his merit badges revoked and is still allowed to become an Eagle Scout.

Logan Blythe, a 15-year-old Boy Scout from Payson, was blocked by the BSA from completing his Eagle Scout project because he hadn’t completed all of the necessary steps, according to the BSA. Logan’s father, Chad Blythe, filed a lawsuit against the BSA, claiming the scouting organization discriminated against his son because of his mental disability.

Read more: Utah man sues Boy Scouts of America for blocking son with Down syndrome from becoming Eagle Scout

In a statement, the BSA said Logan’s merit badges were not revoked, which contradicts a statement made by Chad Blythe’s attorney Ted McBride.

“We apologize for the confusion and want to be very clear: the option to earn the rank of Eagle Scout has been – and still is – available to Logan,” wrote BSA representatives in a statement. “The process of achieving the Eagle Scout rank is rigorous for any scout, but it is designed so that accommodations can be made for scouts with disabilities or special needs.”

Logan’s Eagle Scout project and rank advancements had been approved with accommodations from the Utah National Parks Council of the Boy Scouts, but when it came time for Logan’s project, the national BSA organization reversed that decision.

According to the BSA handbook, scouts with disabilities can seek approval to complete alternative merit badges to become an Eagle Scout, but all other requirements for the Star, Life and Eagle Scout ranks must be completed without alternatives.

In a statement, representatives from the Utah National Parks Council wrote:

We are moved by this young man’s desire to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. We’ve worked closely with this young man and his family to attain the benefits of the Scouting program and are committed to continuing to do so.

Despite the statements made by the BSA and the Utah National Parks Council, McBride said Logan still deserves a more direct apology and not a “generic statement to the public.”

“If they are now going to change their policies, that’s terrific,” McBride said. “But no one has contacted me about this. It appears that they are more interested in spinning some positive press. If they were sincere, I would have expected them to call me and change their policy.” 

Representatives from the BSA wrote in their statement about how the organization wants to work with Logan and the Blythe family through their national disabilities advancement team to put a path in place for Logan to become an Eagle Scout.

“At its core, scouting fosters the spirit of diversity and inclusiveness, and we are committed to continuing the Boy Scouts of America’s long history of working with scouts with disabilities, including Logan Blythe, to help them succeed in and beyond scouting,” the BSA’s statement reads.

Email: sricks@stgnews.com

Twitter:  @STGnews | @SpencerRicks

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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11 Comments

  • DRT March 21, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    Unfortunately, the Boy Scouts just aren’t what they used to be. And it’s a total shame.

  • old school March 21, 2018 at 9:32 pm

    Sounds like the Utah National Parks Council of the Boy Scouts kinda overstepped their authority due to the fact they have little, or no knowledge of Scouts with disabilities programs. Utah church run Boy Scouting has a long history doing “what ever they want”, if they’d have fallen a little more in line with the National agenda it would have saved the family a lot of pain and suffering

  • comments March 21, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    Let’s face reality, a downs individual would never be able to earn Eagle without some sort of dumbed-down, special-ed type program.

    Starting next year, anyone who owns a vagina no longer has to also claim to be a boy to be eligible to earn eagle. How exciting is that?! It is true, the boy scouts is not what it used to be. I think they finally got most of their scout leader child molestation problems under control as well. At least from what I hear.

    I was a scout way back in the day, but eventually gave it up. Was just too boring. And since it was LDS-themed there was too much prayers, but it was the boredom that got me. It really depends on who you get as troop leader.

    • AnotherReader March 22, 2018 at 6:24 am

      @ comments, “dumbed-down”? Really? I suppose if that were the case, you’d be an Eagle Scout today. Accommodations does not equate to “dumbed-down”.

      • comments March 22, 2018 at 12:24 pm

        Downs individuals are almost certain to have severe intellectual deficits and disabilities their entire life. They also are usually dependent on some type of care giver and gov’t services their entire life. “Dumbed-down” may not fit your cutesy little PC narrative, BUT THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT IT IS. I gave up scouts bc it didn’t interest me. I’m also in favor of aborting downs fetuses, and i’m someone who doesn’t “support” abortion in general. You can whine about it all you want, it doesn’t change reality.

        I’m also in favor of girls in the scouting program. I guess girl scouts has gotten so crappy that many girls would prefer to join BSA. If BSA is their choice over GSA, well, I’m glad they will have the opportunity.

    • Striker4 March 22, 2018 at 9:42 am

      and once again the Prophet Bob takes a moment to show us just how ignorant he truly is

    • ladybugavenger March 22, 2018 at 12:13 pm

      Bob, don’t worry about your critics, I’ve been reading your comments for a long time and I know your intentions are not disrespectful. They can’t handle your words.

      Dumbing down=accomodations……believe me, you should see the idiots I work with that we have to accommodate because they might not be “trained right” in reality, they just lazy

      Back to the story, this kid should be an eagle scout because we live in a society where everyone gets an award. 😉

  • jaltair March 22, 2018 at 1:31 am

    It sounds as though the State of Utah Boy Scout Program may be the one that needs to issue the apology and not the National.

    Perhaps the State branch needs people who know the National Scouting standards and how to serve those with disabilities. Did the Utah Scout Program use the “national disabilities advancement team” to discuss how Logan had to advance in Scouting? Or did the Utah State Scouting Program just establish their own standards?

    It also sounds as though the lawyer doesn’t communicate particularly well either.
    The Blyth family’s lawyer had given information out that all Logan’s badges were revoked when in fact they hadn’t been.

    Where is the truth? Does it need to go to court to settle?

    https://www.scouting.org/programs/boy-scouts/the-building-blocks-of-scouting/disabilities/

  • Billy Bob Ray March 22, 2018 at 3:23 am

    When I attempted to join the Scouts way back in the 50’s I was told I couldn’t because only “white” Americans could join. I’m 1/2 Mexican, but my dad of 31+ years in the U.S. Army and two World Wars was adamant that he WOULD NOT teach his children Spanish because “we are Americans and the language is English”. Unfortunately he has passed on before this incident, or I suspect that some “white” Americans would have had an epiphany.

    Needless to say, I have not since supported the Boy Scouts nor will I ever………..

  • PatriotLiberal March 22, 2018 at 11:41 am

    Dear BSA and concerned folks,

    This kid deserves his Eagle. He worked for it. He worked hard and put forth his best effort. Accommodations aside, the kid was given a task and he completed it . If you wanted to deny him his Eagle, you should have done so FROM THE BEGINNING! As it stands, it’s wrong to pull it now. That’s like giving the kid a brand new car for his birthday then pulling out the engine just before he’s able to drive it.

    Give the kid his Eagle. He’s EARNED it.

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