ST. GEORGE — A Utah man is alleging in a lawsuit that the Boy Scouts of America blocked his son, who has Down syndrome, from becoming an Eagle Scout.
Logan Blythe, a 15-year-old scout from Payson, was planning to deliver maternity gifts for his Eagle project when the BSA blocked him from being an Eagle Scout, stripped him from his scouting rank and voided all the merit badges he had earned. His father, Chad Blythe, filed the lawsuit claiming the BSA discriminated against Logan because of his Down syndrome.
“Although we cannot change the BSA national policy directly with this lawsuit, because the BSA is a private organization which can promulgate its own policies, discriminatory or not, we are hopeful that this suit raises public awareness of his treatment so that others similarly situated don’t face the same shame and disappointment that this has caused Logan and his family,” attorney Ted McBride said.
Because of his low-functioning Down syndrome, Logan was unable to complete some of the tasks required to advance as a Boy Scout. However, the Utah National Parks Council of the Boy Scouts had made accommodations for him when necessary, according to a press release from McBride. The council approved Logan’s project in November.
The next day, according to the press release, the Utah National Parks Council told Logan to stop working on his project because he had not completed all of the necessary steps required by the BSA to become an Eagle Scout.
Since the BSA’s decision, Logan is now “noticeably depressed” and becomes upset when looking at his scouting uniform and badges, according to McBride’s press release.
In a statement, BSA representatives wrote:
“We worked with the committee and the Blythe family to offer Logan a path to earning alternative merit badges based on his abilities, as well as the option to work toward his Eagle rank past the age of 18. …
“We continue to work closely with our disabilities awareness committee, which is tasked with making sure Scouts with disabilities can actively participate in Scouting activities.”
The BSA’s attempt to help the situation after the fact is not good enough, McBride said.
“The BSA has lost its way,” McBride said. “It’s mind-boggling that an organization dedicated to teaching young men morals, discipline, work ethic and compassion, is now teaching its members that discrimination is acceptable.”
The lawsuit, in which the Blythe family claims the BSA’s actions was an “intentional infliction of emotional distress,” was filed in the 4th District Court in Provo.
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