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.
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.
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