It is one of the most prestigious awards a Boy Scout can earn, but a teen in Utah has had his hopes of becoming an Eagle Scout dashed after his merit badges were stripped and his Eagle project suspended.
Logan Blythe is a 15-year-old scout who has Down syndrome. The Boy Scouts of America, the national organization that oversees local troops, voided the merit badges Logan had earned, saying that modifications agreed to by the family, his troop and the district advancement committee would not be accepted by the national level organization. The family found out about the issues in November via email from the district’s advancement committee, The Beatrice Daily Sun reported.
The Utah National Parks Chapter told Chad Blythe, Logan’s father, in the email, “I never should have allowed this to be approved. I sincerely apologize and regret any false hope we have given,” KSL reported.
Blythe was told that there are no alternatives to the steps his son needed to earn Star Life Eagle, that the teen had to do the requirements as written and that includes the leadership responsibilities, KSL reported.
But Logan, according to his father, performs at cognitive level of a 4-year-old and is not able to write or hold a conversation, The Washington Post reported.
There are accomodations made for advancement for Scouts who either have physical or mental disabilities, but the accommodations must be approved after a formal application is received, the Daily Sun reported.
Logan’s father is now taking the Boy Scouts of America and the local council to court for “outrageous and reckless conduct,” The Associated Press reported.
The elder Blythe said that his son is being discriminated against in a statement he posted on YouTube.
Blythe’s suit against the Boy Scouts requests that the organization accommodates Logan, the Post reported.
Boy Scouts of America has responded to the countrywide media coverage saying that he could still earn the rank of Eagle Scout and that they hope to work with Logan and his family to help him attain the advancement, the Post reported.
In a statement to the paper, the BSA wrote, “The National Disabilities Advancement Team wants to work directly with the Blythe family to review what Logan has accomplished based on his abilities and help determine a path to earn the Eagle Scout rank that is both appropriate and empowering for him.”
Blythe says he has not been contacted by the Boy Scouts of America, according to the Post.
Scouts have until they are 18 to earn the rank of Eagle, but Scouts with special needs are able to apply for extensions to retain their eligibility after they become adults.