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In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the BPSA-US Board of Directors has recently added a new section to the Youth Protection Guidelines to address electronic communications and distance scouting. The update is on the last page of the document and can be found on the BPSA-US.org website. The full text of the new section is below for your information.

Youth Ethics and Protection Policy: Electronic Communications

The BPSA-US national Youth Ethics and Protection Policy states that “one-on-one contact between organizational leaders and youth is prohibited within the BPSA-US and the TPL [Two Person Leadership] practice must be followed without exception.” In an effort to make the TPL policy explicit in our digital communications, BPSA-US has adopted this addendum.

Electronic and Telephone Communications with Children

Scouts use several forms of contact to communicate and connect, including telephone, email, text, computer chat, video, and all similar technology. In an effort to clarify these communications in the context of our Youth Ethics and Protection Policy, see the following guidelines.

Children Under age 12 (Otters, Timberwolves, and young Pathfinders)

  1. No adult leader or adult scout shall communicate directly via email, text, or similar technology with any youth scout member. All communications will be directed to a parent or responsible adult guardian on record.
  2. If a youth scout sends a message to a scout leader or adult, that leader or adult will direct any reply to the scout’s parent or responsible adult guardian on record.
  3. Exceptions may be made to this policy in regard to private reports of suspected abuse.

Children Aged 12-17 (Pathfinders)

  1. Adult leaders or adult scouts may communicate directly via email, text, or similar technology with youth scout members, but ALL messages MUST also be copied (cc’d, group text, etc.) to the youth scout’s parent or responsible adult guardian on record.
  2. If a youth scout sends a message to a scout leader or adult, that leader or adult will reply to the scout, AND INCLUDE the scout’s parent or responsible adult guardian on record to the message, email, or conversation.
  3. Exceptions may be made to this policy in regard to private reports of suspected abuse.

The final version of this Addendum was approved by a majority vote of the BPSA-US Board of Directors on May 8, 2020.

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