Chad Blythe says a few months ago his son Logan was one step away from becoming an Eagle Scout – the highest rank in the Boy Scouts.
He says that his 15-year-old son, who has both autism and Down syndrome, loved scouting because it let him meet other kids while learning to “expand and grow.”
But now, Logan “doesn’t even want to touch his scout uniform” after a controversial decision by the group.
Becoming an Eagle Scout is a lifelong commitment. To qualify, scouts have to learn the skills to earn a certain number of merit badges, then complete a major volunteer project.
When Logan finally qualified for the rank, his dad helped him plan a very meaningful project: making kits for parents of newborns with disabilities.
The local scout group and the state parks department both signed off on the project.
So Chad was “flabbergasted” when the Scouts’ national headquarters rejected the plan.
“We went through, got that approved, even got some pictures with the council members that approved it,” Chad told Metro.
“24 hours later we got an email from those very same council members indicating that they have to suspend Logan’s Eagle project, and were very sorry they approved it”
Chad says there was only one reason why his son’s project wasn’t approved: his disability.
“We were just stunned that they would be so petty”
Chad says he and Logan attended a meeting weeks later to sort out their problems with the scouts.
But the organization delivered even more bad news: Logan was being stripped of all his badges and ranks, basically kicking him back down to Cub Scouts.
They say that Logan didn’t meet the requirements for his badges because he used outside help.
The problem, according to Chad, is that the Boy Scouts don’t account for Chad’s disability.
“[Boy Scouts of America] has more than 100 merit badges that can be earned. Those with proven disabilities can substitute 1 badge for another,” he explained on Facebook.
“Sadly there is no one merit badge that Logan can complete the requirements for.”
Because Logan has trouble performing actions on command, he can’t complete any of the required skill tests without help.
In a cooking challenge, for example, “Logan would have to be able to measure out flour on his own. He would pour it out but not stop.”
Chad says that his son has been very upset since the scouts made their decision.
“His face was just dejected. He doesn’t like taking about it, hearing about it, or seeing us upset about it,” Chad explained.
“Now he doesn’t even want to touch his scout uniform or go near it.”
To fight back, Chad has announced a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts. But he’s not looking for a huge payday.
Chad says he’s filing a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America, but only for $1.
He just wants the group to update their requirements so disabled children like Logan can participate.
“My son is hurt. Again we were expecting this to be a non-issue,” he says, “to be able to go ahead and thrilled to have our Down syndrome son to be an Eagle Scout.”
Chad says the decision stings, especially because the scouts have been so inclusive to girls and transgender scouts in recent years.
“Inspired” By Logan’s Commitment
Update: Weeks after announcing the lawsuit, Chad shared the good news that the Boy Scouts had reversed their decision!
The change of heart came as Logan and his father were invited to a special meeting with the group’s national commissioner.
Following the reversal, Logan’s 22 badges were returned to him, and the group announced they would create a special path for him to earn the Eagle Scout rank.
The group called their disagreement a misunderstanding that they did not want to repeat, and said they were “inspired by Logan and his family’s commitment to scouting.”