Utah man sues Boy Scouts of America for blocking son with Down syndrome from becoming Eagle Scout

Stock image of parts of Boy Scout uniform. | Photo by wissanu_phiphithaphong/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

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.

Email: sricks@stgnews.com

Twitter:  @STGnews | @SpencerRicks

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9 Comments

  • reddirt March 20, 2018 at 9:09 am

    What a travesty the BSA has become! What harm would it have done to give the lad his eagle?

  • John March 20, 2018 at 9:30 am

    The same morons that don’t want him to get Eagle Scout are the same ones who want to murder babies with Down Syndrome in the womb. I hope he wins the lawsuit !

    • Blemonds March 20, 2018 at 11:00 am

      Who are these morons of whom you speak because I’m unaware of any desire by the Boy Scouts to murder Down Syndrome babies in the womb?

    • Striker4 March 20, 2018 at 5:06 pm

      it seems John got his diaper ruffled eh ? lol ! so he’s calling the BSA baby killers ? talk about mental issues ! LOL

  • Blemonds March 20, 2018 at 11:01 am

    I’m confused by the father’s complaint. He has readily admitted that his son cannot meet the qualifications to become an Eagle Scout, but he wants the BSA to award that honor to his son anyway. Whence comes this sense of entitlement to things unearned?

  • comments March 20, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    Downs syndrome people are some of the saddest creatures in existence. The military will also not let a person join if they have ANY serious medical or mental issues. Life isn’t always fair, but it is what it is. Life of a downs individual is rarely a quality life in the long term. BSA could create a special “handicap eagle scout award” for those like this boy, but what would be the point? Life will never be fair for those with downs or similar. Welcome to the cold hard reality of the world……

    • Blemonds March 20, 2018 at 8:53 pm

      BSA has it’s rules and I don’t see any reason for them to change those rules to accommodate anyone who can’t meet the requirement. Rather than file a lawsuit, Chad Blythe should start an organization with rules that accommodate whomever he wishes. The NBA doesn’t accommodate athletes with Down’s Syndrome, nor does the NFL or MLB, etc.

      • Anon March 21, 2018 at 8:22 am

        The NBA, MLB, NFL, etc. that you referred to are not comparable to the BSA. Those organizations are for professional, adult athletes to make a living. The BSA is for adolescents to earn awards by pushing their own boundaries and limits. The issue isn’t that his son couldn’t do the activities. The issue is that his son’s Eagle project had been approved and the council had worked with him. When your Eagle project is approved, that implies that they intend for you to receive your Eagle if you accomplish it. That’s the real issue, the BSA going back on what they had originally decided.

  • Larry March 21, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    Got to be more to this story. There are many with Downs Syndrome that are working toward or who have achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. Also I find it hard to believe the part about them “stripping the young man of his present rank and or taking away any of the merit badges already earned”. (Sounds like the dad is embellishing the story here.) Many Boys and Adults with Downs Syndrome and or other special needs can continue to work toward the rank of Eagle past the age of 18. BSA has had this special allowance in place for many decades. As I said, Got to be more to this story…(Heck, we even have troops registered here in good ol’ STG that serve Boys and Men with special needs. The Eagle Rank is not just a Participation trophy for these individuals, they earn it!) A boy at the age of Fifteen getting his Eagle Rank is not unheard of, But I can’t help but wonder if getting this award is more about ‘the dad’ rather than his son, Could it be that BSA found Dad was found giving this boy badges he did not earn??)

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