Logan Blythe, 15, has been a Boy Scout with the Utah National Parks Council, a local Boy Scouts of America affiliate, for the last six years. Blythe, who has Down syndrome and autism, became a Cub Scout when he was 8, and joined the Boy Scouts program when he was 11.
Blythe earned 22 alternative merit badges and was looking forward to becoming an Eagle Scout. However, the national Boys Scouts of America suspended Logan’s Eagle Scout project and the national group effectively voided every merit badge he earned since graduating from the Cub Scouts to the Boy Scouts, stating that he didn’t follow the merit badge requirements exactly as written.
For some kids with disabilities, achieving traditional merit badges is not an option. However, Boy Scouts has an option for children with disabilities to earn alternative merit badges. In their application for “Alternative Eagle Scout rank merit badges” Boy Scouts of America states: “The Eagle Scout rank may be achieved by a Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, or qualified* Venturer or Sea Scout who has a physical or mental disability by qualifying for alternative merit badges.”
Chad Blythe, Logan’s dad, believes the that the Boy Scouts of America is discrimination against Logan’s disability and is suing the BSA for at least $1 in damages and for his son to be reinstated and accommodated within the Scouts, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in 4th District Court. Saying they intentionally inflicted emotional distress, the family is suing the Boy Scouts of America Foundation, the National Boy Scouts of American Foundation, the Utah National Parks Council and individuals working for the council.
To read more about this case
Utah boy who has Down syndrome loses merit badges and his shot at becoming an Eagle Scout because of discriminatory policies, lawsuit says by Paighten Harkins, The Salt Lake Tribune, https://www.sltrib.com/news/2018/03/17/utah-boy-who-has-down-syndrome-loses-merit-badges-and-his-shot-at-becoming-an-eagle-scout-because-of-discriminatory-policies-lawsuit-says/
Boy Scouts Demote Boy Scout With Down Syndrome Who Wanted to be an Eagle Scout by Ellen Stumbo, The Mighty https://themighty.com/2018/03/boy-scouts-prohibit-boy-with-down-syndrome-logan-blythe-eagle-scout/
[image description: Logan, with his Boy Scout uniform and merit badges, is standing by a female Scout Leader. In the background are two uniformed officials from the Utah National Parks Council, another Boy Scout leader, and Logan’s dad, Chad.]