Chapter 03

Tuesday night after Summer Camp, the new Scouts attended their first Scout meeting.  The opening was the Pledge Of Allegiance, followed by the Scout Oath and the Scout Laws.

Nick then announced, "Captain Henry will be starting the Crime Prevention Merit Badge during Troop Time for the older Scouts.  The Eagle Patrol will work with Bart Miller on advancement and Matt and I will help the other new guys get their Patrol organized.  Patrol time we need menus for the next camp out, which will be the Lord Of The Rings lock-in here, in August.  Thats just 5 weeks guys so let's be sure we are ready."

Then Capt Henry and Mr. Freeman, the other Assistant Scoutmaster, led the older boys off to another room to show a short Movie about Police Departments.  Brett's Beaver Patrol went to one corner of the meeting room and Neal's patrol and Billy Woodcock followed the two older boys to another corner.

Nick began, "First off, since we have a Patrol Leader, we now need a patrol name.  You need to pick a name that has a patch so you can put it on your uniform's right shoulder."  Matt handed them a sheet of paper from his notebook that had a picture of all the available patrol patches. 

The boys looked and giggled and finally Neal said, "I think we need to pick one that represents us, like Wolf Patrol."

Jimmy laughed, "With Neal as our leader we should be the Bandit Patrol"

"How about The Raccoon Patrol, they are little bandits, and get into all kinds of trouble." Ben said.

Instantly they were the Raccoon Patrol.  At this point Mr. Little came and asked for Neal.  The Raccoon patrol continued their work and Neal followed Mr. Little to a pair of chairs that were facing each other.

"Have a seat, Neal.  This is a Scoutmaster Conference.  It is the last requirement for the rank of Scout, and the next to last requirement for all the rest of the ranks.  I'll be asking you some questions and at this point just to get to know you and for you to get to know me.  Any questions so far?"

"No, Sir."

"Okay, did you enjoy summer camp?"

"It was kewl!  We did all this really neat stuff and the guys wanted me as Patrol Leader.  I even had to make my Dad clean up his tent.  And all of us are allowed to be Scouts which is super kewl."

Mr. Little smiled, "So what are you hoping Scouting will be like?"

"Fun.  I liked camping and doing all that stuff.  I want to do more of that.  Some of the stuff the older guys talked about sounded kewl too."

"Have you looked at the requirements in your scout book for the next few ranks?"

"Yes Sir, and I've got a bunch done and Nick said I should be able to get the rest pretty soon.  Summer Camp really helped get a lot done.  I think I can be First Class by Christmas."

"Wow, that's quite a goal.  I'll try to help you reach it.  Now you are the Patrol leader and that means you represent your patrol on the PLC, Patrol Leader's Council.  After the meeting each week, I'll expect you to stay a few minutes so we can meet and discuss a few things.  That is the time to bring up any questions or concerns, your guys may have."

"Okay that should be okay, I don't think Dad will leave me."

They both laughed.  "Well congratulations, Neal, you are now officially a Scout."  Mr. Little held out his left hand for the Scout Handshake.  How about sending over another one of your guys?"

"Sure Mr. Little.  Thanks."

The talks with the other boys went well until the last one, Billy.  He approached Mr. Little slowly and was actually shaking by the time he got there.

Mr. Little smiled, "You must be Billy.  Welcome to Troop 316."

Billy was just looking at his feet.

"Kind of scary talking to a grown-up isn't it?"

Billy nodded.

"Well, that is why we are having this talk in here.  See all the guys in your patrol are making sure you are okay.  They can see us quite well.  So I can't do anything bad."

Billy looked up.

"See, they are far enough away that we can talk without them knowing what we say, but they can see everything we do."

Billy nodded.

"So Billy, how long were you in Troop 582?"

"I bridged up in March."

"So you are already a Scout?"

"No Sir."

"Ah well let's see, You have the Arrow of Light, I see the patch on your pocket, We have your completed application.  You have found a troop.  You said the pledge.  Can you show me the Scout Sign?"

Billy held up his three fingers.

"Good.  How about the Scout Salute?"

Billy did the salute.

"The Scout handshake?"

They shook left hands.

"Very good.  That was great."

Billy smiled for the first time.

Mr. Little took a piece of rope from his pocket.  "Can you tie a square knot?"

Billy tied the knot correctly on the first try.

"Wow, that was really good.  Do you understand and agree to try and follow; the Scout Oath, Law, Motto, Slogan and the Outdoor Code?"

"Ah, sure, ah Sir."

"Can you tell me about the parts of the Scout Badge?"  Mr. Little had a large First Class Patch that is the Scout Badge.

"I think so.  The top part is the Tenderfoot Badge and it is like a compass thing for North and the Eagle and shield are for The United States and the two stars are for camping and for Truth and Knowledge, I think.  Then the bottom is the Second Class badge and has the motto on it and is a smile and the knot is for a good turn.  Did I do okay?"

Mr. Little smiled warmly, "Son, there are Eagle Scouts that couldn't have done that good.  Have you gone over the pamphlet in the front of your book with one of your parents?"

"Oh, yes Sir.  Mom and I went over it.  It's kind of creepy but it's good to know what to do."

"Just so you know, Mr. Denson has sent me the record of what you completed at summer camp.  Do you have your Scout Book?"

Billy jumped up and ran over to his chair and ran back handing Mr. Little his book.  Mr. Little turned to the back and the records were all blank.  "Billy, if it is okay with you I'm going to enter the things you had done in your book so you have a record of what you have done and so you know what to be working on.  I'll try to have it done by the end of the meeting.  Now a few more things for you to know about our Troop.  Nick is in charge and runs things, I just watch to be sure everything is safe.  If you have a problem you first talk to your Patrol Leader, Neal, and if he can't help you then he goes to Nick or Matt.  If they can't take care of it then they will bring you and Neal to one of the adults.  We have three rules in this Troop that are probably new for you.  Number one: If you are not having fun something is wrong.  That means if it isn't fun for you let someone know.  Number Two: We obey the Scout sign. When the sign goes up the mouth goes shut.  And Number Three: This is a youth run organization.  That means the Patrol Leaders and the Senior Patrol Leader run things.  I think that's plenty for tonight.  Congratulations Billy, you are now a Scout."

Suddenly Billy paled and started to look panicked.  Mr. Little calmly asked, "Billy, what is wrong?"

"No, I don't want it, no."

"Okay, can you tell me why?"

"The gauntlet.  They will beat me too hard."

Mr. little was shocked, "Billy we don't do that.  That is something called hazing and that is not acceptable.  What will happen is that at circle-up at the end of the meeting I will announce that you have earned the rank and give you the patch for your left pocket.  Then all the boys will congratulate you.  At the Court of Honor we will recognize you again and you will pin the rank pin on your mom for her to keep as a reminder of your achievement."

Billy was surprised, "That... That's all?"

"Yes, son.  No one here will ever hurt you on purpose.  We are here to have fun not hurt."

"Thank you."  Billy started to cry tears of relief. 

When he recovered Mr. Little handed him a bandanna to wipe the tears away.  "You can go back to your patrol now and have some fun."

Mr. Little took Billy's book and went over to the table where the other adults were sitting.  He sat next to Jeff Alexander.  He took the Summer Camp records; found Billy's and started entering the requirements that had been signed off.  As he worked he said, "Jeff, we have a problem.  Billy almost freaked out when I told him he had completed the Scout requirements.  It seems that 582 makes the boys run a gauntlet when they complete a rank."

Jeff could hardly believe his ears.  "That's completely against Child Protection Guidelines.  I'm sure Brother Michael has been trained.  How could he allow something like that?"

"I don't know but we need to report this to the Council Executive.  From Billy's reaction, I have no doubt that it's true.  I'm sure that Br. Michael will deny the charge and probably lash out at us, and Billy in particular.  You have met his parents so can you talk to them and give them a heads up?"

Tom Richards who was sitting on Jeff's other side joined the conversation, "Don't worry, I'll talk to them.  Anything you may need that I can provide is yours.  I'll be sure my lawyer is prepared if he is needed."

Jeff smiled, "We'll try to work things out without the lawyers first.  Remember the boys' solution?  I think that will be our first line of defense."

Mr. Little was puzzled, "What did the boys do this time?"

Tom answered, "One of my sons has been accused of being gay.  Someone at camp was spreading the rumor.  The boys had a meeting without my crew and discussed this.  They sure surprised the heck out of me.  They decided that they liked my boy and that if anyone said anything nasty, they would laugh and tell that person, 'you sure don't know him'.  That pretty much killed the rumors."

Mr. Little shook his head as he finished up Billy's book.  "They surprise you every time, don't they?  It is amazing when their solution is better than what the adults were planning.  I guess I'd better go make a call."

Jeff said, "Let me do that, you stay with the boys.  That is your job, this is mine."

"Thanks Jeff."

Jeff got up and walked outside while getting out his cell phone.

Mr. Little looked at Tom.  "I think we may end up having a nasty situation here and as a parent with a boy who may get drawn into the middle of this, I will certainly understand if you want to protect them and leave the troop."

"I have a couple of questions first.  How would you feel if a boy in the troop was gay?"

"Tom, I know the statistics, as long as we have had more that ten boys, chances are, we have had at least one gay boy.  As long as the kid isn't trying to get into the other boys' sleeping bags, I don't care.  As a matter of fact, I don't really want to know.  It isn't important to the program."

Tom nodded, "The funny thing is, I know the boy is sure he is gay because he has been told he is by so many adults, but I don't think he really is.  I'm hoping the Scouts can help him figure it all out."

"I don't know how we can do that."

Tom laughed, "No, not like that, Jeez�.  I'm hoping that Scouting can do for my boys what it did for me.  I hope they can become self reliant, confident young men who can think through a problem and come up with a good answer.  I've seen that in the boys of this troop and want my boys to be a part of it.  I would like to be a part also but that might not be the best idea.  I'm a pretty high profile guy and I could bring some negative press.  Lord only knows the Scouts get enough of that already."

"That's true.  I don't know why you think you would be a liability but maybe someday you will tell me."


Nick came back in and told the guys to clean up and then meet outside for a patrol competition.

As the boys headed out, Jeff managed to come back in.  Jeff asked Capt. Henry, Mr. Little and Tom to remain and the other adults went out with the boys.  "I reached Mr. Collins and he is on his way here.  He said a few words you don't expect the Council Executive to say.  Eric, Troop 582 has been hazing boys and it sounds like at least one boy was afraid for his safety."

Eric had a glacial glint in his eyes, "I'm in.  I sure would like to bust those fanatics up.  They think they can do anything they want, and hide behind God to do it.  Actually they have been able to do it.  The last time they went before our new judge, you could tell he didn't want to rule in their favor but he had to.  I know the State Police don't love that bunch either.  The County Sheriff may have crossed the line now too.  I retire next month and maybe I will run against old flabby butt."

Tom smiled, "I'll back you financially, on one condition.  NO special favors for me or my boys."

Eric was shocked, Tom really meant that.  "Deal.  So what is happening now?"

"Mr. Collins said he wants to interview the boy tonight and maybe get CPS and the State police into the act.  He wants all bases covered.  We just wish we could get the CPS here tonight."

Tom grinned, "Your wish is my command."  He pulled out his Satellite Phone and pressed #2.

"Hello Linda.  Can you come down to the Presbyterian Church?"  Tom listened to her response.

"Yes, right now.  We may have a child abuse case... Linda?  Linda?"  Tom turned off the phone.  "I think she is on her way."

The other men were looking at Tom with unbelieving eyes.  Capt. Henry was the first to speak, "You have Linda Thompson on speed-dial?  She doesn't even let the State Police have her private number."

Tom laughed, "Well, she has placed several difficult cases with me and so far they are all working out fairly well.  She has my lawyer carry adoption papers with him just in case."

Jeff looked at Mr. Little, "And we thought we were stupid..."  The four men laughed.

Mr. Little said, "Let's go watch the guys play while we wait for our guests to arrive."

Outside, the patrols were lined up and doing a knot relay race.  The adults watched as a boy ran up, tied a knot, got a nod from Nick or Matt, untied the knot and ran back to tag the next boy in line.

Mr. Freeman walked up and commented, "The Raccoons won the last race and the Eagles are ahead this round.  It always amazes me that the older guys let their skills slip and then are surprised when the new guys kick their butts." 

The Eagles just barely beat the Raccoons and the Beavers still had two more to go.  The new guys cheered them on too.  By this time parents were beginning to arrive.  Mr. Little called out, "Nick!  Take the Beavers in and clean up the meeting room.  Leave one table and ten chairs set up.  We'll do closing out here."

"Come on, losers.  You guys should be better than the new guys and they beat you both times.  Man, oh man."

Parents were grouping around and talking with each other.  Tom spotted Dick and Sandy Woodcock standing by their car.  Walking over to them, he said, "Hello folks.  Won't you join the rest of us for the closing?  And there is something we need to talk about afterwards."

Dick, living up to his name said, "Did Billy mess up, again?"

Sandy elbowed him, "Don't be such a dick, Dick.  I'm sorry, Mr. Richards.  What kind of problem?"

"Well, Billy told Mr. Little something that was happening in the other troop and we have to report that to Council.  The Council executive is on his way and so is Child Protective Services." Tom tried to explain.

"No, that's not possible.  Nothing bad could be happening there.  It's a Church, for crying out loud." Dick was instantly irate.

Sandy looked at Tom, "Is this why Billy wanted to stop Scouts for the last three months?"

"Yes, Ma'am.  He was terrified when he was told he had earned the first rank." 

Before Tom could explain more, Billy came running up to his parents, "I'm getting Scout and they won't beat me!  Isn't that kewl!"  He hugged his Mom and was off again.

Dick stood there in shock, "They would have beaten him?  For doing good?  That just can't be right."

"Well, that is why we want to hear what he has to say.  We sure don't want to falsely accuse anyone.  Let's go join the circle up."

When all the boys and adults had formed a circle, Nick asked Mr. Little if he had anything to say.  Mr. Little stepped into the ring, "Of course I do," that got chuckles.  "I just don't know what to do about Mr. Alexander and Captain Henry.  I send them off for a nice week of summer camp, hoping they don't loose any of you and what do they do?  They bring back a whole new patrol!  Also all the new boys have completed the requirements for the rank of Scout, and I'd like to introduce them to you now."  Mr. Little was amazing, he introduced each boy by name, as he handed them a Scout Rank Patch for their uniform.  Each boy got a cheer and applause.  Billy was last, "Now we have a transfer Scout, Billy Woodcock, He has earned his Scout also.  Let's give him a big watermelon cheer of welcome!"  All the boys acted like they were taking and eating a big slice of watermelon then they all gave a big raspberry like spitting out the seeds.  Everyone was laughing, especially Billy.

When it got quiet, Nick had everyone join hands and they repeated the Scout Benediction.  Within five minutes the troop was gone, Tom had sent everyone, except Monty, home with Frank McNeil.  Now two cars were pulling into the lot from opposite directions.  A man got out of one car and was putting on a uniform shirt with silver ribbons on the shoulders, and from the other car Linda Thompson the Head of Child Protective Services for the three county area got out carrying her briefcase.  Jeff was waiting outside and greeted them. 

When they went in, the adults were talking in small groups; Billy and Monty were off in a corner practicing their knots.  After all the introductions were finished, the adults all took seats then called the boys over.  Monty saw Linda and ran over to give his 'Aunt' Linda a big hug.  Billy froze about halfway there when he saw his father's scowl.  Monty came back to get him, "Come on, nobody's going to do nothing bad to you."

"Stay by me, okay?"

"Sure, they got chairs for us together.  I wonder what this is all about?"

The boys sat and Mr. Little began, "Billy, first I want you to know how very proud I am of you for telling me why you were so upset.  That was very brave.  Now, we are very concerned about safety and we don't want anyone else to be hurt or to be scared with Scouts.  You can help us all by telling all of us what you told me."

"Do I gotta?  Father will get mad."

Dick had another of those gut wrenching feelings.  "Billy, just tell the truth.  I promise I won't get mad if you are telling the truth."

Billy held onto Monty's hand for support.  "I told Mr. Little why I was scared to complete the rank."

Mr. Collins said softly, "Can you tell us why?"

"The gauntlet.  When you complete a rank, the boys line up with the paddles and you have to run between them and they hit your bottom.  Some of the older boys really hit hard."  Billy was watching his father.

Mr. Collins followed up with, "Do the adults hit also?"

"Not usually.  But Brother Michael will call for it and help get it organized."

Linda asked, "Have you actually seen this done?"

"Uh huh, three times.  And if you cry, they make you do it again.  That's why Kaleb Desotto quit and they make fun of him in Church School Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings." Billy was on the verge of tears himself.

Mr. Alexander spoke, "Billy, Thank you for telling us; you did great.  Why don't you and Monty go down the hall and get a soda.  Here's a dollar."

The boys took the dollar bill and were gone.

Jeff was the first to speak as soon as the boys were gone, "Mr. And Mrs. Woodcock, I would like to assure you that nothing like that goes on in this troop.  I make it my business to know."

Mr. Little said, "My job is to see to it that the boys are always safe.  Sometimes an accident will happen, but I can assure you that we NEVER allow an activity to harm one of the boys.  There is no hazing, period!"

Mr. Collins said, "As the Council Executive, I will be taking whatever action is necessary to ensure that this type of behavior stops in Troop 582.  If you are interested in pursuing legal action, the Boy Scouts of America will offer any possible assistance to you."

"Sue my Church?  No, I don't think that is a good idea."

"Oh, shut up, Dick.  Your Ex-Church or Ex-Wife, you better decide!"

"Now sweetie..."

"Can it, Dick!  We WILL talk this through, later."

"Yes Dear."

Linda cleared her throat, "I feel like I'm missing something here.  What Church are we talking about?"

Jeff answered, "The Three Crosses Christian Church."

"Wasn't that the Gunther's Church?  That is a really hateful bunch.  They hounded poor Monty everywhere he went.  I hope you withdraw Billy from there.  From what I have gathered, his physical wellbeing might be in danger there."  Linda was adding to her notes.

"Oh come on now, surely you don't..."

Sandy cut Dick off {ouch}, "Don't worry, Mrs. Thompson; I can assure you that Billy and I will never go there again, and if Dick wants to go there, then he may, but if so, he will be seeing my lawyer about a divorce."

"Sandy, you can't mean that!"

"Dick, I love you; I think you know that, but if it is a choice between you or Billy, then you will lose."

The boys came back and it was time for the group to break up and go home.  Thomas Collins made sure that Captain Henry and Linda were in agreement on his plans and they offered any possible assistance.

*  *  *

The next morning at nine o'clock, Mr. Collins arrived at the TCCC.  He went in, identified himself to the secretary and asked to see The Reverend DeVoce.  She pressed an intercom button and said there was someone from the Scouts to see him.

A little weaselly looking man came to out of the office and greeted Mr. Collins, "Hello, I'm the Reverend DeVoce.  How may I help you this Blessed day."  Rev. DeVoce lead the way into his office.

Mr. Collins followed the man into the plush office.  There was a large Mahogany desk, several easy chairs, a couch with some questionable stains, and a large plasma TV which nearly covered one wall.  He figured there was a good twenty thousand dollars sitting around in this room.  The Reverend took his seat behind the large desk.  "What may I do for you?"

"Rev. DeVoce you are registered as the Charter Organization Representative for the Troop And Pack here.  I am here to offer the Councils resources to resolve some problems that the Boy Scout Unit has been experiencing." Mr. Collins started.

"I am not aware of any problems."

"I see.  Well, let me give you the particulars; last week your unit returned home early from Summer Camp..." Mr. Collins was cut off.

"Yes, I was going to let the issue drop but since you have brought it up, how can the Boy Scouts allow a known Homo-SEX-ual to attend the camp." The Rev. accused.

Mr. Collins smiled, "As far as we have been able to determine, there was no known homosexual leader there.  And, as far as the youth go, it is totally irrelevant."

"Irrelevant!  It is a sin against God and an abomination!"

"So you believe, but be that as it may, it is totally not the point of this visit."  Mr. Collins kept his smile in place, although his patience was wearing very thin.  "The fact remains that Troop 582 packed up and left, Thursday, without notifying the Camp Director and also purposefully left a Scout behind.  This does violate several BSA Policies that are in place to insure the safety of our youth members.  Some positive action needs to happen immediately.  I would suggest that Br. Michael be replaced until he has completed the training for the position of Scoutmaster.  Also, All of the registered adults need to take advantage of Youth Protection Training.  There are some other issues but if the adults will get the training and follow the guidelines, that should take care of the problems."

"Oh yes, of course.  I will see that the adults are informed.  Thank you for bringing this to our attention."

Mr Collins knew a brush off when he saw it.  He nodded and said his farewells.  He left, feeling that he had wasted his time, but at least he was following the proper procedure.  He quickly left the Church and headed for the State Office Building to speak further with Mrs. Thompson.

*  *  *

Twenty minutes later, He was sitting on a standard government office chair facing Linda Thompson who sat behind her plain metal desk, looking at him sadly.  "Well that went about like we expected.  I doubt seriously that we will have any inquiries about training.  It really is a shame to lose a unit, but we can not allow these things to continue.  They have their meetings on Wednesdays, so tonight is the night.  I wonder if my home video camera will work for tonight."

"If your's doesn't, mine certainly will.  I know this Private Eye who has helped out several times and he fixed me up with a camera that even works in low light."  Linda grinned.  "I wonder if Eric wants to ride along, just in case we need to make an arrest."

"Good idea.  What about the other boy Billy mentioned?  Do we have grounds to follow up with him?"

"Not enough to remove him from the family, but certainly enough to ask some pertinent questions.  I've done a little research and have come up with Kaleb Desotto's address.  His father works at the Haven Enterprises Plant on the north side of Havendale.  So who do we interview first?"

Thomas Collins thought for a moment, "I wish we could talk to the boy, but I know we can't without the parent's consent.  Let's try Mom first."

They were soon in front of a small Haven Estates house.  There was a TV playing inside and a dog barked when they rang the doorbell.

A woman who looked to be around thirty answered the door, "Yeah, what you want." 

"I'm with Child Protective services..." Linda began.

"Why that greasy little prick.  Look lady, we don't got a lot, but we take care of our own the best we can.  Just because we don't make our kids do everything he tells us, don't make us bad parents."

Although shocked, Linda went with the flow, "Exactly why we came by.  We are required to check it out is all."

"Okay, you want to look around?  Go ahead." 

"Actually, we wanted to talk to you.  Has Kaleb talked to you about what happened in Scouts?" Mr. Collins began.

"Oh, heavens no. That is his father's role.  That is male stuff and he wouldn't talk to me."

Linda quickly produced a consent form, "Could you let us to talk to Kaleb?"

"Dear me, no. That is for my husband to decide, he is the head of household, as the Holy Bible clearly teaches, Praise The Lord, and besides, Kaleb is in Summer School.  Mornings for Math and afternoons for English."

Linda smiled and said, "Well, thank you very much for speaking with us, Mrs. Desotto; you have been very helpful in clearing up everything."

Ten minutes later Linda and Thomas were in Mrs. Gunther's office at the plant.  "Hello, Linda, good to see you.  Is everything alright with Todd?"

"Oh yes, Alice. Todd is doing just fine, now.  We need to talk to Zachariah Desotto." Linda said.

"Please tell me he's not treating Kaleb like Jerry was treating Todd." Alice said with concern.

"We hope not, but some things have been said that we need to check out."

"I'll have him paged."  Alice picked up the phone and soon the page came over the PA system.

Alice and Linda talked about the kids for a few minutes until Mr. Desotto arrived.

"Zach, this is Linda Thompson.  She is with Child Protective Services and she has asked to see you.  You may use the conference room." Alice said.

The three adults moved into the conference room.  "Mr. Desotto, I'm Thomas Collins, the Council Executive for the Boy Scouts."  The two men shook hands.

"My son is no longer going to Scouts."

"Yes, we know.  Did he talk to you about that?"

"Well, he said he didn't like it.  He seemed to get very upset Wednesdays, and when he asked to stop, I decided that since he was falling behind in school that it most likely would be a good idea.  Wednesdays were quite hard on him, what with Bible Class from six to seven, then Scouts from seven to nine, he wasn't getting his homework done."

"Did he say why he didn't like Scouts?" Mr. Collins asked.

"Well, nothing that made any sense to me.  Something about being spanked.  But you know how kids exaggerate." Mr. Desotto said.

Those who knew Linda would have known from her expression, that she was not at all happy to hear the man say that.  Parents not listening to their kids was one of her hot buttons and this man had just hit it dead center.  Before she could go off on Mr. Desotto, Mr. Collins said, "Yes, that I'm afraid is what we understand and are trying to determine exactly what has been happening.  There have been other complaints, you see. Your son is not alone on this point."

"Really?  I find it hard to believe that Brother Michael would do something like that."

Linda's smile wasn't at all reflected in her eyes, "Oh, he doesn't. He has the other children do it for him. He can't be accused of directly administering the treatment. "


"That is why we would like to ask Kaleb a few questions.  Your wife indicated that you would be the one to make the decision.  We can make arrangements for you to accompany us if you would like, or you can just sign this release."  Linda handed him the paper.

He signed it quickly, without reading it.  "Will you let me know what you find out?  He has started whining about Bible Class, recently."

"We certainly will." Linda said.

As they were leaving the building, Linda said to Thomas, "Well, now, we get the pleasure of dealing with Principal 'Slick' Sooker."


Author's Notes:
Those who have read Haven2 already know what a really dedicated, kind, gentle and understanding person William Sooker is.  I'm sure there will be no problems... (Yeah, right.) I'm so glad Billy is out of that environment and hopefully his parents will find a better Church to attend, maybe a close by Presbyterian Church?  I'm not sure about Kaleb's parents, his mom sure is different from Billy's.
I wonder if Kaleb has been doing poorly in school because of the stress he has been getting from church and Scouts.  I hope he can get active in Troop 316 and have a really positive Scout experience.
The Scout executive does NOT use Tom for his nickname, the reason should be obvious.
As always, let me know what you are thinking.

Editor's Notes: 
I think there just might be a few things ready to explode with regard to that other troop and its �Adult Leaders�.  I know that Linda is not going to put up with the B.S. That has been going on. She is truly a no nonsense person and she cares deeply about the children and she will do everything in her power to make sure that they are all safe and loved.  Don't get on her bad side, or you will certainly be sorry. I am sure we will learn more in the next chapter. 
Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher

Fort Chief Editor's Notes:
If it wasn't for all of the evil this chapter discovered I would be very happy. This story and its companions show the Boy Scouts as they should be and it most cases really are. Troop 316 is run the same way both troops I belonged to were. We had fun and learned many things to help us later on in life.

As to "Mr." Sooker I have a very bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. 'Philip' we need you!

The Story Lover