The father of a boy with Down syndrome and autism is suing the Boys Scouts of America for blocking his son from participating in its highest programme and revoking his merit badges.
Logan Blythe, 15, had been able to progress through the National Parks Council in Utah by taking part in a modified programme, allowing him to achieve more than 20 badges over four years.
Scout leaders approved Logan’s application to join the Alternative Eagle Scout Programme in November 2017, but said a day later they had decided the allowances previously made for his disabilities meant he was no longer eligible.
Logan Blythe, 15, (pictured in his Scout uniform, left, and with his father Chad, right) had been able to progress through the National Parks Council in Utah by taking part in a modified programme
His father, Chad, from Payton, Utah, sued the Boy Scouts of America and the Utah National Parks Council for a nominal $1, citing ‘outrageous and reckless conduct’.
Mr Blythe told DailyMail.com: ‘Logan was so disappointed and upset when he heard he would not be able to get the badge.
‘I don’t understand – it makes no sense to me at all. If we had been told this fact up front before we began the whole process we would have of course acted differently.
‘But to have the elation and the excitement of reaching all the way to the top and then that be yanked away from us is infuriating.’
Mr Blythe was angry the Scouts did not warn Logan he would not be able to complete the Eagle programme before he put in his application. Logan is pictured being awarded one of his badges
Mr Blythe was angry the Scouts did not warn Logan he would not be able to complete the Alternative Eagle Scout Programme before he put in his application.
The scheme aims to allow young people with disabilities to carry out alternative tasks where they are unable to achieve the standard badge.
When Mr Blythe asked if there were alternatives Logan could try, he was told that participants ‘must do the requirements as written, including leadership responsibilities’.
And in the future Mr Blythe wants the organisation to allow applicants to achieve the award if they meet its requirements as fully as they are physically able to.
‘We just want to have them add a simple phrase to their requirements to say “to the best of the boy’s ability”,’ he said.
‘There are so many kids out there that are doing their dead level best.
‘We understand there are things he won’t be able to achieve with Down’s syndrome and Autism.
‘So when you find something that you believe he can achieve in, like the Boy Scouts, you really grab hold of it.’
Mr Blythe said positive messages from supporters had persuaded him to continue with his legal bid.
‘We’ve had support all across the country and from other countries, including Great Britain,’ he added. ‘We’ve been thrilled to see the outpouring of compassion.’
Mr Blythe (pictured with Logan) told DailyMail.com: ‘Logan was so disappointed and upset when he heard he would not be able to get the badge’
Logan’s mother, Diane Blythe, shows the Boy Scout merit badges her son Logan earned during an interview in Salt Lake City, Utah
The Utah National Parks Council told KSL TV: ‘We are moved by this young man’s desire to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.
‘We’ve worked closely with this young man and his family to attain the benefits of the Scouting program and are committed to continuing to do so. The Eagle Scout Award is a national award.
‘Final decisions regarding the Eagle requirements are made at the National BSA level. Since its founding in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America has served youth members with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities.
‘Through the Disability Awareness Committee, the BSA enables youth to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.
‘The Utah National Parks Council stands ready to assist all Scouts and their families who, despite extraordinary circumstances, have the desire to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.’
DailyMail.com has contacted the Boy Scouts of America for comment.
Mr Blythe said positive messages from supporters had persuaded him to continue with his legal bid. He is pictured left with Diane and Logan
The Utah National Parks Council said: ‘We are moved by this young man’s desire to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.’ Pictured: Chad and Logan