Jewish Day School Rejects Boy Scouts Policy Towards Gays and Lesbians

October 26, 2012 12:14 pm 7 comments

Boy Scouts of America emblem Photo: Wikipedia

The Gold Ochs Academy is taking a stand for the rights of gays and lesbians. According to a report on the New Jersey Jewish News website, the conservative Jewish day school in West Orange will not renew its Boy Scouts charter for 2013 because of the organization’s policy to ban gays and lesbians from their group.

The school has acted as charter organization for Boy Scout Troop 118, started in 1995, and Boy Scout Pack 118 for younger boys, which began a few years earlier.

After a confidential, two-year review, the Boy Scouts reaffirmed their ban on gays and lesbians in July, citing support from most scout members and their families. The Scouts’ national spokesman, Deron Smith, told The Associated Press at the time that the decision “is absolutely the best policy” for the 102-year-old organization.

The NJJN reports that head of school Joyce Raynor wrote in a letter to parents, dated Oct. 17, “[T]he scouts represent a problematic image for many families.” She also said the policy of the BSA “to exclude same-sex families from membership and adult volunteerism is in direct contradiction of School policies, which place high value on inclusion […] It has been decided that GOA cannot act as the sponsor organization until that national policy changes.”

The article also notes that “Scout master Mike Schatzberg and assistant Scout master Rabbi Lisa Vernon, who head up Troop 118 and Pack 118, were not critical of the school’s decision. GOA leaders ‘have been above board with us the whole time and told us they were seriously considering this step,’” said Vernon. In an interview, both referred to BSA’s policy toward homosexuals as “terrible” and “egregious.”

7 Comments

  • Excluding homosexuals is discrimination and if you were gay, you would feel that way. I wonder how selfish political activism feels for those who are put down, and made to feel their sexual preferences are wrong? I wonder whether it isn’t a good idea for children to learn to celebrate diversity and not put labels on each other that become divisive and hateful and worse. I wonder at times what’s good for children vs. what we teach them that has to do with closing doors to learning about others, that is judgmental, unkind, and worse. We have a huge bullying problem in our society, and those who are marginalized feel it. Many young people commit suicide over issues like this, as in, being made to feel less than, somehow wrong, when their bodies just aren’t made the same way, as the majority, that denigrates their choices.

  • Please don’t confuse homosexuality with pedophilia. They are unrelated phenomena.

  • As someone who believes in scouting was an adult leader for 12+ years in a troop that averaged 15 to 20 new Eagles per year (140 scouts), and who is the father of an Eagle Scout, I am proud of the Academy for taking a stand. I would rather they gave BSA a 1 year notice though for the boys.
    However, those who are saying that they are effectively shutting down the troop give little credit to leaders tho could easily find another charter org among the many Rotary, Kiwanis, Lyons Clubs or churches in that town.
    Secondly I applaud Gold Oachs for its principles and for setting an example in the world. I wish, hope and encourage other charter orgs would give notice to the National BSA that they too will be dropping the program unless the policy is changed.
    BSA has and continues to dumb down the program in ways which eliminate a lot of accomplishment. I have been a merit badge counselor for many badges and the changes which they continue to make are reflective of a society which does not require the best from its citizens.

  • Bowing to political pressure, the Ochs Academy is depriving boys of a program that’s designed to teach them, while they’re having fun, the leadership, self-reliance, and moral values skills they’re going to need in their adult lives.

    Excluding homosexuals is not discrimination. There is simply no basis for the assertion that no gays is the same thing as no Blacks.

  • I see the liberals are punishing the children. The Boy Scouts, as a private origination, has the right to admit who they please.
    I am sure these children will find another Troop and Pack that will be happy to have them.

  • David Gottenberg

    Thanks to Gold Ochs Academy (Solomon Schechter High School of West Orange)selfish political activism has effectively shut down the Boy Scout Troop 118.

  • rodney allsworth

    there cant be better hunting grounds for homosexuals than the scouts, I applaud those who made these decisions in favour of banning the prowling of homos among such vulnerable age groups both boys and girls.

    rod qld aust

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