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Family of Down syndrome boy sues Boy Scouts for revoking son's merit badges

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(Image source: KSL-TV video screenshot)

The father of a Boy Scout has filed a lawsuit against the national organization after it refused to accept his 15-year-old son, who has Down syndrome and autism, into its Alternative Eagle Scout program, KSL-TV reported.

The organization also voided every merit badge Logan Blythe has earned in the Utah County Chapter of the Boy Scouts over the past four years.

The lawsuit filed in the 4th District Court in Utah County is seeking $1 in damages and Logan's reinstatement and accommodations within the Boy Scouts organization, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Attorney Ted McBride, who is representing the Blythe family, said he hopes the lawsuit will help overturn the policy that "allows discriminations."

What happened?

Last fall, the Blythe family submitted Logan's Eagle Scout project to Utah National Parks Council, Utah’s chartered Boy Scouts of America partner.

The project was approved Nov. 9 by local officials.

But the next day, Chad Blythe received an email stating that the national group had suspended Logan's project and voided all the merit badges he earned as a Boy Scout because he didn't meet the requirements of each badge.

Logan's chapter and his father had given Logan accommodations for his disability to help him earn his badges.

"For example, if a task is cooking and the instructions are to pour a cup of flour, Logan won't stop pouring," Chad Blythe told Yahoo. "In situations like that, the local chapter has awarded him a badge regardless, for his effort."

Until November, there had been no reported issues with allowing Logan's accommodations.

“All those [badges], he just literally did the best he could, and our local leaders accepted it and were happy with it,” Chad Blythe said.

Chad Blythe said the Boy Scouts' "outrageous and reckless conduct" amounts to discrimination and the family has suffered emotional distress because of it.

In a Facebook post, the boy's father wrote, "Sadly there is no one merit badge that Logan can complete the requirements for."

What was Logan's Eagle Scout project?

Logan was planning to make kits with blankets and onesies for infants with special needs and give them to hospitals.

Boy Scouts must earn 21 merit badges as well as complete an approved Eagle Scout Project to attain the rank of Eagle Scout.

What did the Boy Scouts say?

Boy Scouts of America spokeswoman Effie Delimarkos told the Tribune that Logan is still welcome to participate in Boy Scouts and denies that there has been any discrimination.

Delimarkos said the organization offered the Blythes “a path to earning alternative merit badges based on [Logan’s] abilities” and extended the amount of time to complete the requirements.

Scouts must meet the requirements for Eagle rank by age 18.

Chad Blythe said his son, who has limited verbal skills and other developmental delays, wouldn't be able to meet the requirements even with the modifications offered.

What else?

“The Boy Scouts have lost their way,” McBride told KSL-TV. "The Boy Scouts have made accommodations for those who identify as transgender, they have even accepted girls into the Boy Scouts, and they are going to fight this? For what? To protect the prestigious Eagle Scout badge?"

Logan's father said he would like one thing added to the badge requirements.

“It’s just a simple sentence: To the best of the boy’s ability,” he said. “That’s it.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the Blythe family with legal fees.

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