Dad Sues Boy Scouts for Revoking 22 Merit Badges From His Son With Down Syndrome

Logan Blythe boy scout with down syndrome
Chad Blythe/Facebook

Earlier this year, the Boy Scouts made news for fostering inclusivity within its ranks by allowing girls to join. But after a 15-year-old Boy Scout with Down syndrome was stripped of his merit badges and denied the rank of Eagle Scout due to his special needs, the organization is being sued by a father who doesn't believe it's done enough to make Boy Scouts more accessible to disabled kids.

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Chad Blythe told Scary Mommy that his 15-year-old son Logan has been a Boy Scout since he was 8 years old. Since the beginning of his time as a Scout, Logan has worked tirelessly to earn all of the merit badges required to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. The teen, who has Down syndrome, and his parents were assured by local Boy Scout leaders in Utah that his developmental delays and limited verbal skills wouldn't hinder him from earning his badges or ascending up the ranks. In order to help him in his quest, local scoutmasters modified badge requirements to make them more accessible to Logan. 

On November 9, Logan submitted his official Eagle Scout project -- which involved his giving care kits to newborns at local hospitals -- and turned it in to the Utah National Parks Council. Local Scout officials approved the project and the 15-year-old was just steps away from being an official Eagle Scout. But the next day, Chad Blythe got an email from Utah National Parks Employee Debby Robert, saying that Logan's project had not only been rejected but that he had been officially stripped of all 22 of his hard-earned merit badges as well. 

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the rejection was due to the fact that Logan needed to "plan, develop, and carry out" the project on his own. "I never should have allowed this to be approved for the above reasons," Robert's email said. "I sincerely apologize and regret any false hope we have given."

Logan Blythe eagle award
Chad Blythe/Facebook

The group decided to take Logan's badges because he didn't follow the requirements exactly as written to earn them, his father told the Salt Lake Tribune.

“All those [badges], he just literally did the best he could, and our local leaders accepted it and were happy with it," the devastated father told the paper. 

Blythe told Fox 13 that his son's Down syndrome greatly affects his ability to carry out the exact tasks the Boy Scouts require to earn merit badges. Even things like learning how to swim -- which is a Boy Scout badge -- can be especially difficult. "I need to be able to ask, 'Logan, dive to the bottom of the pool buddy, can you grab that?' He won't do it. Why? Because his mental state is the equivalent of a 4-year-old," he shared. 

In a statement made to Fox 13, the Boy Scouts of America Foundation said, "We worked with the committee and the Blythe family to offer Logan a path to earning alternative merit badges based on his abilities, as well as the option to work toward his Eagle rank past the age of 18." 

Still, Blythe says that its efforts weren't good enough. "There are plenty of instances where there are kids out there that just can't do certain things, that doesn't mean they get excluded from it."

logan blythe boy scouts eagle award
Chad Blythe/Facebook

Hoping to encourage the Boy Scouts to reverse its decision to strip Logan of his badges as well as pave the way for the organization to overturn a policy that discriminates against kids with disabilities, Chad Blythe is suing. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the family is suing the Boy Scouts of America Foundation, the National Boy Scouts of America Foundation, and the Utah National Parks Council as well as individuals working on the council. 

Blythe is only asking for $1 in damages, but he wants his son to have his badges reinstated and he wants for him, and other disabled kids, to be properly accommodated in the organization.  

After having his badges stripped away and his dream of being an Eagle Scout crushed, Logan Blythe hasn't felt up to attending Boy Scouts meetings. His father says that the 15-year-old is completely devastated to have something he worked so hard for taken away. "He won't put on his scout uniform now," he told the paper. "He doesn't want to go near it."

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