Logan Blythe dreamed of becoming an Eagle Scout, the highest rank in the Boy Scouts. But 15-year-old Logan has Down syndrome, and completing his Eagle Scout requirements posed a serious challenge.
Logan’s father, Chad Blythe, told The Washington Post that his son has “the cognitive abilities of a 4-year-old and is incapable of writing or holding an intelligible conversation.”
But this didn't stop Logan from pursuing his Eagle Scout goal.
Logan had been earning merit badges since joining his church's local Utah Boy Scouts and he was finally on the path toward earning the Boy Scouts of America Eagle Scout award. It took Logan nearly four years to earn his merit badges, which were earned by Logan completing the requirements “to the best of his ability.”
The Post reports that Logan’s Eagle Scout project, which would entail sewing kids for babies in hospitals, was accepted on November 9. Chad told The Post:
“We were all overjoyed. We were all happy that this was happening … not only for Logan but for his troop and for the Boy Scouts.
Logan received his sash in a Boy Scout ceremony and started his project.
But a day later, his father received an email from a local Scout official:
I have been asked to suspend Logan’s Eagle Project approval. Please do not do any more work on his project.
According to The Post, the local Scout officials submitted Logan's badges for review. The national Boy Scouts informed the local chapter that Eagle Scout requirements were not fulfilled.
The email read:
The young man MUST do the requirements as written, including leadership responsibilities. He also must be able to plan, develop, and carry out his Eagle Project. I sincerely apologize and regret any false hope we have given.
In order to become an Eagle Scout, Logan had to earn a total of 21 merit badges and demonstrate leadership through a volunteer task. Logan was stripped of his merit badges because some were earned through alternative requirements— Logan was no longer eligible for the Eagle Scout rank.
Chad is now suing the Boy Scouts of America for discriminating against Logan because of his disabilities. His suit alleges that the organization's actions were "outrageous and reckless and caused Logan and the Blythes significant mental and emotional distress.”
He is asking for damages of $1 — and reinstatement and accommodation within the Boy Scouts of America for his son.
According to the Boy Scouts of America website:
Alternatives are not available for the Star, Life, and Eagle rank requirements. Scouts may request approval for alternative merit badges, but the other requirements for those three ranks must be fulfilled as written. It is important to remember that the advancement program is meant to challenge our members; however, not all of them can achieve everything they might want to — with or without a disability. It is for this reason all Scouts are required to meet the requirements as they are written, with no exceptions.
The Boy Scouts of America responded to the allegations in a statement on Tuesday, which read:
We want to be clear — the option to earn the rank of Eagle Scout has been — and still is — available to Logan. We remain inspired by his dedication to Scouting, and we hope to continue working with Logan and his family to support him in the effort to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. The process of achieving the Eagle Scout rank is rigorous for any Scout, but it is designed so that accommodations can be made for Scouts with disabilities or special needs. The National Disabilities Advancement Team wants to work directly with the Blythe family to review what Logan has accomplished based on his abilities and help determine a path to earn the Eagle Scout rank that is both appropriate and empowering for him.
Logan's father said Boy Scouts officials have not directly responded to the lawsuit.