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19th Circuit Court Drops Discriminatory Boy Scout Program- Illinois


March 8, 2003

http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/newssun/top/w08scoutout.htm

The 19th Judicial Circuit Court has discontinued its Boy Scout troop following concerns raised over the use of public funding to support the program.

Last March, atheist Rob Sherman, speaking before the Lake County Board, questioned the use of public funding to support the troop, noting the Boy Scouts discriminate against gays and have required participants to sign cards acknowledging that they believe in God.

More recently, the American Civil Liberties Union had called Lake County Circuit Court administrative officials with similar concerns.

"We're not going to have a Boy Scout troop. It's over," said Robert Zastany, executive director of court administration. "The membership charter has lapsed."

Zastany said the decision not to renew the court's affiliation with the Boy Scouts came after a staff study in which consensus was reached "to take a different direction."

Zastany said the decision was not the result of Rob Sherman's complaints, but he acknowledged that the call from the ACLU as a factor. ...

http://www.dailyherald.com/news_story.asp?intid=3768899

What began three years ago as part of a highly-publicized program to help troubled boys has been quietly dropped by the 19th Judicial Circuit Court.

The charter of Boy Scout Troop 19, based at the Depke Juvenile Justice Complex in Vernon Hills, was allowed to expire March 1 in response to concerns by the American Civil Liberties Union.

"We decided it probably would be best served not to continue," said Bob Zastany, executive director of the court's administrative office. "We thought we were doing some good things out there."

The ACLU and others, most notably Buffalo Grove resident and well-known atheist Rob Sherman, generally have questioned the use of public funds to operate what he once described as a "discriminatory private club."

Sherman was unable to be reached Friday for comment regarding Troop 19. Ed Yohnka, director of communications for the ACLU of Illinois, said this wasn't a new issue for the group. He said the court did the right thing.

"We've expressed concerns to a number of government agencies, including this particular court about their serving as a sponsor of an organization that has a discriminatory policy," he said.

The U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 ruled that as a private organization, the Boy Scouts can restrict its membership and leaders. The decision originated with a lawsuit by a gay Scout leader who was dismissed from a New Jersey troop. Atheists also are prohibited from joining. ...


http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/archives/newssun/2003/20030308_34.htm
By: Jim Newton

Court drops Scout program Uproar over funding: Call from ACLU factor in decision


The 19th Judicial Circuit Court has discontinued its Boy Scout troop following concerns raised over the use of public funding to support the program.Last March, atheist Rob Sherman, speaking before the Lake County Board, questioned the use of public funding to support the troop, noting the Boy Scouts discriminate against gays and have required participants to sign cards acknowledging that they believe in God.

More recently, the American Civil Liberties Union had called Lake County Circuit Court administrative officials with similar concerns."We're not going to have a Boy Scout troop. It's over," said Robert Zastany, executive director of court administration. "The membership charter has lapsed."

Zastany said the decision not to renew the court's affiliation with the Boy Scouts came after a staff study in which consensus was reached "to take a different direction."Zastany said the decision was not the result of Rob Sherman's complaints, but he acknowledged that the call from the ACLU as a factor.

Zastany said the court enjoyed working with the Boy Scouts and that he believes the troop was a positive influence on the troubled youth participating in the court's Face-It (Family and Community Engaged in Treatment) program. Those in the program are incarcerated in the Depke Juvenile Justice Center in Vernon Hills.Boy Scout Troop 19 was formed by the Face-It program in 2000. Zastany noted that participation in the troop was voluntary and parents were involved in the decision.

Following Sherman's comments, some officials, including former Circuit Court Judge Barbara Gilleran Johnson, had defended the troop, saying that it was a positive influence on youth exposed to gangs and drugs. Johnson, now an appellate judge, and others had suggested that private funding for the troop could be a possibility.

The loss of the troop does not spell the end of the Face-It program. Zastany said the program still includes outdoor activities and other programs.



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