A Parent (or Guardian) is still in control of a child, no matter what the volunteer may want.

A question posed on an Ask the Expert page has a very simple answer a very simple question.

The question asked was; must we allow adults into closed youth meetings? The simple answer is yes. There are no other answers available, no other answers to be considered, there is no other answer.

There may be other issues from various perspectives. However, we are talking about parental rights and minors.

You cannot keep a parent out of a meeting where their child is.

You can try to explain the issues; you can have the children discuss the issues with the parents. You can try anything but there is nothing else you can do other than talk and educate.

Look at this position from that of a parent. An adult is trying to tell me that I cannot go in that room where my child is. In my mind, the only real issue is will the parent slow down when they knock over the adult standing in their way.

The parent will have a lot of questions. What is going on behind that door? What is the adult trying to hide? What type of organization is my child in?

The question occurs when adults are attempting to give youth the freedom to make their own decisions and/or plan their own future. Adults intimidate and have a very difficult time staying out of the way. However, keeping adults from the room only creates additional barriers between the youth and adults. They believe that the only way they can accomplish anything is to bar adults.

The issue is not how to train the youth. The issue is how to educate and/or train the adults.

Parents need to be told both their child and by the adult volunteers what the purpose of the meeting or other function is and why they are requesting limited adult interaction. The meeting has to be done in a way that parents feel secure for their children. Finally, the meeting must be done so to protect the youth themselves and that youth protection guidelines are violated.

See Ask the Expert: Is it a violation of BSA policy to have “closed” meetings?

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