Father of boy with autism, Down syndrome suing Boy Scouts, claiming discrimination
PAYSON, Utah (KTVU, KSTU) - The family of a Utah teenager, who has autism and Down syndrome is suing the Boy Scouts of America, after the boy was blocked from advancing to become an Eagle Scout.
Logan Blythe, 15, has been a Boy Scout for the past three years.
The merit badges he's earned along the way covers his Boy Scouts uniform sash.
Dad Chad Logan says that because of his son's disabilities the teen had to earn some of the 22 badges needed to advance to Eagle Scout rank with special accommodations made by the local Scouts chapter.
Back in November, the Utah National Parks Council approved Logan for the final project that would make him eligible to become an Eagle Scout, the highest ranking in the Scouts.
"The local people are like hey, let's go ahead and do this. That's why we went ahead and even tried any of this," Chad Blythe told KSTU Fox 13.
But it wasn't long before that approval was promptly blocked by the national leadership of the Boy Scouts.
The Boys Scouts of America determined that the allowances previously made for Logan's disabilities meant he did not officially fulfill the program's criteria.
Logan's father said that the decision effectively voided all of his son's badges.
"So that sash you see there full of merit badges, 22 merit badges are null and void in the eyes of the national Boy Scouts," Blythe said.
The Boy Scouts has released a statement on this case saying, "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."
But the teen's family says that offer won't help him become an Eagle Scout, noting that with every badge, he already gave it his all and performed to the best of his abilities.
"In this particular boy's case, this is as much as he can do. Let's accept that and give him the badge. Why, because he tried and did his best," the teen's dad said.
Blythe is calling the case the "definition of discrimination."
"What are they teaching with this? It's ok to discriminate?" he asked.
In their lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America Foundation, the Blythes are seeking at least $1 in damages and asking that the organization reinstate the teen and be accommodated within the Scouts.
Also named in the suit are the National Boy Scouts of American Foundation and the Utah National Parks Council.
The Utah National Parks Council expressed their support for Logan and his family but said ultimately the decision belonged to the Boys Scouts of America's national body.
The Blythes say they hope they can inspire change to benefit not just Logan but all kids with disabilities.
As for how Logan is handling all of this, his parents say it has deeply affected their child's passion for scouting.
"He's stopped going to meetings, he's no longer willing to put on the uniform," said his dad.