Illinois PTA Clarifies Position on Chartering Scout Units

illinoispta-logoThe Illinois PTA does not allow PTAs to charter Scouting units, including Cub Scout Packs, Boy Scout Troops, and Venturing Crews. This has been a PTA position since 1990. The reasons for this prohibition are as follows.

  1. PTA insurance specifically excludes Scouting units. This means that your PTA’s insurance will not cover any Scouting-related claims or lawsuits.
  2. While the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) provides insurance to chartering organizations, it only covers approved Scouting activities. If a Scouting unit leader has Scouts participate in an activity that is either not allowed by the BSA or is not considered age-appropriate, neither the BSA insurance nor your PTA’s insurance would cover the liability. This means that local PTA unit leaders all the way up to National PTA could be subject to a lawsuit.
  3. BSA chartered organizations (e.g., the PTA) are required to assure that Scout leaders are suitable for their position and must review and sign off on each leader application. While BSA provides a criminal background check of all adult leaders, this is a potential liability for the PTA.
  4. BSA chartered organizations are to ensure appropriate facilities for the Scouting unit for its regular meetings. Since PTAs generally do not have facilities of their own, they cannot meet this requirement.
  5. Several requirements of a BSA chartered organization are in conflict with PTA bylaws; therefore PTAs cannot charter BSA units.

    1. The association shall be noncommercial, nonsectarian, and nonpartisan. While not specifically supporting any religion, BSA does require faith-based activities as part of its program. PTA is open to everyone who pays membership dues regardless of whether they have religious beliefs or not.
    2. The name of the association or names of any members in their official capacities shall not be used…for any purpose not appropriately related to the promotion of the Purposes of the association. While the BSA does great things for children, their activities are not related to PTA purposes and mission.
    3. The Illinois PTA or any of its divisions may cooperate with other organizations and agencies concerned with child welfare, but a PTA representative shall make no commitments as an individual that bind the group represented. The BSA chartered organization is to appoint a Chartered Organization Representative who serves on the local Scouting Council and the local Scouting district boards as well as district or Council committees.

The Boy Scouts of America is a fine organization with a distinguished history nearly as long as that of PTA. Their aims of citizenship, physical and mental fitness, and character development are ones that any PTA member would hope a child would develop as they grow. However, due to the reasons cited above, the Illinois PTA does not allow local PTA units to be the Chartered Organization for Scouting units and PTA leaders shall not sign any chartering or renewal agreements with the Boy Scouts of America.