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Alabama Scoutmaster Dismisses Bullying of Black Scout by White Peers ‘Things Happen’

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Boy scouts from Troop 351, St Charles, Missouri visit the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church is shown Friday, June 19, 2015, in Birmingham, Ala. (Washington Post Photo/Hal Yeager)

The Boy Scouts of America in Alabama teased a 14-year-old boy of Ethiopian immigrants in the midst of a camping trip at Camp Woodruff in Georgia around mid-June.

The young Black boy scout was called a “nigger” and hit with rocks by other scouts according to one of the mothers.

“It upsets me that this is that boy’s summer camp memory,” Leanne Potts told Al.Com. “The members of Troop 76 [Alabama Boy Scouts] had thrown rocks.”

The teen of Troop 10 [Georgia Boy Scouts] and his mother who asked to remain unidentified confirmed that the incident did occur during the boy’s camp stay. Some of the Alabama scouts went as far as wearing “Make America Great Again” caps.

Matt Rendahl, the director of camping for Camp Woodruff said, “We definitely knew there was an incident.”

He added, “We did have some bullying issues… We certainly have policies and procedures to combat bullying to try and reduce things like that from happening. We as adults need to help build them into good citizens.” He said that the scoutmasters handled the situations and one of the boys from Troop 76 could have possibly been sent home.

However, the scoutmaster of the Alabama group, Dr. Rob Spiegel, said the racial situation involving the Black boy scout is being blown out of proportion and also denied that rocks were thrown at him.

“Things happen at camp,” Spiegel told the news source. “There’s a lot of misinformation.”

He continued, “We have African-American kids in our own group,” Spiegel said. “I don’t think it’s a story. I’ve seen a lot worse things happen at camp.”

The senior pastor of “Liberty Crossings United Methodist Church” Rev. Wade Griffith, who sponsors the “Alabama Boy Scouts of America” released a statement addressing the racial occurrence.

“What happened was very regrettable and is absolutely inconsistent with the values and high ideals of scouting and, more importantly, the United Methodist Church… I am thankful that the Troop leadership acted decisively to evaluate the situation and to punish those responsible,” Griffith wrote. “We are a church that is dedicated to loving God and loving ALL people. As such, we strive to be a safe place for any person to come and seek God through worship, study, and service.”

Leaders from Troop 10 have yet to comment on the incident.

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