Boy Scouts Say Utah Teen with Down Syndrome Can Pursue Eagle Scout Rank

Logan Blythe's father sued the group after a local troop allegedly told him it was asked to suspend his approval process.

Published March 22, 2018

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A 15-year-old Utah boy's path to becoming an Eagle Scout was the subject of a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America that has now led to the organization's signaling a willingness to adjust its policy.

Logan Blythe's father, Chad Blythe, sued the BSA for $1 for preventing the teen, who is autistic and has Down syndrome, from pursuing Eagle status. According to Blythe, the Utah County Scouts troop initially had no problem with the plan the family proposed for his son to become an Eagle Scout. But a day later, he said, a troop leader e-mailed him:

I have been asked to suspend Logan's Eagle Project approval. Please do not do any more work on his project.

But the BSA denied this allegation to us in an e-mail:

The National Council of the Boy Scouts of America does not oversee the review of Eagle Scout projects, and therefore did not deny a request regarding the completion of an Eagle Scout project.

The group's web site states that Eagle Scout applications are submitted to a local council group. That council then convenes a review board. If approved, the local council sends the scout's application to what the BSA calls its "National Advancement Program Team" for validation and production of materials recognizing the scout's advancement to Eagle Scout rank.

The page also says that "Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, Venturers, or Sea Scouts who have disabilities may qualify for limited flexibility in advancement," but adds:

Alternatives are not available for the Star, Life, and Eagle rank requirements. Scouts may request approval for alternative merit badges, but the other requirements for those three ranks must be fulfilled as written.

It is important to remember that the advancement program is meant to challenge our members; however, not all of them can achieve everything they might want to — with or without a disability. It is for this reason all Scouts are required to meet the requirements as they are written, with no exceptions.

Blythe has said that while his son Logan, who has the cognitive abilities of a 4-year-old, earned several merit badges as part of the Utah County troop, he would not be able to fulfill several of the BSA's requirements for even alternative merit badges. On 20 March 2018, the BSA said in a statement:

We apologize for the confusion and want to be very clear: the option to earn the rank of Eagle Scout has been – and still is – available to Logan. We remain inspired by his dedication to Scouting, and we hope to continue working with Logan and his family to support him in the effort to earn the rank of Eagle Scout through the engagement of our National Disabilities Advancement Team.

The group said that the teen had not been demoted to Cub Scout status and would retain the badges he has earned. According to the statement, it would work directly with the Blythe family to help him develop an Eagle Scout progression path that would be "appropriate and empowering" for his living situation. The family's attorney, Ted McBride, released a statement of his own:

This statement contradicts their policies and actions. Look at their website. No accommodations for mental disabilities for those badges. If they are now going to change their policies, that's terrific. But no one has contacted me about this. It appears that they are more interested in spinning some positive press. If they were sincere, I would have expected them to call me and change their policy. Logan deserves an apology. Not a generic statement to the public which fails to state that they have no alternatives for him.

The BSA also told us that it has contacted the Blythe family.


Vowell, Nicole. "EXCLUSIVE: Family of Teen with Down Syndrome Suing Boy Scouts Over Eagle Scout Merit Policy."     KSTL-TV. 13 March 2018.

Boy Scouts of America. "Advancement Flexibility Allowed."

Schmidt, Samantha. "Boy Scouts Discriminated Against Utah Teenager with Down Syndrome, Lawsuit Says."     Washington Post. 21 March 2018.

Boy Scouts of America. "BSA Clears Up Misconceptions About Path to Eagle Scout Rank for Utah Scout With Down Syndrome."     20 March 2018.

Boy Scouts of America. "The Eagle Scout Rank."

KTRK-TV. "Dad Sues Boy Scouts After Merit Badges Revoked From Son With Down Syndrome."     21 March 2018.

Arturo Garcia is a former writer for Snopes.