Youth Activities-adult Sponsors

Adult Sponsors---

My daughter was running for a state office in a nationally known organization. Since she was a council member of this organization she was actively involved in the planning of the evenings' activities.
Midway through the evening, 8:30 p.m. during the social event, one of the adult counselors walked over to her and asked her to follow her to meet with the remaining adult counselors. A total of seven counselors (employees of the state affiliate) were gathered around a table when she was brought into the room. It was then she learned why. She was accused of drinking at the social function (a dance). She stated she had not been....

Over four hours of interrogation followed... with these adult counselors refusing to allow her to contact her parents or anyone else. One of her best friends could see through the glass and contacted her mother who lived nearby to come over as our daughter was distraught and sobbing. The mother was turned away. The constant accusations and belittling interrogation while calling in a campus officer for a breath test, then threatening her and not allowing the breathe test...was constant confusion. Almost three hours later, our daughter started vomiting and needed to be taken out of the room, walked down the hall where other youth watched. One of the adult counselors used this later stating our daughter had to be drinking because she vomited. She was ill from the stress and sobbing. The head counselor was brought into the room and she was told all she had to do was admit to the accusations, resign from the election and she would be free to go. She kept asking for a phone call to contact us, her parents. They denied her that until she made a decision.

Even though the accusations were unfounded and untrue, she agreed to resign so she could contact us and be allowed to leave the room. She was then allowed to call us at 1 AM to explain briefly what had transpired. We left immediately for the destination and to visit with the counselors. We believed our daughter as the accusations were totally out of character for her. When we arrived we saw our daughter huddled in one corner of the large room, while the adult counselors were sitting around two tables. They proceeded to explain the rules to us that since she has been drinking she could not run in the election; but, they would not punish her by taking away a nationally recognized award previously awarded that day. They also stated in unison they would write letters of recommendation for her character and it was not their intent to harm her only remove her from office. We kept asking them what evidence they had, they had none...they were going off of what another state member (youth) informed them. None of this made any sense to her father or me but we finally stated we would stand by our daughter's wishes. She stated she was tired (almost 3 AM by this time) and just wanted it over. She agreed to resign from the election. Immediately, and I mean immediately one of the adult counselors jumped up with joy and said, "Go tell 'Susie' the position is hers, hurry go tell her so this is over". It then became very obvious our daughter was railroaded out....we later found out 'Susie' had not turned in her paperwork to run for office and therefore could not be on the election ballot. The only way she could run was to be appointed by the counselors in the absence of another. “Susie” then ran in the election as a senior council member the next day and won.

I still cannot believe all of this happened. It was indeed a traumatizing event for a 16 year old who had never been in trouble before for anything and to be wrongfully excused--even threatened with arrest and told that would jeopardize her future college scholarships.

Little did we know the worse of the situation was not over.....
She withdrew into herself immediately following the incident... then began having nightmares continually and could not sleep. She said she wanted to work it through on her own--after two weeks of her awakening in a sweat and terrified I called the doctor. He diagnosed her with Post-Traumatic Stress and she was placed on an anti-anxiety prescription. It was then that her father and I got very mad and sought out the advice of an attorney. The attorney stated because this was a state affiliated association, he did not think we would get anywhere at all. Had we been smarter, we would have picked up our daughter immediately from the facility, went to the ER and had a blood test done for alcohol content. We would have had the proof to rebuke their accusations. Now it was just our word. My guess is the adult counselors would have backed off if we would of had the smarts to state we were having this test ran.
She spent six months on anti-anxiety drugs and do this day (3 years following) still suffers occasionally with relapses when she is stressed out.
The following year we went back to the doctor to ask if this would be a reoccurring issue, (post-traumatic stress). He stated she probably has not had closure on the situation and encouraged her to talk with a counselor. She wanted to talk with someone in the organization and went to her local office where she asked to meet privately with the head counselor who was present that evening and witnessed a portion of the other counselors behavior. She wanted to tell her what affect this had all had in her life and how important it was that other young people would not be treated so badly. A meeting at a restaurant was arranged and the local representative went with our daughter, she told the counselor what she needed to say and the counselor apologized for what had happened and the actions of the other adults. Our daughter did receive some closure and the nightmares are less frequent but she does seem to stress out more easily now, but who knows if this is a direct result.
I do know this; I have no respect for this organization, what it stands for or the leadership at a state level. The good thing is some of those same people (adult counselors) have either retired or moved on.

Maybe someone can learn from this situation---your thoughts!!

AFairLady AFairLady
2 Responses Jul 13, 2010

Thank you for your kind remarks. We thought the same...and very surprised when we were told there was nothing we could do about it. <br />
According to one of the adult counselors, these type of unfair judgments against youth(s) happens more frequent than one could imagine.<br />
There is so many every aspect of our lives. Work, school, organizations, sports....probably anything that involves competition for a position, award, title, etc.

Talk about an unfair hearing. This wasn't so much a hearing as a kangaroo court designed to intimidate your daughter into resigning. She was given what seems like no due process & no chance to clear her name whatsoever.<br />
<br />
What an awful thing to happen to you all, especially her daughter. I can only hope she continues to recover from this, not that it'll be easy.