In Brief

Scouts pay boy £42,000 over autism discrimination

The Scout Association says it has begun investigating Ben Gleeson’s case

A cub scout group has paid an 11-year-old boy £42,000 in compensation after being accused of discriminating him because of his autism.

Ben Gleeson joined the 10th Harpenden Scout Group in Hertfordshire in 2015 but was later told that he wasn’t allowed to go to camps or participate in athletics without supervision.

In March 2016, Gleeson became distressed at a camp and attempted to run away from the rest of the group after he was told to change into a pair of shoes he couldn’t find. At a later point, he said he did not want to join an egg-and-spoon race because of a phobia of spoons.

The pack leaders said Gleeson would not be able to travel with the rest of the group on a bus and that he had to have one-to-one supervision at events — for the health and safety of the pack.

Gleeson’s parents claimed these actions were similar to a ban. The dispute was settled out of court last year.

Beverly Gleeson, Ben’s mother, told the BBC: “Pretty much every event had to be supervised on a one-to-one basis, which I felt wasn't inclusive.

“He'd made one mistake and then that was it, they wanted to make the rules and regulations. It was supposed to be a dialogue.”

The scout group disputed several of the family’s claims, but the wider association said they had apologised and begun an investigation.

In a statement, the Scout Association said: “We are very sorry that Ben and his family were not supported as they should have been by their cub scout pack, and we have made a personal apology to them.”

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