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Woman Loses Another Round In Bid To Become Scoutmaster

July 6, 1987

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ The Connecticut Supreme Court on Monday affirmed the right of the Boy Scouts of America to deny positions of leadership to women, ruling against a grandmother who has been involved with scouts for 37 years.

The ruling came in the case of Catherine N. Pollard of Milford, who first asked to become a scoutmaster in 1974. The Boy Scouts turned her down, saying boys need male role models.

The Supreme Court upheld last year’s ruling by a Superior Court judge who said boys need men for guidance ″in the difficult process of maturing to adulthood.″

The high court also concluded that the state’s public accommodation laws did not require the scouts to give Pollard the scoutmaster post. The laws prevent discrimination on the basis of sex, race, or handicap in public places.

Mrs. Pollard said she was disappointed but not surprised at the ruling and was considering an appeal.

″I’ve gone too far now to back down,″ she said. ″If it’s possible for me to go a step higher, I will do so. I still feel that the Boy Scouts are wrong.″

Boy Scout spokesman Frank Hebb said he would have no comment until officials had read the decision.

Mrs. Pollard, who has been involved with the Boy Scouts since 1950, ran a scout troop from October 1973 to January 1975 because no men had volunteered. Her formal application for scoutmaster status was denied by the Boy Scouts in 1974 and in 1976.

The state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities ruled in 1984 that Mrs. Pollard could be a scoutmaster, touching off the court case.

The Boy Scouts say women can run its Cub Scout troops for 7-year-old boys and girls and Explorer troops for boys over 15.

But women cannot lead the Webelo program for 10-year-old boys or the Boy Scout program for boys 11 through 14, said Connecticut Boy Scouts official Kenneth Prowse.

Mrs. Pollard, interviewed last year after the Superior Court ruling, rejected the role-model argument.

″Who models the male in the first place?″ she asked. ″The mothers do. The fathers are out working. ... When you have a given ability to lead young people, you should be able to do it.″

Women should be able to fill all Boy Scouts’ posts or none of them, she said.

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