Opposition to the Boy Scouts of America’s recent decisions to allow girls and transgender boys to join the 108-year-old youth development program boiled over in Purcellville last week, putting another storied institution—104-year-old Nichols Hardware Store—in an unwanted spotlight.
The controversy erupted Friday when a store employee berated and kicked out a Boy Scout who was asking for a donation to his troop.
A customer witnessed the confrontation and described it on her Facebook account.
“The Nichols employee guy behind the counter raises his voice and says ‘absolutely not and get out,’” Carlyn Davis wrote. “He told them…’we will not support you and you need to leave,’” she added.
According to Davis’ post, the employee then told her, “You know they let homos in, right? … We do not support homos around here, I can tell you that.”
In response to the incident, Nichols management on Tuesday posted on its Facebook page that it had fired the employee.
“The Nichols Hardware family regrets that this even has come to pass. The employee in question has been terminated and his views certainly do not reflect those of Nichols Hardware. And, also, the family, who has been in Loudoun County since 1742, and which expresses tolerance in all areas of life, deeply regrets any disrespect to any organization or person,” Nichols management wrote.
Aaron Chusid, the chief communications officer for the Boy Scouts of America’s National Capital Area Council, said he doesn’t like to hear that someone lost his job, but that the Boy Scouts are grateful that Nichols responded so quickly.
“It’s unfortunate when someone’s passion gets in the way of their best possible behavior,” he said.
While last week’s incident in Purcellville could be indicative of public resentment in some quarters toward the Boy Scouts’ decision to be more inclusive, Chusid said he and the organization as a whole are hopeful that these kinds of reactions will soon come to an end.
“I think a lot of people are concerned right now because they don’t understand what we’re trying to accomplish with family scouting,” he said. “Once people see the program in action, a lot of their concerns will go away.”
In fact, scout leaders from across the nation will be learning more about the Boy Scouts’ recent expansion during the organization’s National Annual Meeting this week Dallas, TX.
The Boy Scouts of America, which oversees both the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, announced three weeks ago that it would change the name of its Boy Scouts program to Scouts BSA in February to reflect its October 2017 decision to include girls.
Chusid said individual Boy Scout troops and Cub Scout dens will have the ability to decide whether they allow girls to join.
In 2013, the Boy Scouts of America announced that homosexual scouts would be allowed to join. In January 2017, it announced that transgender children also would be allowed to do so.