An old thread, but I have a "ticket" item to look for on-line threads on Boy Scout knife policy and reply to them. Fishstalker said the magic words: "Fixed blades are outlawed by the BSA."
First, basic to Scouting is the notion that we are to help rear youth to make good decisions. "The basis of all our moral training is trust." That being so, "zero tolerance" rules in Scouting are highly suspect and need to be justified as they violate basic Scouting principles. The rationalization for prohibiting fixed-blade knives is that, thirty-five years ago, Scouts started "carrying" "Rambo" knives. If that were true, and I do not recall seeing it, the Scouting response would be a meeting of the senior boy leaders to craft a rule about what knife is reasonable within the context of the Scouting program.
Next, BSA's written policy discourages, but does not prohibit, "large" sheath knives as "heavy and awkward to carry, and unnecessary for most camp chores except for cleaning fish." Note that safety is not mentioned.
Also note that BSA recognizes an obligation to teach the safe use of all legally-owned knives. Fixed-blade knives, if not carried concealed, are for the most part legal to not just own but also carry in most areas. We cannot meet our obligation to teach the safe use of a tool if the tool is banned by a wrong-headed zero tolerance rule. As almost every home has fixed-blade knives, we need to get busy teaching, not issuing zero tolerance decrees.
Finally, in 2008, the Boy scouts of America published the following commentary:
"The best type of knife for camping trips — and most any other outdoor activity, for that matter — is a short, fixed-blade knife with a beefy handle.
Folding pocketknives can fold up on your hand while cutting. Not fixed blades. And remember: When it comes to blades, bigger isn’t always better. Avoid blades longer than four inches. A small, sharp blade can cut just as well as a long one, but it’s safer to handle and easier to maneuver in tight spots. With a good fixed blade you’ll be set for most anything the outdoors can throw at you — whittling, cutting, notching, butchering, filleting, even spreading peanut butter."
Boy's Life, June, 2008.
In conclusion, while B.S.A. allows units and Councils (but not districts, which are not entities but merely administrative subdivisions of councils with no authority to promulgate any rules) to create rules on fixed-blade knives, a rule absolutely prohibiting them is clearly contrary to the B.S.A. statements quoted above. It would be more appropriate if the zero tolerance crowd got with the program.