Twins Say Long Ordeal Was Worth It, But . . . : Reaction: They're elated at being allowed to rejoin Cub Scouts, but for now they want to escape the media crush and schoolyard taunts. They'll play hooky today.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

For a year and a half, 10-year-old twins Michael and William Randall have been in the spotlight wherever they went.

In the courtroom where the twins are battling the Boy Scouts of America, and down the court corridor, reporters and photographers mobbed them with endless questions.

On the street, strangers did double-takes when they recognized the well-publicized cherubic faces, and encouraged them to continue the fight.

And in the schoolyard, a crush of classmates taunted them for their atheism.

"We don't mind answering the questions from people and stuff," Michael said Thursday outside a Santa Ana courtroom. "But when we reach school, it all falls apart. The kids would make fun of us and call us names. That hurts."

So when a judge ruled Thursday that the Cub Scouts, which had kicked the boys out last year because they wouldn't swear an oath to God, must readmit them, all the twins wanted to do was to go in hiding.

They were giddy with excitement that the judge had ruled in their favor. But they also were so exhausted, they said, that they would not go through the hoopla again if given the chance.

"I don't regret any of this," William said. "I just wouldn't do it again, that's all."

The twins said they also hated the nerve-racking waiting.

"I don't like sitting in a courtroom and sweating like crazy waiting for the judge and listening to everyone saying the same thing over and over," William said. "That really bugged me."

"What I don't like the second-most," his brother added, "was the name-calling from the kids at school."

William chimed in: "The names hurt and make me so angry and I don't think of them and don't remember what they are."

On Thursday, even before knowing what the court would decide, and with their parents' hearty approval, the boys made plans to play hooky today and go to their grandparents' for the weekend. They're not ready yet, they said, to face the kids at school and the media at their door.

But before leaving for their undisclosed hide-out, the twins talked briefly about how their lives have changed since February, 1991, when their father filed a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America charging that their civil rights had been violated.

After the filing, the boys were bombarded with media requests for interviews. The subsequent publicity didn't faze them. Their parents, James and Valerie Randall, had forewarned them. So for over a year, Michael and William talked to various media and were even featured in People magazine.

The twins haven't yet thought about what their legal victory could mean to future litigation against Boy Scouts of America. All they know right now is that today they're taking a day off from school. And next week they will go about rejoining the Cub Scouts.

They're looking forward to donning their uniforms, but both adamantly say they will not rejoin their old pack in Anaheim Hills. Instead, they're going to join "a friend's pack in Tustin," they said, without naming the friend or the pack.

"They treated us badly," William said of the leaders of their former den, Pack 519. "We'll start over with people we like."

Anyway, added William, "the Boy Scouts of America owes me some arrow points and merit badges, and I'm ready to go get them."

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