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Alexandra Esser

EDUW 695 Ethics and Issues in Education


September 27, 2014
Ethical Issues Journal
Entry 1
Facts:
It was my first year of teaching and I had not traveled with students before
In the fall, students from Germany each stayed with a high school student for two weeks,
and the goal was for those host students to stay with their partners in Germany the
following June for two weeks.
All students signed up for the trip hosted in the fall except for the following students:
o One sophomore girl who had a family member with Autism
o One junior girl who was screened from hosting because of a bad home/parent
situation
o One senior boy who was not taking German anymore, but been my teachers
assistant for one semester.
I initially asked the senior boy to participate in order to have 15 students traveling in
order to get a discount from the airlines (we ultimately did not have 15 students even if
he were to go)
The boy was signed up for my class but dropped after the first day
A week later he asked to be my teachers assistant for the semester for the same hour he
dropped on the first day
His father is a very prominent and wealthy person in the community
During the time as teachers assistant he rolled his eyes at me and gave the impression
that I was bothering him every time I asked him to do something
When I asked him to count money for German club he told me it was not his job and
the treasurer of German club should do this
I spoke with him after the weekend about how this refusal looks like his questioning my
authority and that I would not be comfortable taking him on the trip, though still allowed
him to come
I told the principal about the previous 3 points and that I had an uneasy feeling about him
going to Germany, though I had no proof to prevent him from coming
The boy, principal and I all met and told him that because he would already have
graduated when we went and that he did not take German class with him, nor did he host
in the fall, he would no longer be eligible to go on the trip
His parents were unhappy with this choice but ultimately went with it and the trip money
was fully refunded

Ethical Issue: Was it right of me to decide not to take this student on the trip to Germany?
Arguments:
Yes

No

-He would already have graduated


-He demonstrated he had a problem with
authority and removing him from the
situation is a good punishment
(incarceration)
-I had never had him as a student and
did not know him as well as the others
-He was used to getting what he wanted
-I needed to send a message for what
allowed/prevented students to go on this
trip (deterrence)
-He hadnt hosted a student though he
could have
-A senior girl going on the trip was
graduated but had hosted in the fall
-I had never heard him speak German
-I had a bad feeling about him coming
and wanted to be sure he would listen to
me
-He had the chance to talk to me and the
principal, and to defend himself on his
own and with his father in the room
(due process)
-My decision was not arbitrary
-I spent a lot of time contemplating my
decision and talking to the principal
before we made the decision

-He had not done anything dangerous


-All students should have the chance to
travel abroad
-His father was a well-known and
respected member of the community
-A bad feeling is not grounds to
prevent someone from travelling with us
-There were other students who did not
host
-He was putting his own money towards
the trip
-He was interested in going though he
did not take German from me
-He put in the work as a teachers
assistant
-My decision was somewhat capricious
-Letting him go would have given him a
chance for rehabilitation

Ethical Decision:
I made the right decision to not take the student on the trip. When I started this case
analysis I thought it would reaffirm my choice to not take the student rather than have me
honestly consider the alternative. Some of the reasons I questioned my decision were that I had
no hard or valid evidence of the student doing anything outside of the school guidelines that
would prevent him from going. Letting him go on the trip and experience another culture from

living with a family would also have given him the opportunity to rehabilitate or change his
selfish attitude. However, the student and his parents both had multiple opportunities to talk to
me and defend the student. The decision was made over the course of two weeks, which was the
same amount of time the students would be in Germany, so this was a fair amount of due process
given how long the trip was. It was also important for me to set a standard early on for what the
requirements to go on this new trip were. If I had allowed him to go without hosting because he
simply wanted to go, other students in the future would assume they could do the same and the
purpose of the program would have been defeated.
Consequentialist v. Non-consequentialist:
This was a consequentialist decision because it had the greatest benefit for the most
people. The other chaperone and I were able to go on the first exchange trip without worrying
about the student defying our authority and then putting himself or our group in potential danger.
The other students knew there was something going on with this student and they were probably
relieved that this tension would not be there. There were probably other students who were not
going on the trip because they did not host in the fall and this decision also made it fair in those
students eyes.
Entry 2
Facts:

It is my second year of teaching, but first year at the new school


There are eight periods in a day and I teach four periods of German and have one study
hall
The facilitator for distance learning suddenly had to take a leave of absence and three
sections of distance learning were left uncovered as well as her library aid duties
Two of my open hours coincided with two distance learning classes
I have taught distance learning before
Administration was able to get somebody for the library duties and the other distance
learning class
I was told all I would do is sit in the room with the students
My duties now include: scanning/emailing assignments to teachers, getting supplies for
labs, running the video system, checking out laptops, contacting the distance learning
office when glitches occur, and monitoring students during class
All full-time teachers have 6 or 7 periods when they teach in their discipline and/or have
one study hall
There is no extra compensation for me taking this on where the person on leave was paid
for her position
I am certified to teach German and music (general and instrumental) for all age levels

Ethical Issue: Was it fair for administration to have me take on these extra duties?
Argument:
Yes

No

-My schedule was free


-I had fewer instructional periods than
the other teachers
-They were desperate to find somebody
to cover these classes
-Including the distance learning periods,
I am now responsible for the same
number of periods as the other full-time
teachers
-I have experience with distance
learning having taught it before
-I do not have to teach the classes
-I get to work on my own work during
class time
-A computer is provided for me to work
on in the room
-They attempted to ask me if I would be
willing to take on the duties

-I am not compensated for my time


fiscally or any other way
-Under the NEA code of ethics, I did not
fail to disclose the facts related to my
competency and qualifications in music
-More students and faculty would
benefit from me taking on extra hours in
music rather than having me do
something a paid volunteer could do
-It is more work than they promised it
would be since I have never facilitated
from this end
-I dont know the students like the other
teachers do which makes classroom
management more difficult
-I am already overwhelmed with
teaching at a new school and trying to
write lesson plans for a smooth
transition from last year in German
-I was not really given an option to say
no to the extra duties

Ethical Decision:
Having me facilitate two periods of distance learning in addition to my regular teaching
schedule was unfair. I did not have a real right to defend myself, and because I am new I felt
obligated to agree and take on the facilitator positions. They also did not thoroughly investigate
the situation and look for other options where my time and others could be better used. The
administration did not ask any of the other teachers who have been here more than a year to take
on this position and they took advantage of the fact that I had experience from the other end of
distance learning and the coinciding free periods. Since I did not agree to this in my interview
nor did I sign anything about distance learning in my contract, they who me some kind of
retribution or way to make up for taking this time away from me.
Consequentialist v. Non-consequentialist:
My decision that this was unfair is non-consequentialist. Any teacher new to a building
would not want to be given extra responsibilities usually given to aids or individuals not
qualified to teach. I felt my certifications in music were over-looked and the greatest benefit
would have come from me doing something with music, which is actually a consequentialist

belief. I also was not treated as though I technically had the choice whether I took on facilitating
duties or not.
Entry 3
Facts:
-A student D transferred to Regis with his brother and sister last March
- Ds mother pulled him from their public school because she felt he was not properly being
served
- Mom is a full-time student at the university
-D had an IEP at the public school (details unknown to me)
-Regis does not have the proper resources or special education program to serve him
-All three students have Native American background
-D has very poor reading and writing skills
-Ds parents are paying tuition for all three students
-D has a history of getting caught in a power struggle with teachers if he feels confronted or
threatened
-D has inappropriately interrupted my class each day he has been there
- Regis may have the means to hire a part time tutor to work 1:1 with D
-D has said he does not like working in a 1:1 setting with a teacher
-The brother and sister have no academic or behavioral problems
-Teachers are to document Ds disruptions to class
Ethical Issue: Should Regis continue trying to serve D?
Argument:
Yes
-Parents have the right to rear their
children how they want
-All students deserve an education
-They are paying to have 3 students in
private school
-Ds siblings have already been pulled
from public school and are attending
Regis
-Regis may be able to hire a tutor
-Mom is driving to Eau Claire every day
for university anyway
-Faith-based education places an
emphasis on morality and could help
him improve his behavior
-The Native American background
would serve as a powerful resource in
his defense

No
-There is no special ed program to
develop or follow through with an IEP
-There is no system like PBIS in place
to address his behavioral issues
-Ds academic and behavioral issues will
continue if not properly addressed
-Ds actions do not reflect the setting
parents want when sending their
students to a private school
-It is our duty to do what is best for D,
even if that is turning him away to be
better served elsewhere
-Ds parents know how students at Regis
are expected to act
-Regis has to show they will not put up
with bad behavior nor accept students
they cannot serve
-Teachers have already gathered
evidence of his inappropriate behavior

Ethical Decision: Regis should not continue trying to serve D, but only after enough evidence is
gathered against him. Regis cannot serve him the way a public school can and it is unfair to him
to continue trying. His mother has the right to choose where he goes to school, but provided
enough evidence of his bad behavior and academic struggles is gathered, he may be asked to
leave the school and they will have to comply. Regis must also show its parents that they will not
accept students they cannot serve, and nobody is better off with D continuing to attend Regis.
Consequentialist v. Non-consequentialist: My decision is consequentialist because the most
amount of people benefit the most if D no longer attends Regis. Ds teachers are most benefited
if he leaves so they can spend more time teaching the class rather than disciplining D every day
and taking teaching time away from the students. The students in his class benefit most from him
leaving so they will no longer feel uncomfortable with him in the class and his brother and sister
will no longer be embarrassed by his outbursts. Finally, D benefits most by going to a public
school where his needs can be addressed and professionals can help him where Regis simply
cannot.
Entry 4
Facts:
-Regis is a private, Catholic school
-All students are expected to pray and attend weekly, all- school mass
-Non-Catholics are not welcome at Catholic communion
-I am not Catholic, but I know the prayers of the rosary
-I was asked in my interview whether I would be ok praying with students and I said yes
-Almost all of the teachers who Ive observed pray with the students and participate in mass
-I do not feel comfortable saying the Hail Mary at school
-One other teacher who is also Lutheran told me she does not say any of the prayers that are not
part of her faith
-When I opt out of praying I simply look down but do not say the words
Ethical Issue: Is it all right for me not to participate in certain prayers at Regis?
Argument:
No
Yes
-I am a new teacher and should set a
-I am not Catholic and therefore some
good impression of myself
prayers to do align with my belief
-I said I was ok with praying with
system
students in my interview and it would be
-I am not disrespectful when not praying
wrong to change my mind after getting
-It is not ethical to force somebody to do
the job
something against their will
-I should do as the majority of the other
-I am not comfortable saying the Hail
teachers do
Mary prayer
-I am employed by a Catholic school
-If I am not welcome at communion, I
-I know all of the prayers and should
shouldnt be expected to do everything
participate
else
-Not praying could reflect poorly on me
to the administration and students

Ethical Decision: It is okay for me to not say the prayers I am uncomfortable saying. As a
religiously-affiliated institution, Regis, more than public schools, should be more sensitive to
others religious beliefs. It is important for me not to offend those around me and I am respectful
enough where my actions do not call attention to the fact I am not participating. It is more
important though that I do not offend myself and this for me takes precedence over my employer.
Consequentialist v. Non-consequentialist
My decision is non-consequentialist because it follows the golden rule: do unto others as you
would have them do unto you. I do not expect others to think, believe, and act as I do, but I
expect them to respect my choices. I do not want to think, believe, and act completely as the
Catholic faith believes, but I am as respectful as possible when refraining in my participation. I
am also entitled to the right of choosing my belief system and am morally responsible to make
this choice on my own.
Entry 5
Facts:
-There was a phone alarm going off in a locker during the distance learning class I facilitate
-The alarm went off two days in a row
-It was bothering the students in the distance learning class
-The first time it went off I told the secretary and she took the phone and left it in the office
-The second time it went off I took the phone out of the locker and brought it to the office
-Students are encouraged to leave their phones in their lockers
Ethical Issue: Was it right of me to take the phone out of the girls locker?
Argument:
Yes

No

-It was distracting from students


learning
-Lockers are technically school property
so the level of invasiveness was not high
- The girl did not turn off the alarm from
yesterday
- The secretary took the phone first and I
followed her lead
-I wasnt opening all lockers and taking
the phones, only the locker with the loud
phone
-We cant let students think their phones
will not be distracting when they are in
their lockers

-The phone wasnt that loud where we


couldnt hear the speaker
-Students are told its best to leave their
phones in their lockers and taking it
would encourage her to bring it to class
-There was no evidence of her
inappropriately using her phone
- I dont know who the phone belongs,
only that it belongs to a girl
-It would have been better for me to ask
the secretary to take it again since she
has been here longer than I have

Ethical Decision: I was within my rights at the school to take the girls phone from the locker. It
was detracting from the distance learning students ability to pay attention to class, and the girl
should have learned from the day before that she cannot have her phone going off in a locker that
is right outside where a class is held. Though there was no evidence of her inappropriately using
her phone, taking it out of her locker was not an arbitrary decision. I could hear which locker it
was in and was following the course of action taken before me by the secretary. The girl has
since learned by having to claim her phone two days in a row from the office and this will
hopefully send the message to her and others that it is not ok.
Consequentialist v. Non-consequentialist: This is a non-consequentialist decision because it
supports the duty and obligation of teachers to facilitate a good learning environment. If
students phones are causing a problem, I cannot let other students be negatively affected if there
is something I can do about it.