Chapter 1 of The Ethics of Teaching (Strike & Soltis, 2015) introduces you to the basic ethical concepts and theories. Pay particular attention to the information regarding consequentialist and non-consequentialist ethical theories.
Choose one of the cases from the chapter,
Explain what you would do in the situation presented in the case you select, relying on aspects of consequentialist and/or non-consequentialist ethical theory.
• Indicate the kinds of questions you would consider in making your decision.
• What are some advantages and drawbacks of the ethical theories, especially in light of the case study you chose?
Support your statements with evidence from the required studies and your research. Cite and reference your sources in APA style.
Bayview High School, a racially mixed city school, enjoys the reputation of being relatively free from disciplinary problems. The administration is proud of the school and attributes this distinction to faculty cooperation and a system of communication that alerts the staff to potentially dangerous situations.
Recently, there have been some disturbances in the student body, and there have been some fights instigated by racial epithets. The staff, aware of these hostilities, was alerted to watch for weapons and other dangerous articles in the possession of students.
One Monday at lunch, Ms. Miller announced in the staff dining room that her wallet had been taken from her purse that morning. Twenty dollars was missing.
After classes ended that afternoon, Chico Diaz walked into the school store before leaving the building. He carefully took off his sweatshirt, checked the pockets, and placed it on a desk. He proceeded to the counter to purchase some school T-shirts, notebooks, and pen sets. He produced a twenty-dollar bill as payment. Ms. Burner, the teacher in charge of the school store, noticed the bill, and she became suspicious. She went to the desk and looked in the pocket of Chico’s sweatshirt, thinking that Ms. Miller’s wallet might be there. What she discovered instead was a large switchblade knife. She placed the sweatshirt back in its original position and immediately summoned Mr. Marconi, the dean of discipline.
Mr. Marconi requested that Chico empty his pockets. When Chico did what was asked, the knife was discovered. Mr. Marconi, a strict disciplinarian, called in the principal, Mr. Lopez. Chico was informed that he was to leave the building immediately and consider himself suspended, pending a hearing on the matter the next morning with representatives of the school board.
Before the staff left the school, Ms. Burner was asked to visit Mr. Lopez in his office, and he asked her to be a party in the suspension hearing. Ms. Burner explained to Mr. Lopez that she had searched Chico’s sweatshirt because she had been suspicious about another matter, not the knife. The knife had not been in sight. Mr. Lopez asked if Chico had seen her do this. When she replied that he had not, he said, “Good. At the hearing tomorrow you say that you saw the knife hanging from his pocket. That will satisfy the board.”
There is a saying that the Bill of Rights does not stop at the schoolhouse door. In this case, it does not seem that Chico will receive due process, and Ms. Burner’s search of his sweatshirt might not be legal. Chico does possess certain rights to privacy, as would any other citizen, and his treatment seems to be unfair. However, teachers and administrators have a responsibility to preserve the peace of the school and protect the other students. In this sense, an appeal to the general welfare is an attempt to justify the treatment that Chico is receiving. After all, he did have a knife.
Ms. Burner feels a bit guilty about the whole affair. She wonders if her search of Chico’s clothing was the right thing to do. Now she is being asked by her superior to lie during the hearing. Chico has never been a very bad student, and she is afraid that the suspension is unwarranted and may have unforeseen consequences. What would you do if you were Ms. Burner?