Can a Safety Reminder Be an Aggressive Act?

Type: Article
Topics: Ethics, School Administrator Magazine

June 01, 2023

Ethical Educator
cartoon man with seatbelt over mouth

An assistant principal, assigned to supervise the daily drop-off of pupils each morning at the elementary school, notices that a Chinese American family rarely uses seat belts on their three children. It is state law to use child passenger restraints, and violations can result in fines. The assistant principal fears saying something to the parents could introduce a dynamic of racial microaggression and judgmental superiority. Does he have an ethical responsibility to tell them they should buckle up?

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The Ethical Educator panel consists of 

  • Sheldon H. Berman, author of Implementing Social-Emotional Learning: Insights from School Districts’ Successes and Setbacks.
  • Roark Horn, the Pomerantz endowed professor in educational excellence, University of Northern Iowa;
  • Chris Nicastro, former Missouri commissioner of education; and 
  • Maria G. Ott, Irving R. and Virginia A. Melbo chair in education administration, University of Southern California.

Each month, School Administrator draws on actual circumstances to raise an ethical decision-making dilemma in K-12 education. Our distinguished panelists provide their own resolutions to each dilemma.

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