A Do-Gooder Holding Harmful Beliefs

Type: Article
Topics: Ethics, School Administrator Magazine

November 01, 2023

Ethical Educator
Scenario: illustration of a man  reading to a group of young kids

A solitary older gentleman has served as a loyal volunteer over several years at a local elementary school where he helps overtaxed teachers work with emerging readers with good success. One of the school’s teachers discovers the man holds repugnant beliefs on an obscure Reddit site — that Jews control the world and Black people are genetically inferior to whites. A teacher informs her principal who wonders about an ethical obligation to help this person reject those ideas. Does it matter if a dedicated school volunteer believes terrible things?

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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;
  • Baron Davis, senior adviser, Digital Promise, Columbia, S.C.; 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.

Do you have a suggestion for a dilemma to be considered?
Send it to: magazine@aasa.org