All semester, I have been asking my students how we can best help students, teachers, parents and community members understand their responsibility as it relates to how we treat others both face to face and online. I began the semester wanting to create solutions to stomp out bullying/cyberbullying, but now I want to [delete] the word “bully” and the word “digital”. The focus needs to be on citizenship and how we treat others in the 21st century both face to face and online. In a few short months I have learned, unlearned and relearned a lot, but one thing remains constant: I am committed to helping teachers understand their responsibility in creating a safe school climate for every child.
The Penn State scandal has rocked me. How can following the protocol legally be enough? What about making the best decision for the child? That child could be your child, your sibling, your relative, your neighbor, your friend. What is your moral responsibility? The recent NY Times article, The Devil and Joe Paterno, said it best, “No higher cause can trump that obligation — not a church, and certainly not a football program. And not even a lifetime of heroism can make up for leaving a single child alone, abandoned to evil, weeping in the dark.”
My question to you is what is your responsibility legally and morally? What happens when you witness an unkind or evil act? The question posed is a natural fit for both my undergraduate and graduate course on citizenship in the 21st century. How do we help our K-12 students understand their responsibility?
I am on a crusade to make a difference and I hope you will join me!