The right, the wrong and the ethical

Making tough decisions is a part of life. From the way life unravels, to the way it moves up and down and starts and stops, it’s no surprise that we haven’t mastered the art of decision-making. In fact, we  invariably have trouble deciding what is right and wrong. This is why it’s important to establish an ethics curriculum in high school-to help students deal with difficult ethical situations in a logical, just and honest way.

Some claim that ethics cannot be taught in a classroom setting and can only be taught by parental figures.  Although ethical boundaries are established at a young age by our parents, our ability to tell right from wrong develops as we grow. It’s important for students to be able to discuss these topics openly in the classroom setting with their peers and with their teachers’ guidance. Teachers can plant ideas of ethical boundaries in the back of student’s mind, and students can expand on those ideas themselves. As students begin to contemplate the importance of ethics, they will be able to make better decisions.

It’s vital to implement an ethics curriculum in high school because many jobs require sound decision-making. Doctors constantly have to acknowledge ethical boundaries when deciding whether or not to pull the plug on a patient or if a patient denies life-saving treatment for religious reasons. Lawyers also have to face ethical challenges when defending the actions of their clients who are clearly guilty of a crime. Corporations likewise have to make ethical decisions in regards to paying employees low wages to create affordable products that can survive in a competitive market. With all the decisions society must make, it only makes sense to teach students how to make decisions that will positively impact their future.   

Philosopher Albert Camus said, “A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this word.” An ethics class teaches us how to think–how to approach difficult situations, how to understand others’ differing viewpoints. In order to become model citizens in our society, we need good foundations in ethics. With an increased understanding of ethics, they will be more aware of the potential impact of their decisions and how their choices might affect those around them. It’s practically common knowledge, for example, that people should not bully others. But an ethics class might be that tipping point that allows a student to take a second glance at his actions and reconsider them in a new light. The significance of empathy and compassion are reevaluated, leading to a less likelihood of the mistreatment of other students.

Establishing an ethics class in high school will create a safer society by producing honest and practical citizens that are capable of making sound decisions. Once students learn to develop their morals through taking an ethics class, they will become better decision makers that are willing to engage with others in a positive way. The administration should implement an ethics curriculum not only for the benefit of the students, but also for the benefit of society as a whole.

By Sajid Iqbal, Photo editor