Ethics And The Legal System Essay
This paper describes and analyzes the ethical considerations and legal obligations of a public elementary teacher, a school guidance counselor, and a principal in a case of potential physical abuse of third grade student by her step-father. A teacher first becomes aware of this alleged situation from interactions with the student’s classmate. Without a direct accusation of abuse by the student herself law enforcement is reluctant to become involved. The local Child Protective Services reporting process is slow due to a lack of qualified staff and an overburdened system. At the end of the school day, the principal is left with the dilemma of how to respond in the best interest of a child who may be in danger, while still maintaining the school’s legal obligations to all parties involved.
Staib (n.d.) offers an ethical and legal test for educators in the case study Difficult Decision: When Personal Ethics Battle the Law. On a Friday in April, an elementary school principal with almost ten years of experience is faced with making a difficult decision. How should she intervene in a situation of unsubstantiated child abuse? Mrs. Keller, a respected teacher with over 25 years of experience at Vanderbilt Elementary School, utilizes the principal’s open door policy to inform her about a case of possible child abuse involving one of her students. Mrs. Keller was told in confidence by Holly Hunt, a straight “A” student…