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ETHICS


Accidentally Guilty Doing right when you didn’t mean to do wrong.


THEOLOGIANS OFTEN DIVIDE sins into two categories: sins of commis- sion (when we do bad things) and sins of omission (when we fail to do good things). Perhaps there’s a third category — call them sins of inad- vertence. Or, to paraphrase William Shakespeare, some people are prone to wrongdoing while others have wrongdoing thrust upon them. Imagine, for example, that a clerk


at an airport food court gives you too much change, and you don’t notice until you’ve boarded your next flight. You haven’t intentionally done any- thing wrong and you’re not quite sure how to make the situation right, so you’re caught in an ethical dilemma.


Such dilemmas are as common to


young people as they are to adults. As your Boy Scouts and Venturers take halting steps toward adulthood, you can use these situations to explore the intricacies of ethical living. Here’s a story to get you started.


The Dilemma Rashid Newberry is a solid B student at Washington High School, and he works hard for every good grade he gets. He does all his homework, he actually studies in study hall and he stays aſter class when he needs extra help. His studiousness has impressed more than one teacher, including Janelle Vivian, who recruited him to


be her aide this year. In that role, he copies handouts, helps with atten- dance, cleans the chalkboard and even assigns students to groups for projects. Sitting at Miss Vivian’s desk during her lunch period, he can see himself becoming a teacher one day. Unfortunately, one day he also


sees a copy of the pop quiz Miss Vivian plans to give his class the fol- lowing day — answers and all. At first, he only half-realizes what he is looking at, but by the time he real- izes what he’s seeing, he has read the whole quiz, which covers a topic he hasn’t mastered. Although he doesn’t memorize the answers, he certainly knows what to study that night. He can’t unsee the quiz, so what should he do?


For Discussion Begin the discussion with a general exploration of academic dishonesty. Discuss these questions with your Scouts or Venturers: When it comes to schoolwork, how do you define cheating?


What rules does your school have about cheating?


Are there degrees of cheating? For example, is it worse to cheat on a final exam than on a pop quiz?


Where do you draw the line between getting a friend to help you with your homework and having a friend do your home- work for you?


Are there cases in which cheating is OK? What if the material is too


FIND MORE ETHICS discussions at scoutingmagazine.org/ethics.


22 SCOUTING ¿  


THOMAS FUCHS


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