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Dealing with Ethical Scenarios

This is an ethical scenario. I am looking for some validity on this subject. Below is the scenario and my response . I wondered if anyone can give me something more concrete than this.

Scenario:
You are a leader of a group going on a field trip. You have repeatedly told all the children they need a release form from their parents or they cannot go. No Form- Nor trip! A youngster comes to the bus without his form. He is from a struggling one parent family and says the form is lost. He begins to cry when you tell him he cannot go. He tells you his dad said he could go. Ethically speaking what should your decision be?

My response:
The school should call the parents to obtain verbal permission or even better, to drop off the signed form at school. Delaying the bus for a few minutes wouldn't cause a major hardship for the school or the children.

If they can't obtain permission, then the school should not allow this child to go on the field trip. This protects the school and assumes that if the parent had wanted the child to go, then he would have returned the signed form.

As far as the child, the school must act in loco parentis, that is "in place of the parent." Since it doesn't have a signed permission slip and the child is obviously too young to make decisions for himself, then the school is obligated to keep him at school. Hopefully, the administration can provide the child with an entertaining day if they can't get the parents to pick him up after the bus leaves.

*General Principles of End-Result Ethics:
1. To determine if an action is right or wrong, one must concentrate on its likely consequences.
2. Actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the opposite. Happiness = the presence of pleasure and the absence of pain.
3. Happiness is an ultimate end for humans. Because happiness is an ultimate end, it may be promoted as a criterion of morality.
4. The happiness that determines what is right in conduct is not the agent's own happiness, but that of all concerned. END-RESULT ETHICS ARE NOT JUST HEDONISTIC.
5. An action has utility to the extent that it can produce happiness or prevent unhappiness.
6. An action is right from an ethical point of view if and only if the sum total of utilities produced by that act is greater than the sum total of utilities produced by any other act the agent could have performed in its place.
n provide the child with an entertaining day if they can't get the parents to pick him up after the bus leaves.

Does anyone have any additional thought on what is right to do ethically in this situation?

Solution Preview

Because they have been told repeatedly, you have done your part. Now since one boy did not bring the required permission, on the day of the trip, many issues come into play.

What is the purpose of the trip? Obviously it is an educational tour, that is, it is a part of the school curricular and therefore necessary for the students.

Your first response would be the way to go. If that could not be done, should the child be allowed to go on the trip?

Yes because,
1. it is part of the curricular.
2. It would disadvantage the boy if he is denied the trip.
3. One should believe the child is telling the truth until it is proven otherwise.
4. The boy's absence might rub off negatively on the rest of the class.
5. The boy should not be made to suffer just because of his family situation which was not of his own making: it is possible one parent said yes and another said no.

No because,
1. It is possible the parent said no and the boy didn't want to tell the teacher.
2. Should anything happen to the boy during the trip, it could be very costly to the school in terms of their reputation and in monetary terms id the ...

Solution Summary

This is an ethical scenario. You are a leader of a group going on a field trip. You have repeatedly told all the children they need a release form from their parents or they cannot go. No Form- Nor trip! A youngster comes to ...what do you do?

--If one follows a strictly rule-based ethics, like Kant's categorical imperative...
--However, if one should follow a consequentialist ethics...
--Consider what happened in Victor Hugo's "Les Misérables"

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