Case Study for Educators: A Moral Dilemma

Mr. Davids is one of four vice principals in a large urban high schools of twenty five hundred students.  One of his many duties is to make follow up phone calls to parents informing them of their son or daughters absence.

One morning, he finds a very distraught grade eleven female student waiting at his office door.  The day before, he had called her home to indicate that she had been absent for two consecutive days as he had been unable to make contact on the first day.  The student, through her sobbing and irregular breathing, explains that she just had a miscarriage.  She had left her home the last two mornings as usual, but instead of going to school, she was at a friend’s house whose parents were away, recovering.  Tearfully, she explains that because of her cultural background and her father’s temper, “He will kill me if he finds out.”  She begs Mr. Davis to call her home and explain that it was a computer error and that she was at school for those two days.

She doesn’t have a record of previous absences, and is a good student. She has received proper medical care.

What should he do?

If you were the vice-principal, what would you do with this dilemma?

We can choose to believe her story.  To make up such a story, to avoid a phone call home because of truancy, seems rather far-fetched.  She appears sincere.

Would you call her home?  Potentially sending her home to be “killed” by her father, or thrown out of her house?  Would you call her parents to the office and talk to them about it?

Or, would you, as a professional, lie?  She suggests contriving the lie of a “computer error”. Would this raise any of your doubts — or is she simply thinking of a believable lie?

What would you do?

A busy day

Wednesday’s are a busy day for me.

It’s almost 1am, and I should have practiced an hour of piano this evening.  For some students, this isn’t very late at all, and considering how late I’ve stayed up these past couple weeks, it isn’t comparatively late either – but I’m almost ready for bed.

Tomorrow (or today), is 9 hours of straight class.  Starting with 1 hour each of introduction to flute, Dalcroze eurhythmics, introduction to cello, followed by a 3 hour Principles of Teaching course (through OISE), and lastly with 2 hours of the Men’s Chorus rehearsal.  It’s a long day, but not as long as they used to be – I previously had my piano lessons at 5:30, giving me only a 1/2 hour break – thank goodness that Lydia switched them to Mondays.

It’s raining.  I like its sound.  The steady, quiet, and calm percussion will definitely aid in the process of falling asleep.  Though keeping the window open will let in some frigid air, the old hot water radiators in the apartment are beaming out heat, and will certainly moderate the temperature inside.  I like the way they look, the old vertical pipes, painted a deep almost purple red, letting out their conductive heat.  Placing towels on them to dry or warm before a shower serves a rather practical purpose.