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Fabro-Mariano 1

Megan Fabro-Mariano

Professor Major

EDEE 402

30 April 2017

Ethics Paper

There are several people in the world that perceive teaching to be an easy

occupation. Little do they know that educators are liable for not only themselves but also

every student in their classroom. Even if it may not be their fault, teachers are responsible

for everything that happens in the classroom and anything that deals with their students’

education. Therefore, teachers are constantly being faced with challenges that impel them

to make ethical decisions that are pertinent to student needs, classroom environment, and

school community.

Mr. Garrison is a 3 grade teacher who teaches at a local elementary school. He is


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currently in a dilemma where one of his students is diagnosed with Attention Deficit and

Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) but is not consistent with his medication. He does not

require special services from the special education teacher. Javier was diagnosed with

ADHD in the 1 grade, and at the time, his parents decided to put him on medication to help
st

him with his learning disability. However, Javier’s parents recently separated. Javier lives

with his mom during the weekdays and visits his dad during the weekends. Javier’s dad

and doctor believe that giving Javier medication will help him exceed in school. However,

Javier’s mom disagrees. With that being said, Javier only receives medication during the

weekends. As a result, his medication has been inconsistent, and it shows through his

actions. Javier has been having a difficult time paying attention in class, completing
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assignments, controlling aggressive behavior, and interacting with his peers. Mr. Garrison

understands the importance of consistency in following medication protocols. However, it

is not professional of him to advise parents on how to raise their kids.

Stance 1: Communicating with Parents

Because of school policies and regulations, Mr. Garrison knows that he has to

communicate with Javier’s parents about his concerns. Javier’s inconsistent use of

medication has not only been affecting Javier’s education but also his classmates’ learning

experiences. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children

who are diagnosed with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder tend to, “show a

persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with

functioning or development” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017). Because,

Javier has been having a difficult time paying attention and not staying on task, he is unable

to finish his assignments. Javier has also been showing aggressive behavior that creates a

harmful and dangerous learning environment for his classmates to learn. Mr. Garrison,

however, is hesitant to approach Javier’s parents about Javier’s inconsistency of medication

because he doesn’t want to step in the way of their parenting. Due to the contradicting

views of Javier’s parents regarding Javier’s ADHD medication, Mr. Garrison has a tough task

ahead of him. If Javier continues to not take his medication, he may have more frequent

visits to the counselor’s office, be held back a grade, or be accompanied by a special

educator throughout the school day. It has been proven that the use of medication can

“help children with ADHD in their everyday life [and] … may be an effective way to manage

ADHD symptoms” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017). It is a possibility

that Javier’s mother is simply unaware of these health benefits that the prescribed
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medication would provide for her son. If Mr. Garrison is able to explain the benefits of

adhering to the prescription drug, Javier’s mother may begin to administer the correct

doses to Javier. By taking the ADHD medication daily, Javier will be able to excel in his

academics.

Stance 2: Disclosing Information from Parents

If Mr. Garrison does not tell Javier’s parents about his concerns for Javier’s education

and actions, he wouldn’t have to worry about protruding into Javier’s parents’ parenting

styles. However, not telling Javier’s parents could lead to several complications. First,

according to Code of Ethics for Educators, it is ethical for professional educators to make,

“concerted efforts to communicate to parents all information that should be revealed in the

interest of the student” (Association of American Educators, 1994). So, it is Mr. Garrison’s

responsibility to establish a working relationship with Javier’s parents to communicate the

concerns and learning progress of Javier. Second, according to Code of Ethics of the

Education Profession, the National Education Association (NEA) believes that “the

education profession consists of one education workforce serving the needs of all students

and that the term ‘educator’ includes education support professionals” (NEA-Handbook-

Code-of-Ethics, 2010). Regardless of his students’ situations, it is Mr. Garrison’s

responsibility to care for their education. Therefore since Mr. Garrison feels that Javier’s

learning is not progressing, he should communicate this concern to Javier’s parents. Due to

Javier showing aggressive behavior and having a difficult time interacting with his peers, he

creates a dangerous working environment. Third, according to Code of Conduct, all

employees are “responsible and committed to maintaining a safe and healthy learning

environment for students” (State of Hawaii Department of Education Code of Conduct,


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2016). If something were to happen where Javier pushes one of his classmates because of

his aggressive behavior for example, it would be Mr. Garrison’s fault for not communicating

with Javier’s parents about Javier’s behaviors. If Mr. Garrison does not interface with

Javier’s parents, he will be liable for everything that Javier does because they are not aware

of what has been going on in the classroom.

People Involved in Stance 1

If Mr. Garrison chooses to tell Javier’s parents about the concerns of Javier’s learning

disability, there may be a number of people involved. Since Javier’s mother does not agree

with Javier taking medications, Mr. Garrison’s choosing to tell Javier’s parents may result in

his parents arguing. This could eventually lead to administration involvement if Javier’s

parents can’t come to an agreement. Worst-case scenario, Javier’s mother could file a

complaint against Mr. Garrison for deeming that something is wrong with her child. Best-

case scenario, Javier’s mother could realize that Javier education is being affected and may

want Javier to start taking medication to help him excel in his studies. Since Mr. Garrison is

responsible for his students and their education, he is the one greatly affected in this

circumstance. Whether he chooses to tell Javier’s parents or not, he is held accountable for

the progress of Javier’s education and the safety of all his students.

People Involved in Stance 2

If Mr. Garrison decides to refrain from reaching out to Javier’s parents about his

decreased attention span and irritable behavior, Javier will be greatly affected. Javier may

fall further behind his classmates and his condition could worsen. Javier’s disruptive

behavior could also distract his peers from their full learning potential, as Mr. Garrison may

have to stop class to discipline Javier. Javier’s parents would also be clueless about Javier’s
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in-class struggles. If a serious event involving Javier occurred, a call from the school would

surprise Javier’s parents since they have been assuming that Javier is conducting himself as

normal. It may also come to a surprise to Javier’s father that the mother is not following the

orders of the pediatrician. This new knowledge could spark more arguments between the

separated parents.

Responsibilities for Stance 1

As a teacher, Mr. Garrison is expected to find ways to work with each student’s

abilities and disabilities. He is also responsible for creating a learning environment where

the students respect one another. Javier may understand that he has a condition that makes

it difficult for him to focus for long periods of time. Mr. Garrison will need to address

situations when Javier’s friends tease or pick on him. When Mr. Garrison communicates

with Javier’s parents, he is expected to maintain professionalism with parents, students,

and administration. Although Javier does not require special services of the special

education teacher, Mr. Garrison should still inform the parents about different services that

the school could provide for their child or ways that they can assist Javier’s education at

home. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2017), some tips that Mr.

Garrison could recommend for Javier’s parents are to manage distractions by limiting noise,

limit choices by offering choices between a few things so that Javier doesn’t get

overwhelmed, and be clear and specific when talking to Javier so that he knows specifically

what to do. Mr. Garrison is also expected to communicate with Javier’s parents all of the

concerns he has regarding Javier’s education and Javier’s progress in his studies. According

to Code of Ethics of the Education Profession, as a fulfillment of the obligation to the

student, teachers must not “disclose information about students obtained in the course of
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professional service unless disclosure serves a compelling professional purpose or is

required by law” (NEA-Handbook-Code-of-Ethics, 2010). Therefore, Mr. Garrison is

obligated to share information relating to Javier to Javier’s parents.

Responsibilities for Stance 2

Assuming that Mr. Garrison will opt out of telling Javier’s parents the situation, Mr.

Garrison has a lot more responsibilities as a teacher. According to the Code of Ethics of the

Education Profession, educators “shall make reasonable effort to protect the student from

conditions harmful to learning or to health and safety” (NEA-Handbook-Code-of-Ethics,

2010). Therefore, Mr. Garrison is expected to maintain a learning environment where

students can feel safe and have the opportunity to gain as much knowledge as possible.

This is a challenge as Javier’s behavior worsens. He is also responsible for finding ways to

help Javier better excel in his studies because he is accountable for the growth and

development for each and every one of his students. According to CDC (2017), it is

important for teachers to have the “needed skills to help children manage their ADHD.”

Some possible tips for helping students with ADHD are making assignments clear by

making sure the student understands what to do, giving positive reinforcements and

attention to positive behavior, and allowing time for movement and exercise (Centers for

Disease Control and Prevention, 2017). These recommendations could help Mr. Garrison

better Javier’s education and learning experiences.

Personal Approach

Overall, Mr. Garrison has a lot to consider and think about. Personally, I feel that he

should first seek advice from his school’s administration. The counselor would be a great

place to start. Because counselors are the main ones that deal with student behavior and
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parents, him seeking advice from them would be of great help. If the counselors think that

he should take this matter to administration so that it does not get out of hand, then Mr.

Garrison should do so to protect his rights as a professional educator. Although, I definitely

feel that Mr. Garrison should have an open communication relationship with Javier’s

parents regarding his concerns for Javier’s education and the safety of the rest of his

students. If I were Mr. Garrison, I would try to handle this situation on my own by

contacting his parents; however, I would make sure administration is aware of what is

going on. I would try to set up a meeting with Javier’s parents so that we could better

resolve the situation. In this meeting, I would try to encourage that Javier takes his

medication consistently as it would benefit him to help him with his studies. If Javier’s

mother cannot be convinced, then I would do my best as an educator to teach Javier by

researching strategies and methods that could best educate him.

Checking Results for Personal Approach

For the first couple of weeks after meeting with Javier’s parents, I would

communicate with administration to see if his parents have mentioned anything to them

just to stay involved in the situation. To check to see if Javier is taking his medication, I

would monitor his behavior on a daily basis. Assuming that Javier’s mother changes her

outlook on ADHD medication, I would ask her to document when she gives Javier his

medication. By having her log the times, I will be able to determine if a consistent dosage

increases his ability to pay attention and results in better behavior. I would note incidences

when he would “zone” out and have little tantrums. Hopefully, by having Javier take his

medication everyday he would develop a consistent daily routine. I believe this would help

him as he progresses in his studies. I would also try to develop a more open
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communication with Javier’s parents to see if they have seen any changes within his

behavior. Having an open communication with Javier’s parents would allow me as his

teacher to be flexible with my lesson plans and determine which learning strategy works

best to educate him.

In conclusion, teaching is not an easy career. Teachers are faced with many

challenges and dilemmas that make it difficult for them to perform well in their profession.

In situations similar to Mr. Garrison’s, it is very important for teachers to know their

school’s policies and regulations, board of education laws, and their own rights and

responsibilities as educators. Otherwise, they’d be in big trouble. These policies and

regulations help protect their rights as teachers as well as help them determine right from

wrong in certain circumstances. Hopefully, Mr. Garrison chooses to abide to school policies,

laws, and regulations so that he could better help Javier excel in his education and better

provide a safe and learning environment for the rest of his students.
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References

Association of American Educators. (1994). Code of Ethics for Educators. Retrieved from

https://www.aaeteachers.org/index.php/about-us/aae-code-of-ethics

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity

disorder: Treatment. Retrieved from

https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/treatment.html

Code of Conduct. (2016). State of Hawaii Department of Education Code of Conduct.

Retrieved from http://www.hawaiipublicschools.org/DOE

%20Forms/CodeofConduct.pdf

NEA-Handbook-Code-of-Ethics. (2010). Code of Ethics of the Education Profession.

Retrieved from http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/2013-NEA-Handbook-Code-of-

Ethics.pdf