Day 23: Ethical question of the week

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My school has family style meals. This means that every day I sit down for lunch (or dinner on Wednesdays) with 2 students from each grade, and we talk about our day. These tables rotate every 3 weeks. Conversations can be awkward at times, and we always seem rushed to eat, but I treasure these family style meals, and the efforts we are making as a faculty to make them even more meaningful—if you’ve ever spent even a day in a typical high school cafeteria, and then come and join one of our sit down meals, you’ll realize in an instant how valuable they are to creating a sense of community.

This year, my school has started an effort to seed more discussions about ethics in our community, and family style meals seem like a great place to start. So a few colleagues put together the “ethical question of the week” a prompt to start conversation about a particular ethical dilemma each week, and then on Thursday’s school meeting, a couple of students discuss the dilemma with the entire school.

This week’s dilemma is:

When should we boycott companies? When should we refuse to invest in companies? Should we eat at Chik-fil-a if we don’t agree with its donations to anti-gay marriage groups? Should we buy Microsoft rather than Apple products due to the way Apple’s suppliers in China are said to treat their workers? Should we avoid Walmart for one of several reasons (or patronize it for one of several other reasons?) Should we not invest in tobacco companies, or big oil companies?

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About John Burk

The ramblings of a physics teacher.
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