Noah faced an ethical dilemma in the eigth grade. Most of the time he felt quite happy at school; he liked his teacher and had a lot of friends from different groups. But there was one thing he really didn’t like at all. Every day he saw the same boy in his class tease and bully the same girl during recess. The boy never bothered Noah, but was very careful to tease the girl where teachers couldn’t see it happen, or during times adult supervision was scarce. It was the same thing every day: the boy would approach the girl, call her names, and follow her until she was just on the verge of crying. Then he would laugh and walk away saying, “I was just kidding!”
What was hardest for Noah to deal with was the fact that no one ever said anything to the teachers. Sometimes he or someone else would try to stick up for the girl, but that only stopped the teasing that day. It would just begin again the next. And every day Noah struggled with the same thorny question of whether or not to tell on the bully.
Noah feared that if he went to a teacher it would get out that he was the one who told, and he didn’t want the boy to start bullying him instead. He also knew how most of the kids in his class felt about tattletales. There was a very strong code of silence around teasing and bullying. Yet, he hated to watch this poor girl brace herself every day when the recess bell rang.
So, the dilemma in Noah’s mind was, should he tell, or should he ignore it? What would you do?
Click on the picture to watch a P.S.A. on what it is to have good Character – to stand up for someone when no one else will