Parents Chided for Children’s Low Ethical Display in Schools

Nov 05, 2002 03:00 AM EST

Micheal Josephson, the founder and president of the non-profit Josephson Institute of Ethics, released a study last month that indicated the decline of ethical consciousness among teenagers. Josephson, an award-winning radio commentator went so far as to accuse parents as standing by ‘idly’ watching, as their children’s schools become decadent in its ethical awareness.

"Why aren't parents demanding that steps be taken in their schools to be certain that integrity is stressed, and that the cheating rate is cut dramatically?" he asks. "And if you can't get the teachers or superintendents to do so, where are the school board members? And if you don't have the right school board members, run for the school board."

Josephson calls adults as either too inattentive, afraid, or having poor moral values themselves. Even though he notes that not every parent is failing and not every student is doing wrong, he believes that parents are not attentive enough.

"I think kids are morally accountable for the choices they make, and I think cheating and stealing and lying is wrong," he says. "But this isn't the kids, this is the adults -- this is our failure to set out for them standards of behavior and morality, to train them, and to demand and insist [they abide by those standards]."

Josephson also is president of the Character Counts Coalition, which includes more than 500 schools, communities, and other non-profit organizations working to advance character education by teaching what it describes as the "Six Pillars of Character": trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.

By Pauline J.