This section includes true case studies written by Charis Denison for the Daily Dilemma column on GoodCharacter.com. They involve ethical dilemmas geared toward elementary, junior high, and high school students for educators who work with young people. Prajna Consulting provides a number of workshops and programs related to ethics and integrity aimed at supporting your work in this area.

Case Study #31 — Ethical Compromise

Georgia is a very good math student who does well on homework but falls apart under the stress of heavily weighted tests. Under these circumstances, would it be so terrible if she cheated just a little? (An exploration of situational ethics) …

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Case Study #30 — The Dilemma of Us and Them

Brian has the perfect summer job, thanks to his dad. But when Brian finds out that some of his co-workers (including some with families to support) make significantly less money than he does even though they’ve been there much longer, he feels conflicted. What should he do? …

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Case Study #29 — Where’s the Line?

David has just joined a Facebook group and he discovers that somebody has posted an offensive and malicious photo of a girl from his class. David feels very uncomfortable about it. What, if anything, should he do? …

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Case Study #28 — Leave the Adults Out of It

Lisa is at a party where her friend Sarah is vomiting and losing consciousness from alcohol consumption. Lisa wants to call 911. Her other friends want to try to deal with it themselves so they don’t get in trouble. What to do? …

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Case Study #27 — The Tattle-Taler

Noah sees the same bully torment the same victim every day on the schoolyard, and nobody tells the teacher about it. Should Noah speak up and risk being labeled “tattletail,” or should he ignore it and mind his own business? …

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Case Study #26 — A Really Costly Choice

Erin’s chemistry teacher made a huge mistake on Erin’s final grade. A mistake that was very much in Erin’s favor. Should Erin point out the mistake to her teacher, or accept her good fortune quietly and gratefully? …

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Case Study #25 — Can One Action Define You?

Someone left money sticking out of an ATM machine and there’s nobody in sight. Nobody but Ben, that is. If he takes it, does that make him a thief? What should he do? …

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Case Study #24 — The Power of Words

Katy cringes every time she hears her friends use words like “retarded” or “gay” in a derogatory manner. Should she object when it happens, or should she let it pass so people won’t think she’s weird? …

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Case Study #23 — How Far Should a Student Leader Fall?

The incoming school president was caught breaking the school rules about alcohol. Should he be permitted to take office or should the student body hold a new election? …

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Case Study #22 — Is Dad’s ‘right’ really right?

Andrew is caught in a conflict between trying to please his overbearing father and doing what is best for himself. …

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Case Study #21 — On-Line Flirting

Peter’s longtime close friend, Bridget, is wrapped up in an online relationship with some older guy on MySpace, a social networking website. Peter senses danger, but Bridget resents his warnings and wants him to butt out. What can he do without risking their friendship? …

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Case Study #20 — Good Touch/Bad Touch

Bethany has confided in Stacy that an adult neighbor has been touching her in ways that make her uncomfortable. Should Stacy keep Bethany’s secret or risk their friendship by telling an adult? …

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Case Study #19 — Is the Prize Worth the Lie?

Archer is facing a classical ethical dilemma: should he lie to his parents in order to receive a reward he’s not entitled to, or tell them the truth and give up the reward? …

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Case Study #18 — Who’s the Adult Here?

What do you do when your friend’s dad comes to drive you home from a party, and you can tell that he’s drunk? …

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Case Study #17 — What If It’s Wrong, but I Win?

Kevin feels that his baseball coach has given him an unfair advantage over other members of the team. Should he do something about it or just accept his good luck? …

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Case Study #16 — Who Disappointed Whom?

When Jay asks his mother how she would react if he tried drugs, he gets a stern warning. Then he discovers that she’s been smoking pot. What is he supposed to do with that? …

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Case Study #15 — Technology Crosses the Line

Three of David’s classmates have created an offensive website that attacks students and teachers. The principal wants to know who did it and David is the only one who knows. Should he lie to the principal or betray his classmates? …

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Case Study #14 — Smart Kid, Bad Choice

The star student makes a bad choice involving alcohol. Now she has to decide what to do about it without ruining her reputation or compromising her ethical principals. …

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Case Study #13 — Wouldn’t You?

You are stumped on an important math test, and you have the perfect opportunity to cheat without getting caught. What do you do, and how do you explain your decision? …

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Case Study #12 — To Tell or Not to Tell

Maria is sure that her good friend, Pam, has an eating disorder. Pam’s parents are in denial, and nobody but Maria and a few friends seem concerned. What should Maria do? …

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Case Study #11 — The Power of a Rumor (Forgiveness)

A fifth grade boy is overcome with hurt and anger when a classmate spreads a lie about him. …

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Case Study #10 — Mean Girls

An eighth grade girl starts receiving threatening notes in her locker and her backpack. …

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Case Study #9 — No Good Choice

A high school sophomore faces a family crisis when his alcoholic mom relapses into drinking. …

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Case Study #8 — Everyone’s Doing It

A stressed out honor student has plagiarized a term paper and been turned over to the school’s honor council. She is pleading with the council not to report her violation to the Ivy League university she is applying to. What should the council do? …

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Case Study #7 — The Hook Up

Stephanie was supposed to tell a certain guy that her good friend had a crush on him. Instead, Stephanie ended up hooking up with the guy, herself. And to make matters worse, she lied to her friend about it . Now things are spinning out of control. What’s she supposed to do? …

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Case Study #6 — Teacher’s Pet

Lea has been offered something she really wants. Unfortunately, it’s terribly unfair to a lot of other people and she knows it. Should she allow herself to benefit from an unfair situation? …

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Case Study #5 — Corey Was Drunk

Corey is drunk and stuck at a party thirty miles from home with nobody sober to drive him. He’s not happy about any of his options. What should he do? …

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Case Study #4 — Cliques & Bullying

Julia’s best friend has turned against her and is now organizing the other girls to bully and isolate her. What can Julia do? …

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Case Study #3 — Who Gets Hurt?

What’s the difference between cheating on a math test and lying about your age in order to save money on a movie ticket? …

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Case Study #2 — Honesty

Jennifer knows her parents won’t let her go to “the big party” if they find out the host’s parents are out of town. Should she lie about it? …

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Case Study #1 — Loyalty

Jeff’s best friend is getting into some pretty risky behaviors, including dangerous drugs. What can Jeff do to help his friend? …

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