“What’s the Right Thing To Do?” is a monthly column featuring ethical dilemmas with responses from students in the Greater Boston area. I am aware of the daily dilemmas students face and this column, of interest to both students and their parents, helps people openly discuss these issues and bring these ethical discussions we all face to the forefront. This concept is especially timely because we are faced with very challenging ethical dilemmas, which are even more prevalent now because of the power and influence of social media.
You are working on a final school project with a friend that is worth 50% of your grade. You feel you are doing all the work while your friend has done nothing. If you confront the teacher saying your friend hasn’t done any of the work, you worry they will be mad at you. At the same time, you feel it’s unfair for your friend to be getting credit for your work. What’s the right thing to do?
“In this situation, I would first divide the work up evenly and emphasize that we will each be doing half of the work. Next, I would nicely tell my friend how I feel, and ask if they can do more to benefit the group. If they still don’t complete their work, I would probably just do it all myself and never be their partner again. If the teacher tells me to work with this friend again, I would talk to her and say it is unfair to work with someone who doesn’t contribute to the group.”
—Talia, 11th grade, Needham High School
“I would likely start by talking to my friend. I would explain to them how I feel in the current situation, and suggest planning the project in a way that would allow work to be divided equally. If this method did not go as planned even after an extra reminder or two, it would definitely be challenging to go on with the project. In that case, I would first check in with my friend to make sure nothing is going on and preventing them from doing their best work. But if nothing was found or bettered, I would then proceed to confidentially speak with my teacher and explain my situation and intentions.”
—Lexie, 11th grade, The Rivers School
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