In the realm of IPods, text messaging, video chatting, online video games, and email, what does the average teen think about morals? Are the students of this generation receiving the moral support they need from their parents, schools, and community members? Should these entities even be involved in helping to develop students morality? How should morals be defined and whose are "right"? These are all questions that a professional school counselor (PSC) will face and need to ask themselves regularly. Morality in education is an emotionally-charged issue and one that has many facets, creating numerous challenges for the PSC. To begin, the idea of morality needs to be defined and some assumptions made.
According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, morality is defined as "...normatively to refer to a code of conduct that, given specified conditions, would be put forward by all rational persons" (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2010). Examining the definition, one can come to realize that if someone has morals, they should be following some sort of accepted "law" of society and that for one to be rational, they must follow these laws. At this point, the situation gets complicated. The American society seems to have two types of morals; one is the list of the major morals such as murder, stealing, etc. Most would agree that these are wrong and the government has put laws in place to deter people from breaking these codes. The second type is the lesser morals, involving things such as underage drinking, pre-marital sex, lying/cheating, etc. These lesser morals are left more to the individual, familial, and/or cultural interpretation of what is accepted or not. This abstract approach towards morals cause stress and frustration in the work of a PSC.
Ideally, society would live with the concept of "morality [that] involves the ideas of right and wrong", but "...it appears that society is living by a code of survival of the greediest" (Rayburn, June 2004). Media, parents, and peers have twisted the idea of morality, causing the younger generation to suppress their morals in exchange for personal gain and acceptance. A student would cheat on their test, in order to be accepted by their parents and better their chances of getting into college, without considering it immoral or wrong. This mindset has created, according to Sandhu et al., a spiritual emptiness that leaves the student without love, meaning, hope, belonging, empathy, and completeness (Rayburn, June 2004).
Data has expressed the concrete need for some sort of moral intervention in the youth of today. The Josephson Institute of Ethics reported that in 2002, twelve thousand students were surveyed and seventy four percent admitted to cheating on an exam, forty three percent believed they needed to lie to get ahead in life, and ninety five percent thought trustworthiness is important (Britzman, 2010). While the students believe that it is important to be trustworthy, the false...