A close friend shares with you her hurt and outrage. When the subject of the Holocaust came up in social studies class, a teacher told your friend’s teenage son that he should go back to Auschwitz.
The boy, who had previously been proud and open about his Jewish identity, has now abandoned all outward signs of being Jewish. Your friend reported the incident to both the principal and to the school board, but there is no indication that any action was taken against the teacher.
Although you are not Jewish yourself, or perhaps because you’re not Jewish, you feel duty-bound to speak out. You write an op-ed in the local paper outlining these events. You don’t mention any names, but you do mention the school district.
Instead of being grateful for your support, your friend is furious with you. There are very few Jews in the school district, and her son is now terrified of being singled out and possibly targeted by other students. Your friend says that you had no right to publish the article, and that you have compromised her son’s safety and well-being.
Were you wrong to publish the article?
In general, how do we evaluate situations where upholding our principles may cause collateral damage to others, especially children? If it’s wrong to speak up and wrong to stay silent, what other options do we have?
Meet this week’s panelists:
Christopher Bauer, PhD, CSP, CFS is a Speaker, Author, and Consultant on Ethics, Compliance, and Accountability.
Kimberly Davis is an author, TEDx speaker, and founder of the Brave Leadership University, leading development programs world-wide, around authentic leadership, purpose, presence, and influence.
Catherine Fitzgerald is a writer, speaker, certified coach, and founder of Brass Tacks With Heart-executive coaching. She helps founders, owners, and C-Suite Executives and their teams to build businesses that fuel their lives, not consume them.