Fender BenderI was in a fender-bender last week. A young driver with obviously little experience put his car in reverse without thinking and backed up right into my car – doing a small amount of damage. He pulled over, got out, and apologized. He was shaken, and I calmed him down using my best teacher tactics. We exchanged information and we were on our way.

Well, now he is being dishonest and telling everyone I hit him. Of course that is to be expected – he was in another accident just two weeks earlier, and mentioned his mother would be very upset (not exactly his words).

I can’t get over how disappointed I am at his lack of integrity. He is actually an athlete from a local school with a name not unknown to the newspapers. To see someone with an obviously bright future who must understand the concept of honor play with something this serious is so unsettling. I keep thinking about how twinges of guilt are going to nettle him the rest of his life at those little moments like when he puts his car in reverse.

We all play a part in teaching our students integrity so they can live their lives in an upright way. Students with academic integrity make decisions based on ethics and values that will prepare them to be productive and ethical citizens. We teach FLVS students the importance of integrity all the time. We teach them what it means before they even begin their lessons. We are so lucky to have watchful and caring teachers and support staff that put their attention to making sure our students stay on the right academic integrity path.

I can only hope that more students in Florida get the benefit of this lesson from FLVS. While it may be too late for this one young man, many others are getting that teachable moment from FLVS every year before it becomes tangible in the real world.

Post by Jennifer Whiting, Former Chief Technology Innovation Officer, Curriculum Manager, and Educator


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