Peer pressure is real. Whether out of fear of being different or just plain lack of confidence, students love to follow the crowd. It’s safe that way; they get the rewards of being liked without the risks of alienation. But then sometimes conforming to the group strips away an individual’s dignity and self-worth and, in the worst of cases, leads to destructive decisions. Deciding when to follow the group– and when to go at it alone– is an ongoing moral struggle that students must resolve in school and beyond.
Students know what it feels like to be hurt. When they are hurt, they have choices to make about how to treat the people who hurt them. These choices give them opportunities to demonstrate empathy and respect for others and to preserve relationships, or break them off. Forgiveness is a moral choice which strikes at the heart of ethical decision-making.