Seventh graders get lesson in ethics |

Seventh graders get lesson in ethics

summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado

FRISCO ” As the four Summit Middle School students sat around a table in the media center, they opened up about stories of bullying and tough situations they and their classmates face.

With them was Gil Smith, a volunteer with The Rotary Club of Summit County who helped the seventh graders process through a variety of dilemmas. He was one of the 22 adults teaching the students about The Four-Way Test, and after the recent sessions, the students were impressed.

About four years ago, Bill Reetz, president-elect of the local Rotary Club, brought ethics test into the schools. He had heard about through a group that developed a program in Boulder.

“It’s gotten a lot bigger and a lot more powerful,” Reetz said.

The test, written on bronze-colored coins the students received, asks the following questions.

– Is it the truth?

– Is it fair to all concerned?

– Will it build good will and better friendships?

– Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

It was created by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor in 1932 when he was asked to take charge of a company facing bankruptcy, according to information from the Rotary Club. Since then it has become one of the most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics in the world.

It was adopted by Rotary in 1943 and has been translated into more than 100 languages.

Some of the scenarios the students talked through with the Rotary volunteers included moral dilemmas involving alcohol, dating and more.

“The idea is to get kids involved in a discussion. … It’s bigger than ‘yes’ or ‘no,'” Reetz said.

Katie Muller, Four-Way Test in Schools chairwoman who has two middle school age children, told the students, “It applies to your personal life every single day. … It’s a very effective tool.”

“Middle school is a tough age, so it’s a great age to talk about bullying, social situations … things these kids start to see in their lives,” she said, adding that the partnership with the school district has made the program successful.

Students Vanessa Barrios, Jane Anderson, Zach Buffalow and Nic Berry worked with Smith. “I would use this when I’m stuck in a situation,” Vanessa said.

Jane said, “It was really fun … and relevant.” And Nic added, “At first I thought it would be not so fun.”

The experience is also eye opening for the volunteers about the issues children deal with in today’s world, Smith said, adding that he learns something every time.

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