When the term responsibility is said what comes to your mind? How do you define responsibility? I believe that responsibility is our own action to deal with something when we know of a situation that needs dealt with. When put in a situation where someone’s actions can cause a difference for the good in the outcome, I believe it is the person’s responsibility to step up. No matter what the situation may be, no matter if I may seem noisy, or no matter how others may feel by my actions; if I can in the end be responsible for a negative outcome of something that I could have changed, it is my responsibility.
I can remember sitting on the cheer bus headed back to the high school after our basketball team had just won another game, when Jordan received a text message on her phone that would totally shock and give me chills. As the text tone sounded I looked down at the screen of her phone that had just received a new message. Before she had the chance to hide the phone, or open the message I had seen whom the text was from, our high school math teacher Mr. Artman. When seeing that name come across her phone I was thrown back, and quite frankly a little concerned. She knew I had seen the text, and before she had a chance to say anything I flat out asked her “Why is he texting you”.
She then proceeded to tell me that she had been going in for Math Mornings Help, and that I couldn’t tell anyone that he had been texting her. She also told me that he had been bringing her breakfast in the mornings, and texting her about homework and questions she had. When I did say I was going to tell someone she told me that she would not be my friend anymore, and that I would greatly embarrass her. She “assured” me that nothing was going on between them, and I regretfully at the time agreed to not say a word, in worry that I would loose my friend.
Jordan and Mr. Artman knew what he was doing wasn’t right, but continued to do it anyways. Maybe Jordan thought he would just give her and A in the class, therefore not caring about the wrongful doing he was committing. I was worried for my friend. Worried that he would try to make a move on her, or that maybe something sexual was already going on between them and she was trying to hide whatever it was. Jordan could have prevented this all along though, by not giving him her number and stopped attending the Math Mornings.
It wasn’t four days later that she came to me in the hall very upset, in tears, and in a panic. She informed me that during their Math Mornings session that morning, he had placed his hand upon her lap a little too close for comfort. She wasn’t sure what to make of it, and wasn’t sure if he really meant to do it. But I knew at that moment I could not keep what was going on a secret anymore. I left the hallway and made my way down to the principal’s office where I informed him of what was going on. At this time it was my responsibility to tell the principal what I knew. I was guilty by knowing what was going on, and by the law of suspicion I had to tell.
But what if hypothetically I wouldn’t have told the principal of my high school. Would their relationship have furthered? Or would he have taken it too far and consequently end up hurting her. If the outcome were as horrific as I can think it could be I would be blaming myself to this day. I would have been responsible for him possibly raping her, or inappropriately touching her. If someone at the school would have found out that I knew all along he was having this relationship with her and I didn’t tell, I could be held partially accountable for the outcome if I didn’t inform anyone.
We could also think hypothetically, what if he wouldn’t have placed his hand on her lap that morning before school. She would have never came to me very upset, and I quite possibly wouldn’t have let the principal know what was going on, in fear of loosing my friend. She had assured me nothing was going on, on the cheer bus and I let it go. So the school may have never found out that they were texting one another, because my responsibility would have dwindled if I had not found out about the hand touching.
There are quite a few examples of great counter arguments I could face from others, but in each one I still believe it was my responsibility to let someone know what was going on. The first counter argument I could think of is one saying “Would you report your next door neighbor cheating on his wife”. Some may say they only would if they knew the neighbor very well. But I am very different, and would report my neighbor if I knew of such actions.
People who disagree would state their thesis as; It is not someone’s responsibility to relay information regardless of their relationship, or what the information is. But if I knew information like that it’s my moral duty to let my neighbor know what going on. I would report them because I believe in honesty and morally doing what’s right, no matter if it’s my business or not. Cheating on your spouse is so morally wrong that it goes without saying, that when someone knows your doing it and hiding it, the matter should be brought up to them.
One could also use the counter argument, “What if what you knew about Jordan and the Teacher was a rumor”. They could say I would cause embarrassment on both sides of the situation, and potentially a very awkward encounter each day at school. But to that counter argument I would say, if I had suspicion that something was going on, I would still report it as just that, SUSPICION. I would tell the principal I had seen and heard something that seemed wrong, but that I didn’t fully know if it was the truth. The school would then know how to handle the situation, and I could potentially have helped the case.
People have many different and broad definitions of responsibility. Some would have never acted the way I did, and would have let the inappropriate behavior continue to happen. But my morals, and my values told me otherwise that I needed to do something to stop what was going in. When put in a situation where someone’s actions can cause a difference for the good in the outcome, I believe it is the person’s responsibility to step up.
Courtney from Study Moose
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