Ethical Dilemmas in the DOE
In every profession: we as the professionals are faced with ethical dilemmas. An ethical dilemma is a conflict of moral principles, occurring when a person is faced in certain situations, where adhering particularly principal might result in the violation of the other (Buzzle.com, 2014). In the Department of Education (DOE) we identify the students and families of the New York City public school system as our clients. Our families and students develop a strong relationships with staff, which is normal. Students spend 181 days of the year in school with educational, clerical and clinical staff (schools.nyc.gov, 2014). As a family worker of the DOE I am faced with ethical dilemmas that force me to check self and take a professional stance towards a situation. Dilemmas at the your workplaces can sometimes be the hardest decision to make in life, however as a professional we must take the proper steps to move further and not jeopardize our license and/ or career.
As a family worker of the School Base Support Team, I have the most parent contact due to the many hats I wear in my position. At the department of education I take on many roles and help out in different sectors of the educational system. I build relations with parents, grandparents, foster parents, service providers, outside case manager, workers of the Administration for Children Services (ACS) and our students. In building these relationships, we as staff have a lot of outside commonalities (i.e. social clubs, mutual friends, shared interest and come from the same geographical community). In my position, I have an advantage over a lot of staff. I come from the community that I work in, I have observed many of the children that enroll into my school grow and develop inside and outside of the school setting. Most of the children, that attend this educational institute, parents have grown up with me in the same community and we share the same cultural background as well as upbringing. This advantage can have its ups and downs, especially when faced with ethical dilemmas. I am the person whom makes the initial contact with the parent in different situations: before an evaluation is started, when attendance is a lacking, when a special education student is involved in a situation, when outreach is needed for specified reasons and when Office of Children and Family Services needs to be notified. Being such an asset to the educational institute and the community sometimes put me in a position where ethical dilemmas can occur. An ethical dilemma that I can remember taking place during my second year in my position as a Family Worker/ Clerical Associate. I was well aware of the basic codes of ethics and as a young lady, who resided in the community where 97% of the student body also resided, I put a lot of things in perspective before working in my community. I limited my social network friends, became very humble, and made it clear to the parents that I had prior relationships during my childhood that “my job is my job… its business!” There was now a new relationship that was forming as an administrator/ family worker in the educational institute where the families are our clients. As a familiar face from my community, this forced me to reflect on dual relationships as discussed in “Beyond the code of ethics, Part I”, it leaves an open door to necessary exception, so keeping a strictly professional relationship helps me avoid dilemmas (Freud & Krug, 2002). Relationships in the field are very important and can be the drive for change. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) core value of importance of human relationships ethical principal looks at the importance of the relationship, building stronger relationships with meaning to promote, restore, maintain, and better wellbeing of individuals, families, social groups, organizations and communities (NASW, 2008)....
References: Dhavale, G. (2013). Buzzle: Ethical dilemma example. Retrieved February/24, 2014, from http://www.buzzle.com/articles/ethical-dilemma-example.html
Dodd, S. J. (2007). Identifying the discomfort. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 27(1-2), 1-19.
Freud, S. & Krug, S. (2002). Beyond the code of ethics, part I: Complexities of ethical decision making in social work practice. Families in Society: Journal of Contemporary Human Service, 83(5/6), 474-482.
National Association of Social Workers. (2008). Code of ethics of the national
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NYC Department of Education. (2014). Student attendance calendar 2013-14.
Retrieved February/ 24, 2014, from
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