Even with a wintery start and two-hour delay to the school day, Ethics Day 2018 was hosted for the James Madison High School Class of 2019 on Nov. 16, 2018 at the Vienna Community Center. More than 100 community members volunteered their time to produce and facilitate the day.
Designed with four interactive sessions the students rotated through, the program focused on the critical thinking required when reviewing a complicated ethical decision. In small groups, each with a community member as a facilitator, students discussed a wide range of topics: reckless driving, the best candidate for an organ donation, how to respond to peer vaping and how to make a decision when the outcome could fracture a professional or personal relationship.
During a mock trial, presided over by Judge Jonathan Frieden, Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations, students witnessed two teenagers on trial for reckless driving that resulted in the death of a peer. Nathaniel Baldwin, The Baldwin Law Firm, LLC., served as the prosecuting attorney and Robert Wagman, Bracewell, served as the defending attorney. Lieutenant Thomas Taylor, Vienna Police Department, served as the officer who responded to the scene and provided testimony. After both lawyers presented their case, with witnesses, and the trial was over, each student group participated in a discussion to determine if the reckless driver should receive time in jail.
Sponsored by the Vienna Rotary Club, the Warhawk Foundation, Vienna Optimists and the PTSA, students were bused from the school to community center and were provided both breakfast and lunch throughout the day.