CHARACTER COUNTS! ®

February is Fairness

What is FAIRNESS?

As we’ve seen with other character traits, there are a number of components of fairness – equality, equity, and justice. 

Equality: The notion that everyone should have an equal opportunity and this idea is central to the American Dream. Special treatment is seen as the opposite to equality and is often viewed as the very root of corruption. And yet, civil-rights leaders have long argued, we don’t all start out from the same place. Therefore, in society privilege does matter. As a result, we’ve seen battles over equity. 

Equity: Argues that fairness is only possible when we take into account the differences of ability, opportunity, and access and make adjustment based on those differences. 

Justice: Our devotion to justice is deeply ingrained. This reverence is evident in all of America’s founding documents, we even pledge allegiance to a Republic that stands for “liberty and justice for all.” 

Even though the underlying concepts of fairness and justice are simple, almost intuitive, applying them in real life can prove to be very difficult. Fairness is concerned with actions, processes, and consequences that are morally right, honorable, and equitable. In essence, the virtue of fairness establishes moral standards for decisions that affect others. Fair decisions are made in an appropriate manner based on appropriate standards. 

We tend to think and speak in terms of fairness when we are dealing with the behavior of individuals in their everyday relationships. We also talk about justice and equity in the broader context of social issues and institutional obligations to individuals. Yet all three words apply to virtually any situation where we want to judge whether an action contributes to a good, rational, caring society.

When you think Fairness:

  • Think - Dividing an orange into equal sections to share fairly with friends. 
  • Play by the rules 
  • Take turns and share 
  • Be open-minded; listen to others 
  • Don’t take advantage of others 
  • Don’t blame others carelessly 
  • Treat all people fairly

Quotes 

We must be impartial in thought as well as in action. - Pres. Woodrow Wilson  

Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both. - Eleanor Roosevelt 

Fairness is what justice really is. - Potter Stewart 

Monthly Character Focus:

  • November – Trustworthiness 
  • December – Respect 
  • January – Responsibility
  • February – Fairness 
  • March – Caring
  • April – Citizenship
  • May – Ethical Decision Making

Daily Pillar Focus

Not only do we focus on the trait of the month, but we also celebrate character every day:

  • Monday – Trustworthiness
  • Tuesday – Respect
  • Wednesday – Responsibility
  • Thursday – Fairness
  • Friday – Caring
  • Saturday and Sunday – Citizenship

 Monthly Calendar

Leatha Roland for North Middle School has created a monthly school calendar with a quote everyday, download it here.

 Character Pledge

If you like to read the CHARACTER COUNTS! Pledge over the PA system in the mornings here is a link to the pledge for download

Strategy

Rapid City CHARACTER COUNTS!® provides youth a framework for ethical living based on basic values called the Six Pillars of Character®:

TRUSTWORTHINESS: Be honest • Don’t deceive, cheat or steal • Be reliable — do what you say you’ll do • Have the courage to do the right thing • Build a good reputation • Be loyal — stand by your family, friends and country.


RESPECT: Treat others with respect; follow the Golden Rule • Be tolerant of differences • Use good manners, not bad language • Be considerate of the feelings of others • Don’t threaten, hit or hurt anyone • Deal peacefully with anger, insults and disagreements.


RESPONSIBILITY: Do what you are supposed to do • Preserve: keep on trying! • Always do your best • Use self-control • Be self-disciplined • Think before you act — consider the consequences • Be accountable for your choices.


FAIRNESS: Play by the rules • Take turns and share • Be open-minded; listen to other • Don’t take advantage of others • Don’t blame others carelessly.


CARING: Be kind • Be compassionate and show you care • Express gratitude • Forgive others • Help people in need.


CITIZENSHIP: Do your share to make your school and community better • Cooperate • Get involved in community affairs • Stay informed; vote • Be a good neighbor • Obey laws and rules • Respect authority • Protect the environment.

Simply put, CHARACTER COUNTS! helps kids make better choices, making everyone’s life better.

Impact

"The results have been outstanding. We've realized a 60% reduction in behavior incidents on living units and a 47% reduction in negative behavioral incidents in our academic setting. Additionally, our human resource director reports staff retention is the highest it has been in 15 years!"
Carrie Oakey, Educator
Stevens High School, Rapid City, SD

Who Makes this Happen

Rapid City CHARACTER COUNTS! invites involvement on several different levels. We greatly appreciate the volunteers and partners who provide an example for the next generation by participating in CHARACTER COUNTS! If you are interested in volunteering or becoming a partner, contact Wes Brown, Program Director for more information.

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