Civic Virtue and Public Policy
  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Provide examples from history of how the relationship between government and the civil society sector has changed.
      2. Benchmark HS.3 Identify an example of failure in each sector, and how the other sectors modified their roles in response.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark HS.4 Describe and give examples of characteristics of someone who helps others.
      2. Benchmark HS.5 Describe civil society advocacy organizations and their relationship to human rights.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Give examples from history of how intolerance of ideas, religion, and minorities contributed to social disintegration.
      2. Benchmark HS.7 Identify and give examples of the important roles women and minorities have played in the civil society sector in history.
    3. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark HS.10 Discuss the results of private citizen voluntary action intended for the common good on public policy changes.
      2. Benchmark HS.11 Discuss why organizations in the civil society sector work to protect minority voices.
      3. Benchmark HS.12 Explain why private action is important to the protection of minority voices.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.4 Cite historical examples of citizen actions that affected the common good.

In this lesson, learners explore and address the following questions: Who are the minority voices of the past and how has the civil society sector stepped in to protect their rights? What actions were effective? What public policies are in place to protect them? Who are the bullied today and what policies and practices should be in place to protect them? Why is it our responsibility as people with civic virtue to take action?

PrintTwo 45-Minute Sessions

The learner will:

  • explain why private action is important to the protection of minority voices.
  • explore historic examples of victimized minorities who were denied their rights.
  • news articles about past and recent bullying episodes
  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Review several situations in history where people were bullied or oppressed by a dominant group (Supreme Court in 1857 declares African Americans cannot be citizens; US Army in 1890 massacres Native Americans at Wounded Knee; Nazis in 1930s lead genocide of Jews; Police in Birmingham, AL in 1963 attack protesters of racial injustice; from 1948-1994 South Africa maintains system of racial segregation called Apartheid).

    Ask the learners to describe the attributes of the bullies in these historical situations (angry, intolerant, afraid of losing power, hateful, arrogant, violent). Write their brainstormed attributes on the board and save for later in the lesson.

  2. Discuss how bullies in history are like the bullies we encounter at school or in our communities. All bullies are alike in that they have a perceived or actual power and use it to oppress a person or group in the minority (with less power or perceived power).

  3. Name (or have students recall) people in history who had empathy for others and stood up to bullying behavior or injustice (Sojourner Truth promoted fair laws for blacks and women, Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for equal rights for minorities, Gandhi led people in protest against an oppressive system of government, Nelson Mandela stood against the unjust system of Apartheid).

    Discuss the attributes of these people who gave their time, talent, and treasure to take action against bullies for the common good (peaceful, hopeful, positive, confident, dedicated, loving, dignified, trustworthy, empathic, and proud). Write their attributes on the board next to the attributes of the historic bullies.

  4. These people who stood up to injustice were part of the civil society sector. The civil society sector is the part of society where most social change originates, and that takes action when the government and businesses cannot or will not take action to address an issue. It may be an individual, a social group, or a nonprofit organization. The civil society sector often acts to protect minority voices.

    We are in the civil society sector.

  5. These people who stood up to injustice exhibited civic virtue. Define civic virtue as morality or a standard of righteous behavior in relationship to a citizen's involvement in society. An individual may exhibit civic virtue by voting, volunteering, organizing a book group, advocating for justice, attending a PTA meeting.

    We can have civic virtue.

  6. Discuss the types of actions that oppressed minorities have used to stand up to the bullies (protest, confident defiance, naming laws, discussing with peaceful reason, enforcing natural consequences).

  7. Say, "Just as people in history stood up for civil rights, our school can take action to ensure that the rights of all students are respected by all students, staff, and the community." Ask them what they can learn from past civil rights leaders to change the bullying issue today.

  8. Session Two

  9. Discuss cases of bullying that have made the news, choosing examples where victims may have been targeted for different reasons, such as people with disabilities, LGBTQ teens, ethnic/religious minorities, or sexual harassment. Talk about how these cases might have been prevented or diffused by civil action on the part of the school and students.