Responsibility Index and
Bills of Responsibilities

Middle School and high school
Subject: Law
Time: 20 to 30 minutes for each exercise
Preparation: Choose either of these activities after viewing "WARN" (Tape 1, Responsibility, Act 2, 24:21)

Responsibility Index

Ask students what they would do in the following situations:

1. You allowed a classmate to copy your homework. The teacher compares the two papers and asks you who did the homework. What do you say?

2. You hear that one of your friends brought a gun on campus. What do you do?

3. One day, you and some of your friends are walking home from school and pass an apparently abandoned building, which has several broken windows. One person suggests that everyone throw rocks at the unbroken windows. What do you do?

4. You see your best friend take money out of the coach's wallet, which was absentmindedly left in the athletic office. Later, you're called into the vice principal's office and asked what you know about the theft. What do you do?

5. You've been watching a group put up hate posters against Jews, African-Americans, and the federal government. One of the people in the group spots you and says they'll beat you up if you rat on them. What do you do?

Distribute the above situations to the class. Tell them to select how responsible they feel about each item based on the determiners given below. By placing the results on the board, you will have approximated a "responsibility index" for your class.
  • I'm completely responsible.
  • I feel somewhat responsible.
  • Taking responsibility might lead to trouble.
  • It's not my responsibility.

Bills of Responsibilities

As members of the school community, your students have rights and responsibilities. If there isn't already a written list, challenge your students to write one. Most of us are acutely aware of our rights, but can your students write a "Bill of Responsibilities" that they believe in? Here is a sample from the Boys Brotherhood Republic, a 50-year-old democratically run boys club in New York City.


Bill of Responsibilities

To My Country, My Parents,
and Myself -- That I May:

1. Honor my parents, my elders, and my teachers.

2. Take care of my body, mind, and spirit.

3. Improve myself through education, in preparation for the future.

4. Perform my work to the best of my ability.

5. Develop high moral principles and the courage to live by them.

6. Grow in character and ability as I grow in size.

7. Respect the rights and feelings of others.

8. Be honest with myself and others in what I say and do.

9. Set a good example so others may enjoy and profit by my company.

10. Obey the laws of society and live in harmony with others.

11. Preserve and support our American way of life and the government of our people.

Boys Brotherhood Republic
888 East 6th Street, New York, NY 10009

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