Students learn ethics from local government

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- Often a tricky subject even for adults, Northeast Wisconsin students are taking on the topic of ethics.

Students from eight area schools came together Thursday, diving in to the tough subjects, with the help of local government

“We're not the Scott Walkers of the world. These are the people who are getting down and dirty and getting the job done,” says Shari Peggs, coordinator for the Good Ethic Student Forum. “These students might not recognize them, but it kind of gives you more of, I think it helps give you an opening of somebody not so far away, somebody so distant.”

To start, students heard testaments from local government officials.

“We want to focus on not just what's within the boundaries of the law, or what's within the boundaries of what's been done, but more importantly: what's fair? And what's right,” said Brian Danzinger, a former Green Bay City Council member, during the presentation.

After that, students broke off into groups with government mentors, weighing the pros and cons of tough ethical decisions, ranging from the Edward Snowden scandal to separating conjoined twins.

“If we look to our students to be our leaders, our future leaders, if they don't have the same ethical background that some of, others of us have been exposed to, they're going to be much more challenged in life,” Peggs explains.

Panel members say it’s important to start these discussions early, as ethical decisions aren’t always simple.

“Young people every have to make tough choices,” says Alder Barb Dorff, District 1. “Do we interfere with someone who's bullying someone else? Do we stand up for that other person, even if that might not make us popular with our friends? And so young people need to start young, doing what they believe is right thing to do.”

This marks the 11th year of the ethics seminar.