In this article, Meira Levinson presents a case study of school personnel who must decide whether to expel a fourteen-year-old student for bringing marijuana onto campus. She uses the case to explore a class of ethical dilemmas in which educators are obligated to take action that fulfills the demands of justice but under conditions in which no just action is possible because of contextual and school-based injustices. She argues that under such circumstances, educators suffer moral injury, the trauma of perpetrating significant moral wrong against others despite one’s wholehearted desire and responsibility to do otherwise. Educators often try to avoid moral injury by engaging in loyal subversion, using their voice to protest systemic injustices, or exiting the school setting altogether. No approach, however, enables educators adequately to fulfill their obligation to enact justice and hence to escape moral injury. Society hence owes educators moral repair—most importantly, by restructuring educational and other social systems so as to mitigate injustice. Levinson concludes that case studies of dilemmas of educational justice, like the case study with which she begins the article, may enable philosophers, educators, and members of the general public to engage in collective, phronetic reflection. This process may further reduce moral injury and enhance educators’ capacities to enact justice in schools.
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