One might think that the most important subject matter to get across to children in school, involves the basics of mathematics, reading, and writing. While, no doubt, mastery of these subjects are of immense importance for all, the bottom line is that those that are educated, or non-educated for that matter, need to also be taught and to take to heart, without exception, the importance of as well as the value of good ethics and sound morals. That is to say, a society that brings up its children in a manner in which their moral compass is suspect and their personal ethics correlate wholly with their selfishness, is not going to be a good and safe society, but rather will devolve into being a dog-eat-dog construct.
It is always far better to address morals and ethics, when a child is young, for good habits developed at a young age, create a sound basis for good behavior. While, it is true, that it is never too late for change for the better, it is a truism that the more ingrained bad habits and bad behaviors are, the more difficult it is to extricate people from the mindset trap that has been so created.
It is wise to remember that when children are born that their environment and their upbringing impresses upon their psyche, and such can either be of benefit to that child in its good development, or can be in conflict or of harm to the innate goodness of children; so that in absence of good role models, or sound familial structure, children need to know not only what is right and what is wrong, but the reasoning behind such, as well as taking into their being the comprehension as to why good morals and sound ethics makes for a good and better society, as well as for a better and more secure life.
After all, if stealing, cheating, and lying are all occurring in the here and now of a child's development, of which, there is nobody or no one to help explain why this is not appropriate behavior which is being perpetrated from various adults as well as other children; in which, it seems that in many instances, the perpetrators of these bad things often are not being caught or made to own up to their misbehavior, then nothing but confusion and uncertainty is going to enter into the mind of a given child. For, the bottom line is that though we do have police and a multitude of laws, it is in a very large sense, up to people themselves to be the ultimate person responsible for their own behavior, good or bad, and to thereby to keep their own house in order.
Everyone should know the difference between right and wrong, and further, the need to have developed within themselves the discipline to not allow impulsive and bad acts to override their common sense, a good moral compass, and good behavior. Additionally, our free will, is our responsibility to own up to, so that we need as much as possible, from good familial relationships, good schools, good friends, as well as mentors, the abiding knowledge that good morals and sound ethics properly applied will serve as our good restraint upon our bad actions, for if we do not learn to appropriately restrain ourselves, then the state apparatus or outside elements will surely do so.