Dealing with Student Cheating
By Edwin C. Darden
These days, cheating is an accepted and common way of succeeding for many public school students.
Whether the offense is “sharing” homework, peeking at a neighbor’s answers during a test, or plagiarizing from a pre-existing work, post-millennium learners often find little wrong in cutting corners.
Yet, cheating is spelled out as a violation of the student honor code in nearly every student handbook in the U.S. When students are caught, they are subject to discipline, which raises legal concerns.
While a lot of attention has fallen on administrators and teachers who unethically help students pass a test, student cheating continues. Oddly, academic dishonesty has received less attention lately and seemingly spurred less outrage. Because of both the learning and legal impact, however, school board members, superintendents, and educators would be smart to refocus their attention on this uncomfortable topic.
To be fair, sometimes the bad conduct is not intentional. Young people can and do mistakenly cheat or plagiarize out of ignorance. But school board policies on this subject are unyielding, built around the idea that students are expected to know right from wrong.
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