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What do schools do about cheating?

Like it or not, there are students who cheat in school. And ever since the first student peeked at another student's test answers, kids will find a way to cheat. Today's cheating methods may be far more advanced than ever before, but they can still result in some of the same traditional punishments. 

As such, parents and students should all understand what the potential penalties are for cheating. It can also be important to understand what to do when the consequences of alleged cheating go too far.

Penalties for cheating can include:

  • Automatic failure of the assignment or test
  • Automatic failure of the class
  • Withholding of classroom privileges
  • Detention or suspension
  • A mark on a student's permanent record, affecting his or her future academic options
  • Loss of scholarship
  • Possible criminal charges

Considering how serious these penalties are, and the extent to which they can affect a child's life, it is crucial that they be administered fairly and only when necessary.

For instance, a school that expels one child after a first offense but suspends another for a first offense can be discriminating against the first student. Or, a teacher might humiliate or physically discipline a student accused of cheating, even though school policies do not permit such actions.

If a student is subjected to harsh consequences that other students are not, or if a school or teacher's actions are outside the school policies or a violation of state law, then it can be crucial for the student and his or her parents to challenge cheating allegations or penalties to protect a child's future.

Of course, students should not cheat, and they should understand that doing so does have consequences. However, schools and teachers have a responsibility to have and enforce clear, fair policies on cheating. If there is reason to challenge these, having legal counsel can be crucial for all parties.

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