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The Ethics of Cheating

By Patrick Stachniak in Opinion & Politics


Fairview is always on the lookout for violators of the academic honesty pledge, including the use of a survey by NHS to anonymously find out how many students “cheat”.

 The thing is that cheating comes in levels, and that you have to draw your own lines with what you are willing and not willing to do, and face the consequences.

 High schools have always had a problem with cheating/plagiarism. However, is there an epidemic of cheating at Fairview?

 Who cares? Not me, that's for sure. In my humble opinion, most homework would be worth more had it actually been turned into toilet paper.

OK, that may be hyperbole, but there still is a significant amount of homework that is just busy work, and doesn’t really help you learn anything. So, cheating on these things isn’t that bad, the only problem comes when the cheating is harming you or another person. 

What constitutes hurting you would be anything that inhibits your ability to actually learn what you need to. If you copy homework because you forgot to do it, no problem. If you’re cheating on the final by paying for the answers because you didn’t study, you should get in trouble. 

High school isn’t exactly the best, but you still need it if you wanna do more than flip burgers for the rest of your life. 

Lauren “Taeko” Chase agrees that some types of cheating are worse than others.

“Copying off someone’s homework is still cheating, but it’s not that bad,” said Chase 

But what type of cheating is the worse? Said Chase “It’s one thing if you don’t know the answer or something in math, but claiming someone else's research as your own is the worst.” 

Plagiarism is definitely one of the worst types of cheating. Though don’t mistake simply copying homework to be plagiarism. 

Sure, it technically falls under the banner of stealing another’s work, but it’s usually done because the assignment itself is useless and not important to actually learning anything or because the student already has a mountain of other work. 

If a student copies homework because they don’t have time to finish all of it, the administration might be mad and claim they are cheating. But in reality, they are prioritizing their work and time, and somethings need to be left out. 

Besides, most cases of plagiarism at Fairview are accidental. Said counselor Lesley Lundeen, “Maybe once a semester we see it. Usually just kids that were unsure how to cite things in english papers.”

So a lot of the time the cheating is malicious, just do to negligence.

Said math teacher Aaron Hickman, “I’ve only ever had one or two instances of cheating on a test since I've been at Fairview.”

You have to be careful if you’re going to cheat. Teachers aren’t as clueless as you might think.

Said Hickman on what he does when he catches someone, “Typically it involves a conversation with that student. I might check with the Dean of Students and see if this is an ongoing issue with this student,” said Hickman. “When confronted, they either admit it right away or eventually admit it.”

Even when students are caught, they confess. You could say they were scared of getting in more trouble, but I’d say it’s more about that guilty feeling you have when you know you did something really wrong.

Said Hickman, “You can still be a good person, you just made a bad decision.”

This doesn't mean everything the administration considers cheating is bad. Sometimes cheating is a sort of necessity in keeping up with classes and homework loads. So don’t feel guilty if you need to copy occasionally, but remember that when you cheat on your test, you’re only cheating yourself.

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