The Harm that Comes Along with Cheating

The Harm that Comes Along with Cheating

Hailey Schlotthauer, Staff Writer

Exams are here. You’ve been studying for three exams and definitely have not been sleeping. You look at your last DBQ on the history exam and you have no idea how to even begin to answer the question. Your best friend is right next to you, and she’s always been good with DBQ’s. From where you are sitting, you can see she has already started it. Do you do it? What’s the harm right?

Well, let’s say you got caught. Then really, what is the harm done?

Disciplinary actions have a ripple effect on your high school career. Different actions have different consequences. Cheating for example at ODA is mostly handled through our Honor Council. Honor Council consists of a panel of one student per grade, and their job is to hear the whole story of what happened. Which means they genuinely want to hear your side, why you cheated, and look at all the evidence.

Honor Council does not create the punishments if there are any, that is left up to Mrs.Dougherty and Mr.Seldis, however they can make suggestions. The most important thing to remember is if you are brought to the Honor Council is to tell the truth.

Telling the truth is the only way to help your case, and lying about the situation will get you in more trouble than telling the truth. After you meet with Honor Council once, you also meet with them after everything has been said and done so they can check in on how you have been handling your punishment.

How does the Honor Council and Mr. Seldis and Mrs. Dougherty look at disciplinary actions?

“It really depends on what the crime is, what grade level they are in, and whether it is a first time or repeated offense. For example, a freshman who plagiarizes MLA format without really understanding what they’ve done wrong is looked with more sympathy than a junior or senior plagiarizing a paper,” says Mr. Seldis.

Also, to put a rumor to end, cheating on a final exam is looked at the same as cheating on a paper; just because it is an exam does not mean it is held at a higher standard. The factor that makes the difference in how the school will handle the situation is age. This concept also is true for the college application process.  

When applying to schools, it is important to know ODA is a “full disclosure school.” This term means that ODA will report all suspendable infractions- an infraction that warrants major disciplinary actions. This means the school will report any disciplinary infractions you have ever had to all colleges. The reasoning behind this is to show accountability and responsibility to colleges.

However, if you cheat on a paper freshman year, it is much easier to defend yourself to colleges and say you have learned from your mistakes (if you have no further records of cheating). But if you make the same mistake junior or senior year, this does look worse to colleges, simply because as a junior or senior you should know better.

Colleges greatly appreciate honesty. College Counseling even said, if you tell every college you apply to that you made a mistake, and truthfully explain themselves, they will notice it and appreciate it. In fact, in one case a few years back, a student admitted to every college she applied to about her cheating incident and how she has grown since then. The colleges noticed how honest she was, and came back to our College Counseling office saying how that was a mature characteristic of the applicant and was duly noted.

Truthfully, cheating is something that happens every day at high schools all over the country. So who cheats and why do they cheat? Believe it or not, it’s more common for students with a high, class ranking and harder classes to cheat on things like homework or tests.

High achieving students tend to cheat for competitive advantage as they strive to get ahead (Psychology Today). The psychological formula for cheating at school is simply this: cheating = sneaking + lying + stealing. You sneak to conceal what you are up to. You lie about what you have done. And you steal credit for performance you did not earn. So there are three ethical violations in one when you cheat by plagiarizing papers, copying homework, procuring answers on tests, or altering records (Psychology Today).

What about something worse than cheating? Like a police record? How does the school approach a situation like this? What’s off of campus, does not impact school. The school does not want to parent you. If you were caught with alcohol or a fake id, or a speeding ticket, the punishment will be left up to your parents, not Mr. Seldis. However, something like this would have an impact on your college application. Having some sort of criminal record must be reported to colleges, and will definitely be looked at more harshly.

As you head into exams, think before you look. Though your friend might have an awesome DBQ, the repercussions caused by cheating are far worse than not getting an A.