Amidst the recent cheating scandal regarding a Sequoia High School family and the district; countless questions arise, and rumors emerge concerning the issue.
Yes, it is true that the said student cheated, and yes it is true that the family took it to court, however the rest of the details are fuzzy.
Regardless, students and teachers should open up the taboo of cheating and realize that this one instance lacks the power to eliminate cheating in its entirety.
Of course students are told to be academically honest; in fact I signed a “pledge” for almost every class at the start of the school year. We are reminded before every test, essay, lab, homework assignment, the start of every unit, in addition to the end of every unit; we are reminded so much that the warnings begin to be disregarded and quickly replaced with other thoughts, for the attention span of a teenager is not long.
That said, teachers can’t stress the consequences enough. However, they never acknowledge the fact that even with this case as an example; the dishonesty persists regardless of the consequences. These consequences, however, have been tested.
One may think that because of the increasing number of students getting ousted from honors programs, students would have learned by now, that the risk of getting caught is not worth the ease of glancing at a classmate’s test, or copying a homework assignment at lunch the day that it is due.
However from my perspective, nothing has changed. I see it in every class, and it echoes through the halls during breaks. The Berghouse case is not uncommon.
What we are not told, however, is that we don’t need straight A’s and a 4.7 GPA to get into a good college, or that it is ok to fail a class so long as it is done with integrity, because in this day and age, that is far from the truth. Students are expected to maintain perfect marks in honors classes as well as fulfill 150 hours of community service over the course of two years to even be considered for a competitive university.
If there is one thing that I have learned from my experience at Sequoia, it is that getting into college is hard. It is impossible to balance academics, sports, social life, and community service and get a full six hours of sleep every night. This pressure causes stress, and stress causes cheating. It’s a vicious cycle.
Cheating is something that has been done for hundreds of years, and will continue to be performed for years to come. That in no way makes it ok for students to cheat, however I do not think that the subject should be such a taboo in schools.
Course loads and homework loads should not have the capacity to drive a student to cheat.
I encourage teachers to talk about it with their students, because that communication could open up a new outlook on cheating and make them view the subject at a different angle. There is no way to know how to completely stop cheating in our schools, for it is almost ritual in high schools.
However despite the challenge of the class or the plummeting grade a student receives, respect for the teacher lulls the urge to cheat, and simply talking it out can create this sense of respect.