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10th Grader Falsely Accused of Cheating

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Replies to: 10th Grader Falsely Accused of Cheating

  • mom2andmom2and Registered User Posts: 2,679 Senior Member
    So sorry this is happening OP. I hope it turns out that your son didn't do this and can prove it. However, it sounds like your son had some work shown, but the work shown did not support his answer. If that is the case, it makes it hard for your son to prove he didn't cheat, especially because he confessed. His description of everyone being very angry may be exaggerated.

    As in post #13, you need to sit down with your son and let him know that you will love and support him no matter what, and ask him if he may have seen a neighbor's answer and used it. Kids, especially kids that are considered very gifted and for whom tests usually come easy, could panic during a very hard BC calc test. Not saying your son cheated, but that it is possible for even a very good kid to panic and glance at a neighbor's paper and write down that answer when they can't figure it out.

    I don't think this is a disaster for your son, whether or not the accusation is true. Kids make mistakes. Does the school have an honor code with consequences for cheating on a test? If the teacher is punishing him more severely than required, then that is something to bring up to the head of school.


    What is the basis for saying that his life at this school will now be so terrible? Wouldn't most HS teachers understand that kids make mistakes and that one error does not define a kid? Yes, he may be subject to more scrutiny, but hopefully can redeem himself.

    Pretty unusual for 10th graders to be in BC Calc.
  • skieuropeskieurope Super Moderator Posts: 42,211 Super Moderator
    edited February 17
    Super smart kids can do math in their heads and are known for not showing work.
    While true, math teachers (and science teachers and college instructors) often require work to be shown to receive credit. Whether this is the policy of this math teacher is not known.

    For the OP, I agree with @coolweather . The first conversation, certainly before contacting a lawyer, needs to be with your son. I'm thinking there is more to this story. The confession leads me to think along the same lines as @roycroftmom that he's more afraid of coming clean to the parent than to the teacher(s). Regardless, the situation can be salvaged with minimal long-term impact.
    Post edited by skieurope on
  • sunnyschoolsunnyschool Registered User Posts: 1,209 Senior Member
    Agree to receive credit @skieurope . But accusing him of cheating - without proof thereof - may be inaccurate.

    Also agree with digging more with the son, b/c perhaps he didn't study for this test. Can he show you, parents, how he did this problem?
  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 Registered User Posts: 1,509 Senior Member
    "I think he said that the other kid had the same answer, but the other kid had the proper steps written out and my son did not."

    That is pretty damning - not 100% conclusive, but close. At this point it might be best to negotiate to keep the incident off his record and transcripts, but take the zero, learn from the experience and move forward.
  • yourmommayourmomma Registered User Posts: 1,232 Senior Member
    Ok a couple of things. First, the good news is you're kid will recover from this. It's not the end of the world.

    Second, tell your kid he is never to answer investigator questions with authority figures (schools, cops, etc.) without your notice and approval. (This is a good practice, one which I learned in 10th grade as well). What these "adults" did was wrong -- they basically bullied a young kid into a "confession." What choice did the kid have -- 3 adults hounding him for the "answer" they wanted.

    Third, get his copy of the test -- that's the evidence. Was the answer right? Have it reviewed independently. Have the teacher explain why "you can't get the answer from what is written." My kid was famous for going step A, D, E, F, Y = answer. (Of course he made a lot of mistakes that way :) ) Make your own determination as to the likelihood that your kid copied. Determine if there is another class/teacher you kid can change to.

    Based on the evaluations and how the powers that be handle the situation determine what to do next. Be prepared to run into roadblocks with administrators. The kid may just have to eat the 0, ace the rest of the tests, pass the AP exam and go tell the teach where to stick it. Good luck.
  • roycroftmomroycroftmom Registered User Posts: 2,147 Senior Member
    And these responses explain why teachers don't usually bother dealing with cheating. There is no incentive to do so whatsoever, the parents will deny and raise a ruckus, the administrators will be annoyed-frankly, it's a miracle anyone bothers to raise the cheating issue anymore;no wonder it is so commonplace now. Heaven forbid we hold our kids accountable for their actions.
  • calmomcalmom Registered User Posts: 20,460 Senior Member
    edited February 17
    It's low odds that he made multiple, exactly offsetting, mistakes on two problems. And if it were my kid, I'd probably just take the zero and move on.

    Actually, my smart, intuitive math-y son could easily have done exactly that because he would figure out answers to math problems in his head, and then write down the "steps" only to please the teacher --and he often had no clue as to exactly what the steps the teacher wanted/ expected were. I know that he found the math part of calculus easy, but was confused by some of the conventions as to symbols/notations in equations. I used to watch him do his algebra & trig homework, writing down answer first, and then work backwards to arrive at the steps. So I can see it as being quite probable that he could have made all sorts of errors in the "steps" even though the answer was correct.. precisely because he had never used those steps to solve the problem. My son was dyslexic as well, which would definitely increase the likelihood of making errors in the written sequencing stuff (such as inverting or transposing numbers, etc.).

    That being said, I agree the confession is a huge problem. My son would have been pretty upfront with any teacher about his process -- and if the OP's son also had that habit, I'd expect that would be known pretty clearly by now. That particular pattern sets in long before high school.

    My point is that may not be a case of "multiple, exactly offsetting, mistakes" because the person may not have actually solved the problem following the steps.
  • roycroftmomroycroftmom Registered User Posts: 2,147 Senior Member
    It also seems, from the original post, likely this is a private school (he has been there 4 years and is now a sophomore; they refer matters to the head of school). Private schools usually don't follow the bureaucratic framework that public schools have to. At our private school, refusing to answer questions would lead to an automatic suspension/expulsion for a student, so no, the above advice to contact one's parents before talking would not work at all. Many private schools have a similar approach-they wish to be able to talk to the student directly, without parents present,and if that is a problem,the student shouldn't enroll.
  • yourmommayourmomma Registered User Posts: 1,232 Senior Member
    It also seems, from the original post, likely this is a private school (he has been there 4 years and is now a sophomore; they refer matters to the head of school). Private schools usually don't follow the bureaucratic framework that public schools have to. At our private school, refusing to answer questions would lead to an automatic suspension/expulsion for a student, so no, the above advice to contact one's parents before talking would not work at all. Many private schools have a similar approach-they wish to be able to talk to the student directly, without parents present,and if that is a problem,the student shouldn't enroll.

    Fine take the suspension. NOBODY has a right to speak to my under 18 kid without my permission. Too many of these adults go on power trips and railroad the kids.

    It happened to me. Your darn right my parents raised a ruckus. The school administration had a painful, unscheduled meeting with a group of parents. It was interesting watching the "adults" backtrack and "redo" their "investigation."
  • yourmommayourmomma Registered User Posts: 1,232 Senior Member
    And these responses explain why teachers don't usually bother dealing with cheating. There is no incentive to do so whatsoever, the parents will deny and raise a ruckus, the administrators will be annoyed-frankly, it's a miracle anyone bothers to raise the cheating issue anymore;no wonder it is so commonplace now. Heaven forbid we hold our kids accountable for their actions.

    This teacher didn't "deal" with cheating. He accused a young kid, and then he and two others railroaded him into a "confession." Maybe what he should have done was inform the kid and his parents. Then submit his "evidence" and meet with the parents and principal.
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