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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: 2,678 Senior Member
    edited February 18
    If that were actually the case, then of course that is a coerced confession. But all the parent knows is the student's perspective. In the later posts, it sounds like the HR teacher is supportive of the son and still thinks he is a great kid, although also believing he made a mistake. So not clear that he was interrogated to the point of making a false confession. It is unlikely that this is the first time this principal has been in this situation (although not with this teacher). But that may be the case.

    While i think my relationship with my kid is critical, i would also want my kid to be honest, if he did this, or learn to stick up for himself better if he didn't. If he is in legal trouble, of course he should ask for a lawyer and not answer questions. But not sure that in school or in college a kid that is accused of plagiarism or cheating is entitled to not answer the charge or hire a lawyer.
  • mom2andmom2and Registered User Posts: 2,678 Senior Member
    Schools are not obligated to bring in a parent prior to disciplining a student and certainly not just to question a student. If a kid breaks a school rule, there is a consequence and the parent is notified. The police are not legally required to contact you before questioning your minor child. The child has the right to remain silent or ask for an attorney, but if they talk to police without parents present it can be a valid confession.
  • roycroftmomroycroftmom Registered User Posts: 2,127 Senior Member
    Lots of people will speak to your minor child. If you don't like that, you better lock them in the house for 18 years.
  • sylvan8798sylvan8798 Registered User Posts: 6,690 Senior Member
    Super smart kids can do math in their heads and are known for not showing work. It sounds, to me, like this is a brilliant student who is smarter than his teacher.
    Meh, not likely, lol. Nothing in op’s post to indicate that. It does seem like the teacher is fairly new on the job and perhaps a bit overzealous.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 21,052 Senior Member
    The teacher's test, the teacher's rules. Teacher could have easily said "Show your work or no credit on the problem." Even back in the stone age, that was the rule for my math teachers. Teacher should have marked the exam with a zero.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 31,443 Senior Member
    edited February 18
    My kids were required to show the calculations, too. And in logical order, not just a scratchsheet. They could lose test points for incorrect process, even if the final answer were correct.

    What I'd say to mine is, "I'm going to go to bat for you, but I need the straight scoop on what we're dealing with." What were the requirements, why did they suspect cheating, etc.(Eg, was anything else going on? Talking, looking around, etc.) And I would go to bat, if it came to that.

    Good chance a prep doesn't report this with college reports. Unless they're the ultra serious, take no prisoners sort. And if other teachers like and respect him, you can deal later with their LoRs. Important to be on the GCs good side.

    My kid got tagged for something dubious. She handled this and the headmaster chat herself. 11th grade? It was dropped. Sometimes, you need to think about what's war and what's not.
  • EmpireappleEmpireapple Registered User Posts: 1,344 Senior Member
    I agree with the poster who suggested your son is smarter than his teacher. It seems to me if they are describing him as brilliant he easily could have derived the answer without showing all his work. That is one of the first indicators teachers are to look for among young children as a sign of being gifted. They just "know" the answers. I'm certain your son's math teacher is not brilliant as well. (I'm not slamming teachers...I am one...he would be something other than a high school teacher if he were brilliant too).

    I also agree that one course of action right now might be to just keep this off his permanent record. Very important.

    The principal and teacher were wrong to speak to your son about something so serious without contacting you as well. That was completely out of line and something you can use to keep this off his record. Another thought I have is to demand he take another test, alone, without any other students present. This would give him a fair opportunity to show his ability. Your reasoning to request this is because there is no actual proof that he cheated (only the teacher's opinion) so they owe your son the opportunity to test again. Did the teacher see him copy the classmate's paper? It sounds like she/he did not. So it is an accusation without proof. Use this to demand action.

    I would caution you that the additional math teacher present will probably not be unbiased. Most likely the course teacher and the teacher from the dept. are friends and work together. Unless you get lucky and for some reason the second teacher is highly ethical and knows more about the course teacher than you do. Sadly, I have watched most teachers "stick together" even when they know one is in the wrong.

    If your son will not have this teacher in future years, and the rest of his experience is positive at his school, try to move on and put this behind you. There are always bad apples and this is a lesson for everyone.

    In terms of getting a lawyer...honestly where I live and where I have worked, the administration would respond to that. I have found teachers and administrators can often be bullies and do not keep their own power in check until you bring in a bigger power. Again, I have been and educator for over 25 years. I've seen it all.

    Good luck,. I am so sorry this happened to your son. Of course he crumbled under that type of pressure while being accused. Honest, hard working students who hold themselves to high standards always do. It's the others who can handle that pressure and lie right to your face.
  • MWolfMWolf Registered User Posts: 774 Member
    @mom2and wrote:
    The police are not legally required to contact you before questioning your minor child. The child has the right to remain silent or ask for an attorney, but if they talk to police without parents present it can be a valid confession.
    If police had detained a minor in that situation, and had told the kid that they couldn't leave until they confessed, that confession would have been thrown out by any court. It would be considered as detaining the kid, which is the same as an arrest, and telling a kid that they have to answer violates Miranda laws. The kid would have had to be notified that they do not have to say anything, which did not happen.

    Of course, these weren't police, so Miranda rights are not relevant here.
  • SatchelSFSatchelSF Registered User Posts: 1,385 Senior Member
    edited February 18
    I agree with the idea that there are kids who can solve most BC calc problems appearing on typical high school tests in their heads, without showing intermediate work. I also agree that most HS teachers will generally be quite a lot less talented at math than these kids.

    For the OP, how good is your son at math? That is the threshold question. Start with that. If he is exceptional, then I think I would try to fight this. The school will never show you the other kid's test because of privacy concerns. A lawyer could help here, but it is a lot of fight for not much payoff, unfortunately.

    Best of luck, I know it is frustrating.
  • gardenstategalgardenstategal Registered User Posts: 5,058 Senior Member
    If the kid is so good at math that he can do it in his head, he should have no trouble foing what the teacher wants and getting 100 in every test going forward and a 5 on the exam. Or a 100 on a make-up exam. This grade seems fixable. And success is the best revenge!

    In reading this thread, I wonder if the kid feels pressure to get great grades from the parent, perhaps to the point of cheating. Whether he cheated or not, I think the issue may be addressing the relationship with the parent. OP, you are clearly 100% behind your kid -- that is so critical! Maybe he needs to know you are 100% behind him whether he gets straight As or not. You are going to go to bat for him with whatever he needs, and who knows what's at play here. Peer pressure, need to please you, needs a tutor, needs to stand up to authority. You are hearing only his side of the story and perhaps only the side he thinks you want to hear.
  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri Registered User Posts: 8,321 Senior Member
    I'm wondering why it takes 3 adults to question a child. Two I understand -- a teacher and a witness -- but what's the purpose of the 3rd? How long was the discussion and how many times did he tell them he didn't do it before he told them what they wanted to hear? Speaking to a child is different than having 3 adults gang up on them and angrily demanding that they admit to something.
  • jazzymomof7jazzymomof7 Registered User Posts: 245 Junior Member
    The behavior of the adults who cornered this kid was unnecessary and shameful, and I would call them on it. Some adults have falsely confessed to crimes requiring prison time when backed into a corner. I have no problem believing a kid would confess to something he didn’t do if he thought that would end the harrassment and make everything better. An adult who would do this to a child has no business teaching.

    If the teacher has no proof outside of this highly questionable confession, he needs to grade your son’s test, give your son the appropriate grade, and move on. Next time this teacher suspects something, he should make sure he has proof and need not resort to badgering to get a confession.

    I cheated exactly one time in high school, got caught, got the zero I deserved, and never cheated again. That is not what is being described here.

    OP, from now on, make sure your kid knows to call you at the first sign of trouble.
  • emptynesteryetemptynesteryet Registered User Posts: 203 Junior Member
    @roycroftmom

    Ding ding 4 kids here. Amazing what they will tell others ans not tell their parents for fear of disappointing them. Even if parents are super understanding etc etc.
  • roycroftmomroycroftmom Registered User Posts: 2,127 Senior Member
    It doesn't help the kid, long term, to blame others, nor frankly, to accept his story unquestioningly. The teacher has no reason to lie. The kid has every reason to lie, and yes, even our wonderful kids can lie sometimes. Failing to see that is a problem far more important than one cheating incident.
This discussion has been closed.