As the title states, my 10th grader was falsely accused of cheating on a math test last week. The test was last Weds., and by Weds. night, the teacher had already emailed the principal to report him for cheating. The next day, my son said he was called out of class and brought into a room with said teacher and his two homeroom teachers. He was told that he had cheated, because he had the same answer on two problems of the person sitting next to him, basically without the supporting steps outlined thereon. He said he had "consulted with a colleague" who also said it was impossible from the work on the page to derive those answers. It is Calc BC and no one else in the room (the homeroom teachers) understands the his explanation. My son got really emotional and broke down in tears, and couldn't really explain himself well. He described it as like being in front of a tribunal that already decided he was guilty. So, unfortunately, he apparently made a false confession in the hopes of escaping more of their ire. He mistakenly believed that he would be "in less trouble" by going along with what they wanted him to say, which was that he cheated.
Meanwhile, I was never contacted about this matter, and only heard about it from my son that evening. I arranged a meeting with the principal and the three teachers involved, by my son was told that he should not be present. So, the case was made by three people that he cheated, and admitted to cheating. My son has been at this school for 4 years and has an impeccable reputation as a great student with a lot integrity, empathy, and is an all-around asset there in every regard. He does not cheat, has never cheated, has never needed to cheat, and I believe him. Besides his character, there is no reason to cheat since it is just two weeks into the semester and students are allowed to retake tests if they are not satisfied with their scores, since the tests are made to be extremely difficult. We ended with the teacher insisting he take a zero on the test, with no other way to redeem himself, which means that he would be penalized by *at least* 10 percent of his grade for the semester. The principal agreed with me that the penalty was far too harsh, and that the situation had not been handled correctly at all. However, the teacher will not budge, even with her intervention, and the principal told me that she recommended I pursue it with the head of the school.
I have arranged another meeting with the principal with another math teacher and my son, so that he has the opportunity to explain his work. Beyond that, I am planning to take this to the head of school as necessary.
What I am wondering here is if there is anything else I can do, or should be doing, to end this nightmare. My son plans to pursue a STEM career, not to mention that his reputation at the school is marred by this accusation.