accused of cheating

<p>My son is a 16-year-old high school student currently enrolled in one online class at a university. His professor has advised him in an e-mail that he suspects he has cheated on one or more tests and has told him he has 2 days to withdraw from the online class with the grade of WF or a formal complaint will be filed against him. One other student in the class got the same e-mail. These are open book quizzes online and there is a proctor in the classroom. My child states there is no possible opportunity to cheat. There are only 8 kids in the class and the proctor watches them during the test. They are not allowed to sit near each other. I do not think my son has cheated. He's in the top 10 of his class and these are open book. I will find out tomorrow what the evidence is that the professor has, but I feel like it's more than likely some statistical evidence of some sort. My son and the other child had 4 out of 10 of the same grades. These are only multiple choice tests. As I previously said, I don't think my child has cheated or needed to, but I don't want to jeopardize his chances of scarring his permanent record. He won't be applying for college until next year, and the professor says if we don't take the WF now and he is later found guilty, it will go in his permanent record. What do I do?</p>

<p>Speak to your students guidance counselor as well as the proctor who is with them during the tests. Ask them how to proceed. The proctor is there for a reason, to ensure the students are not cheating, and to attest that they have not. The professor will have to give you a reason other than simply telling you to 'withdrawal or else'. Your son has to at least be told what he is being accused of and why. Then you can make a decision weather you should appeal.</p>

<p>I would talk to the professor to defend my kid if I believe my kid is innocent. However I would talk to my kid again first to figure out whether the accusation has any merit. Did you read any class rules the professor may have for the kids? Sometimes, there are some technicalities that make the professor think your kid was cheating. Is it possible the other kid copied your kid answers without his knowledge?</p>

<p>The professor most likely is looking at the probability that your son and another student overlap grades by 40%. He should have further confirmed those overall numbers with each specific test: how did each student answer each question. Aside from the numerics, the proctor would have to state that your son had been cheating. </p>

<p>These are serious charges and professors are definitely under a lot of pressure. There are many opportunities for kids to cheat and professors are required to be the watchdog. Nevertheless, your son should fight these charges if, indeed, he is innocent.</p>

<p>The proctor is devastated about the accusations and immediately defended both children and from my understanding wrote a letter to the professor outlining classroom procedure when tests are given. I even wrote a letter to the professor and he was actually very nice, but only stated he has spoken with the high school principal and that the principal took "detailed notes" about the reasons the cheating complaint was made. He went on to say basically it didn't matter if my child was the one who cheated or the one who some cheated off of, that it would still be handled the same way. The reason I'm so anxious is because I don't find out the reasons until my meeting with the principal tomorrow, and we have to give them our decision by Tuesday morning on taking the WF and he s out of the class with that being the end of the situation, or if we don't he will file formal charges and if found guilty it will be on his permanent record. From what I've been able to find on the internet, it looks like they can say he's guilty based on 51% probability. I'm just afraid if we do fight it, they will say well in our opinion, based on our statistics, we think he did, THE END, permanent mark. I 100% don't think he cheated, but the fact that I feel they basically have his future in their hands and can do what they want is what's so scary. I know the accusation is not from the proctor, which is why I think it's statistics. If he does end up taking the WF, I need to know how that will affect his chances of getting into a good college. I'm just trying to prepare myself because it has to be decided so quickly.</p>

<p>You need to become very aggressive in this situation: including filing a formal charge against the school and principal with the HS school board. You need to have the formal documentation for the accusation of cheating. As an university professor, I can state that some educators are petty dictators, some are caring overworked individuals and most just respond (and give in) to the squeakiest wheel. </p>

<p>However, you do need to be sure that your son is really blameless in this situation.</p>

<p>?? Why against the high school and the principal? It's the professor who's making the accusation. The high school seems to be acting in the student's interest.</p>

<p>Assuming the student didn't cheat (including somehow helping the other student during the test or securing advance copies of the test), I would secure the proctor's commitment to stand up for him, and then fight it with both barrels blazing hellfire. If the accusation is of cheating during the exam, then the high school should be interested in defending this too -- the prof is questioning the school's competence, integrity, or both in the proctoring situation.</p>

<p>Hopefully, you have an attorney in the family who can write a strongly worded letter on their letterhead. Just make sure your kid is blameless first.</p>

<p>1) make sure your son is blameless</p>

<p>2) hire a lawyer, tomorrow if possible, but the lawyer can also help you after Tuesday</p>

<p>Is this a class for credit at the high school?</p>

<p>With all the cheating that actually does go on, it drives me crazy that often the only accusations that get made are against kids who are not.</p>

<p>If the kids sat far apart, and the proctor confirms that, and they had no cell phones, how could they have cheated?</p>

<p>This is absolutely implicating the school as well, so, at least, they are allied.</p>

<p>But get a lawyer, and be a squeaky wheel, as someone said. I would stand up for what's right here, and not give in to something that is unjust.</p>

<p>Your son has already worked all semester on this course, right? He should not have to waste all that effort just because of statistics (if he is truly innocent- and if you tell him you are going to spring for a lawyer, and he is not innocent, perhaps he will come clean).</p>

<p>Sounds to me like he did not cheat, and this is worth fighting.</p>

<p>p.s. We went through something with College Boards..my daughter was ill and left part-way through an AP exam. The guidance office let her leave and said she could finish on Monday (the test was Friday), an outrageous violation. My daughter was afraid that leaving even for an hour would jeopardize the other students' scores. She went back in w/in 30 minutes, and finished, despite her illness. We called College Board because we were afraid something would be reported. The guidance counselor did not get in trouble, but my daughter had to go through a lot of hoops to prove that SHE did not cheat, even though she was the one who was honest and stuck to the rules! In the end, she prevailed, and did well.</p>

<p>For goodness sake, do NOT file formal charges against the school and principal with the HS school board. That is just insane and can only hurt your kid. </p>

<p>Contact the Dean of this professor asap and ask for an extension to deal with these very serious charges. I'm guessing the Dean has no idea what is going on and you'll want to know what their position is. I had a professor who threatened to fail the whole class, repetedly, for no reason other than he was insane. Finally, being the oldest student, I went to the Dean. The professor never mentioned failing us again and, as far as I could gather, the lowest grade for the class was a "B." That professor went on medical leave shortly after the semester ended and is not back yet (two years later.) If that doesn't get you anywhere, hire a lawyer to communicate with the professor.</p>

<p>Also speak to the proctor asap. This professor is also accusing the protor of allowing cheating. If this had been a student I had proctored tests for, I would be furious and very happy to speak to the person who was attempting to smear my reputation.</p>

<p>Forget the professor - go straight to the Dean and get him involved.
Also, get your high school administration involved as well.</p>

<p>Sit down and have a serious conversation with your son. Make sure that he understands that if he knowingly allowed someone to cheat off his test that is a violation.</p>

<p>With the proctor presumably enforcing proper procedures and the students sitting apart it is very hard to imagine how this could have happened, I must say.</p>

<p>If you are absolutely certain that he did not cheat, absolutely DO NOT meekly allow them to get away with putting a Withdrew FAILING on his record! I would fight it all the way.</p>

<p>If they end up filing a complaint, so be it. Fight that. It sounds as if they have no evidence other than coincidence. He should not be bullied into submission. If he ends up with something on his record, he can write an explanation of it that makes his innocence and the circumstances clear. </p>

<p>If I were on an admissions committee, I would rather see a kid who fought injustice and lost than one who knuckled under.</p>

<p>I've only taught at two universities with very strict honor codes, so policy may be different elsewhere, but partly because the charges are so serious (involving permanent expulsion of the offender at my current university, and a permanent "honor charge" on the transcript) the professor has to have crystal-clear proof, not just some sort of statistics-based suspicion. If your kid is innocent, you absolutely need to fight the accusation. That might mean going through a formal process, which should give your son a chance to vindicate himself.</p>

<p>I would avoid bringing on the big legal guns right away; it is easier and cheaper to solve the problem less formally. The professor might well back down once he hears from the proctor, the guidance counselor, etc. that there is no sign of cheating and that your son has a reputation as a solid citizen.</p>

<p>BTW many years ago on my way to a PhD in English, I was falsely accused of plagiarism in freshman composition class. In the professor's opinion, the paper I handed in did not "read like student work." Of course he did not have a source for my paper, because no source existed. He apologized profusely once I showed him other things I had written, and I had the college inform him that I had won a bunch of national writing awards in high school. It was all very upsetting, though--still makes my blood boil recalling this episode more than three decades later. As a result throughout my career I've only brought plagiarism charges against students whose guilt is absolutely manifest.</p>

<p>jingle, the same thing happened to me in HS. A teacher who was new to the school who was mentoring my independent study was ****ed that I didn't visit her enough and more or less accused me of plagiarism by circling things on my paper and writing "footnote this." She also gave me a D and then posted my paper on a public bulletin board!!! It still makes my blood boil. The school's response was to "allow" me to retake the course with the beyotch so that my likely letter to a Seven Sisters school would not be rescinded. No one stood up for me. I didn't know enough about the existence of literary scholarship at that age to have found my opinions there! But to her no HS student should have been able to have those insights and use that vocabulary.</p>

<p>You may not choose to take an attorney with you (although it might be handy to acquire a recommendation for an attorney and have that name at the ready to use). </p>

<p>I definitely hope you will arrange for both parents to be present at the meeting with the administrator. Dress professionally or at least neatly. Take a note pad and make notes (every step of the way!) so you know the full name and title of everyone you speak with. </p>

<p>We have dealt with a poor teacher on two occasions and both times the conversation went better with my husband present. They couldn't dismiss me as "just a helicopter mom." It was funny because I was the one with the detailed knowledge of the situation but having the two of us there up-ped the respect we got. </p>

<p>At the end of the meeting, take time to do a "review" email to the Dean. Something like "Thank you for meeting with us today. As I understand the process what happens next is . . . " so you are documenting the meeting and what went on (no "misunderstanding" later). </p>

<p>Offer for son to re take the test. Also ask if this professor has charged cheating in previous semesters. If they don't know, ask that they find out. </p>

<p>Good luck. This is upsetting -- please do record dates, names, actions every step of the way. This will show you are taking this seriously and working to clear son's name.</p>

<p>While in college, I took organic chemistry at a different local college one very long, hot eastern US summer while also taking care of my younger siblings for a couple of weeks. I liked organic chemistry and found it relatively easy to engage. Still have my fat textbook.</p>

<p>Much to my chagrin, on return of the final exam, my name was called out and I was asked to stand up. The professor lamented that in all of his years of testing, he had never had a student get a perfect score, and in front of the class as me if I cheated. I had not, so in a clear, confident voice I simply said "no". He just shrugged.</p>

<p>I hope your son comes through this well. It's a tough accusation and you never forget. It's also sad when in fact students do well on exams, even two students in the same room, and the subject of cheating surfaces. The quickness of response demanded by your son's teacher strikes me as surreal. What is behind this? Truth and the right to fairness does not out in 48 hours most of the time. Don't be bullied by someone perhaps with a different personal agenda. Good luck.</p>

<p>Well, today we met with the principal, and we were right about the reasons, all related to statistics. He stated that the kids log off and on at the same time. The teacher is the one who does this. Since they are both in the same class, and by the way there are only 5 students in the class, I'm sure their logging in time is close. He also stated that one day, when my child was absent, the other kid took the test and didn't do great, and when my child returned to school the next day to take the test, my child did great on the test, implying that the other child gave my child the correct answers. My child has an A in the class, so why would this be different? Maybe the other kid did not study the night before, I have no idea. The principal agrees the whole thing is ridiculous and completely backs us up. My husband is on his way now to talk to someone at the administrative offices/school board just to get their advice. The principal recommended calling the professor to set up an appointment, so I guess that's where we go from here, but we are definitely fighting this. I have never in my life heard of anything like this, and to top all that off today is my child's 17th birthday. What a birthday present! Thanks to everyone for their input and I will keep you updated.</p>

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[quote]
He stated that the kids log off and on at the same time. The teacher is the one who does this. Since they are both in the same class, and by the way there are only 5 students in the class, I'm sure their logging in time is close. He also stated that one day, when my child was absent, the other kid took the test and didn't do great, and when my child returned to school the next day to take the test, my child did great on the test, implying that the other child gave my child the correct answers.

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<p>Something doesn't sound right. This isn't a valid reason to accuse a student of cheating.</p>

<p>There's more to the story somewhere.</p>

<p>Smom --</p>

<p>I'm glad that you and Sdad are helping out here. Perhaps the principal can also weigh in with the professor? </p>

<p>I know it is really hard, but I hope you can celebrate your son's birthday today and put all this aside for at least a bit.</p>

<p>I had already mentioned the 4 out of 10 grades that were the same because that was all I knew at the time. So that, in addition to the new information, is all there is. Our principal stated he had researched and found this happened to another high school student in Charlotte, the family hired an attorney, and eventually it was just dropped. I guess that will more than likely be our next step.</p>