Letter to the Editor: Cheaters never prosper

During lunch this week, I browsed the March 6 Common Sense issue and found myself increasingly baffled as I read Mr. Friedman’s editorial ‘full disclosure’ of his friend’s cheating habits. A few of my colleagues and I agreed that his sensible sounding justification demonstrates how ‘normalizing’ bad behavior can become an acceptable practice for one student and possibly, we fear, a school culture. Friedman’s friend explained the necessity of cheating when it was required. Not taking responsibility for plagiarizing does not rise to the level of necessity.
What we want to say to Friedman’s friend is this: Your work IS a reflection of yourself. Cheating IS a reflection of yourself. What IS a necessity for becoming your best is recognizing an ethical line and troubleshooting challenges (academic and beyond). What IS necessary is for you to recognize the importance of striving for constant self-improvement, for acknowledging who you are, what you stand for.
My colleagues and I have encountered many instances of plagiarism this year. We challenge the cheating student who suggested that participating in class discussion is a substitute for the hard work of, say, a composition. We challenge his assertion that his personal judgment of the quality of a teacher’s lesson is grounds for being less of a student and quality person than he owes to himself.
Annette Evans, English teacher
(and concerned colleagues)

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