An A doesn’t justify the means: insight into academic dishonesty

In Brookfield Central there is a culture of cheating. It goes largely unnoticed and unacknowledged. There have been two major incidents in which cheating entered the mainstream. The first came two years ago when a list of student and teachers username and passwords circulated.

When this happened dozens of students were pulled out of class and questioned on the subject. In the end the people at fault were punished but some, including several teachers, thought that they were not punished harshly enough. The records aren’t public so we can never be sure of what the punishment was. The second came last year when a group of students in AP Human Geography decided to cheat on the final exam. When this happened, news spread quickly as the group spanned grade level and social group. These are the two largest cheating scandals that happened in Brookfield Central in the past four years.

BC displays a culture of cheating that goes much deeper than these couple of incidents. I have personally seen things that I view as cheating that most people view as cheating but some view as just how you get through class. “Everyone does it,” is a common statement. Let me just say this: not everyone does it. I was offered the answers to a quiz just this week and even though I turned them down, I was still offered it.

Passing answers from one block to the next, sharing documents with answers, even sharing whole folders from one year to the next, these are just a couple examples of different forms of cheating that “aren’t a big deal,” but again these are big deals. Our student body passes on a tradition of cheating from one grade to the next and who is surprised that it escalated to the aforementioned incidents. So, why am I so against cheating?

First of all, it is wrong.

Second of all, it only hurts you. By cheating, you don’t learn what you need to know. By cheating on a test or quiz, you are only cheating yourself. In real life you won’t be able to cheat. You will have to get through it and cheating your way through school doesn’t help you. Third and last of all, you risk getting caught and having repercussions that threaten your future.

I want to stress that, although many people are cheating, there are people who do not and get through school just fine. No teacher, or administrative rule, or single incident is going to change the culture of cheating within BC. I believe it will take stricter punishment and regulation by every teacher and the enforcement of policies that are often stated but not always enforced. It will also take students making an effort to not only avoid cheating, but also avoid getting in those situations at all.