From wandering eyes to wandering disks, advanced technology is causing an increasing temptation to cheat in today's high schools, including Brainerd High School.
"Cheating is easier now than it ever was before. In some cases, it's just a matter of putting a disk into a computer," said Steve Razidlo, BHS principal.
As many as 30 sophomores out of 400 taking American history at BHS have turned in duplicate papers, in some cases identical, for their final projects. There are six sections of American history at BHS and five of the six American history teachers assigned the same final project.
When a suspicious teacher checked with co-workers, the dishonesty was uncovered. Students turned in the same papers to different teachers.
"I encouraged my students to approach me. Ample opportunity was given to admit they had either gotten or given assistance on their papers," said Keith Peterson, American history teacher.
Most of the students admitted to cheating and will be given the opportunity to get credit for taking the class.
The project, called Civil Rights in America, is a graduation standards project, meaning it needs to be completed to receive credit for taking the class, which is a requirement for graduation.
"This project was given with a clear expectation of individual work," Razidlo said. "Some kids just took advantage of the situation. They took the easy way out."
Class credit is being withheld from the guilty students until this summer, when a special session will be held. Students will not have to repeat the entire course; however, a similar project will be given to measure how much the students learned throughout the year.
"Students will be given a chance to do an honest job with the project in the summer session," Razidlo said.
Although students will receive credit for taking the class, they will suffer the consequences of their behavior by receiving a deducted grade on the summer project.
"Students have honest and rigorous work to do. They will not earn credit for the class until they have done that," Razidlo said.
Teachers at BHS are taking precautionary measures in their classes to prevent mass cheating from happening again. Teachers are explaining the consequences the cheating students are paying in hopes students will learn the difference between right and wrong.
"The point we're trying to get across is that cheating is not acceptable. Some students just made the wrong decisions," Peterson said.
Razidlo plans to highlight the effects of cheating more than he has in the past during student orientation next fall.
"I'm disappointed, teachers are disappointed and other students are disappointed as well," Razidlo said. "We have a great set of kids here. Even great kids sometimes make mistakes."
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