School cancels graduation for cheaters

So many seniors cheated at a Columbus, Ohio high school that graduation ceremonies have been cancelled. The class of 60 will get their diplomas in the mail.

A senior at Centerburg High School accessed teachers’ computers, found tests, printed them and distributed them to classmates, administrators said.

Officials aren’t sure how many students used the tests, but they say those who didn’t cheat are at fault for not reporting it.

One student had the test but still failed.

Yes, there’s always one.

Parents are planning their own graduation.

Via This Week in Education.

About Joanne


  1. Unfortunately, cheating is a major part of student culture, and I think that’s true for the great majority of schools. Students think it’s okay to cheat, but they view turning in a cheater as a major sin. We have discussions on this year after year in my Sociology class, and kids always come up with the old, “The only ones cheaters hurt are themselves.” Therefore if a student cheats, it’s none of the other students’ business. They ignore the fact that when some students cheat and get higher scores because of it, it might move them up in class rank in relation to others, and it also encourages cheating by other students. There are some students who will say that they view cheating as a problem, but they are definitely in the minority. I think it’s fair to say that many teachers are not nearly tough enough on cheaters when they do catch them, but one of the reasons for that is the reaction they know they’re going to get from parents. After all, look at how the parents in this case are reacting.

  2. It’s just part of the demoralization of the last 50 years. You can hardly watch a movie or TV show these days without seeing a sympathetic character trying to cheat. To make up for this decline, we’ve added an 11th commandment: Thou shalt not get caught.

    Many systems are based on trust and cheaters destabilize those systems. The replacement systems, designed with cheaters in mind, are always less pleasant for everyone. Think how comparatively wonderful air travel used to be before a few cheaters ruined it for the rest of us.

    I wonder if those same parents and children (and teachers) who view cheating as no big deal feel the same way when it’s a CEO cheating with company funds or a senator cheating with tax money?

  3. Cardinal Fang says:

    They didn’t cancel the graduation for cheaters– they cancelled it for all students, cheaters and honest students alike.

    And why are those cheaters graduating anyway? Why didn’t they fail the classes they cheated in, and thus not have enough credits to graduate?

  4. They should do what my high school did for us. Let them walk. That is the most important thing to the families…the show and not substance.

    At my high school, anyone could dress up in the cap and gown and walk across the stage. And you could shake the principals hand while he handed you that decorative folder that held your diploma. The “show” and the diploma were two separate things.

    I’ll never forget the expression on the face of the girl behind me when she opened that folder and found nothing but a note that read “You have failed English 4. If you want a diploma, you must attend summer school.”

  5. Lisa Brown says:

    I’ve never liked penalties that cover the innocent as well as the guilty. I don’t approve of cheating, if I could prove students cheated their score would be zero. However teachers must know that some students are going to try to cheat. A teacher must not have tests where a student can access them.

  6. wahoofive says:

    Parents are doing WHAT? Whose side are they on?

  7. Sounds moronic…cheating on an exam usually warrants a zero on the exam in question. Now, when the exam is averaged in with the other exams, homework, classroom participation, attendance, etc, that is what determines the grade for that quarter or semester. A policy which punishes everyone is indeed unfair, but that should get students in the habit of turning in cheaters at once.

    Never mind being labeled a rat or snitch by your schoolmates, given the fact you’ll probably keep in contact with less than 10 of them over the next 20-40 years of your life 🙂

  8. Bill Leonard says:

    I think Cardinal Fang has it about right, if I fully understand her post: You cheated, you were caught, you fail, you are out. Period.

    And what, pray tell, is wrong with that?

    If EVERYONE cheated, and was caught, then no one graduates. The story makes the local papers and the evening news. And the kids learn one of life’s harsh lessons — perhaps rather earlier than usual.

    And so it goes.


  9. I really don’t see how that is a punishment–I’ve walked 3 graduations, participated as a father, relative, friend and on the dais at dozens more–and there wasn’t one I didn’t consider a huge royal waste of time. Proud to see my daughters graduate? You bet. Happy with the way-too-long, bad speech filled ceremony? Nope.

  10. It’s disappointing that the students who didn’t cheat are not getting to have a graduation (and yes, for some kids and some families, it’s important and not a waste of time).

    As Cardinal Fang said: why are the cheaters even graduating? Shouldn’t they be forced to re-take the classes in which they cheated?

    However, I’m puzzled by the cheaters’ parents’ behavior: “Oh, we’ll just give our kids their own special graduation.” Had I been one of those cheaters? My parents not only would not have allowed any kind of participation, they probably very likely would have told me, “Okay – starting tomorrow you’re on your own. Go find a job and an apartment” or some similar reaction.

    Cheating is a big problem. (I teach college and I see more of it than I’d like, and I’m sure there’s some I don’t even catch). Part of me wants to say, “The cheaters cheat themselves” and just leave it at that, but another part of me really wants to bust their sorry butts for disrupting a system based on trust.

  11. As I understand the story, the school officials don’t know who cheated but do know that everybody knew there were copies of tests available.

    That happened in my daughter’s Spanish class: Two thirds of students used the copies; she was among the non-cheating but also non-snitching minority. The teacher found out after the final but didn’t know who’d cheated. My daughter’s grade dropped to a B; she quit Spanish after that year. I asked her why she hadn’t cheated. She said, “Just to get an A? I’d have had to tell myself some story about why it was OK. And then I’d be a cheat and a liar. That’s not who I am.”

  12. Sheila’s comment was my favorite, until I read Joanne’s. I’m a sucker for good parenting.

  13. Centerburg parent says:

    FACT: there are over 90 seniors graduating this year of them over 50 students was in the classroom of the teacher who’s test were stolen. The teacher suspected in late November early December that there might be cheating involved, but only change his password. The same Teacher back in March or April ask ALL of his students that he KNEW there was cheating going on and only wanted to hear from the actual cheaters and NOT to tell on anyone if they knew who was cheating. Thus, in the eye of the board of education and the public the 50 something students are GUILTY even if they didn’t know anything about the cheating (until the Teacher told them) or they didn’t know who was doing it.