It's no secret that since students moved online because of COVID-19 that schools are having a hard time ensuring the students are not cheating or plagiarizing their assignments. There is only so much the schools can control when they are home and have access to their notes, phones, and the internet. Most schools have started requiring software that limits students' ability to access areas of their computers, including the internet, while taking exams. But nothing is perfect, and many students who seek outside help are confused about what is considered tutoring and what is just plain cheating.
In February 2021, a Canadian news outlet reported that many students were employing tutoring and writing companies to research and write papers and presentations on their behalf and then turning in the work as if it was their own. Even worse, many of these professional companies were seeking out students via social media and offering their services.
The Difference Between Tutoring and Cheating
Tutoring is where an individual helps you understand the material you're learning and then sets you free to complete the assignments on your own. Sometimes tutors will even review the graded assignments to help further your understanding. Tutors do not do the work for you, and if they do, that is when tutoring becomes cheating.
Consequences of Cheating
As discussed in the academic misconduct articles (college and high school), cheating is a form of academic misconduct that violates the school's code of conduct and is subject to disciplinary action. The disciplinary action your school decides to take will vary depending on the severity of the action and whether you are in high school or college. Punishments will range from detention to suspension or expulsion.
If you or someone you love is accused of cheating, the consequences can have lasting effects. For instance, even if the school investigates and finds you have not cheated, the disciplinary process will affect your reputation. Additionally, if they discover you've cheated, they will note it on your permanent record. If this occurs in college, you will have to explain it on every graduate application and even some job applications.
How an Attorney Can Help
In the United States, all schools have codes of conduct and school board stipulations they must abide by when adjudicating over a cheating offense, including upholding the student's right to due process – being able to present evidence and explain themselves. Unfortunately, many schools do not have the ability or desire to fulfill these due process rights and instead allow the student to fall through the disciplinary cracks. This lack of attention might look like a school severely punishing a student for a minor, first attempt at cheating, or falsely accusing a student of plagiarizing and punishment them without conducting an investigation.
Having an attorney working on your side from the moment you are accused will help you understand your rights. Attorney Joseph D. Lento is an experienced attorney who has worked with thousands of students nationwide as their attorney advisor for such instances. He works diligently to collect and explain the evidence on your behalf, ensuring you the best possible outcome. Call 888.535.3686 today to schedule a consultation. Don't try to traverse these murky waters alone. He can help.