Academic misconduct is a prevalent, widespread issue - yet not one that you likely planned on experiencing or fighting when you first sent your child to a Maryland high school. While it is relatively common, if your child faces academic misconduct charges, it might surprise you that you feel alone and overwhelmed.
If this is your student's first time facing high school discipline, after all, the experience may frustrate or even scare you. Suddenly, you're receiving sternly-worded notices from your school. Suddenly, the opportunities you've worked hard to give your child seem like they're about to slip away.
Fortunately, this doesn't have to be the case. You also don't have to figure out how to defend your child alone. Work with a legal advisor that has experience analyzing the fine print of student handbooks as well as navigating tricky student discipline meetings, and you'll have a much higher chance of helping your child succeed.
What Is Academic Misconduct in Maryland High Schools?
‘Academic misconduct' is a general term that many schools and school districts use to describe any behavior that goes against your school's code of conduct. Typically, if your child stands accused of academic misconduct, they allegedly did something to interfere with someone else's educational experience - or they did something to invalidate their own.
The pressures of doing well in high school are enormous. Your student has a lot of expectations to live up to, and they're likely terrified at the thought of failing. In that kind of environment, many students do opt to take action to make their lives easier, often with drastic consequences.
The specific actions that your school categorizes as ‘academic misconduct' may be unique to your specific school, so it's a good idea to start by checking your school's handbook or code of conduct. The Maryland State Department of Education has a document of guidelines for student discipline that reveals the most common types of academic misconduct for Maryland high schools. This list includes:
- Plagiarism or using someone else's work as your own
- Self-plagiarism or using the same work to satisfy multiple assignments
- Unauthorized collaboration or working with others on assignments without teacher permission to do so
- Bribery or promising others favors to receive academic benefits in return
- Classroom disruption or adopting behaviors that distract others from the learning process
- Dishonesty or falsifying data, or even simply lying for academic gain
- Cheating or taking action to give oneself an unauthorized edge on tests or assignments
There may be many other actions that your school considers punishable. For this reason, it's vital that you read your school's code of conduct very thoroughly. It's also vital to work with a legal team that understands the nuances of student discipline cases.
Whether you live in Prince George's County, Baltimore County, Montgomery County, or anywhere in Maryland, it's important to remember that your student has rights during the adjudication process for their alleged misconduct. These include the right to a fair hearing and investigation, the right to have all of the information about their charges, and the right to work with adequate representation. Your school may offer you representation, but you should always choose to work with a lawyer you know will be, first and foremost, loyal to you.
Your Maryland High School Student and an Academic Misconduct Investigation
The consequences of academic misconduct for your high school student can be both unpleasant and long-ranging. While you're probably expecting some level of school-recommended sanctions for your student in their immediate future, you may not be aware that this event could impact your student's future.
If your student has academic misconduct on their permanent high school record, that could adversely affect their future applications for scholarships and further educational opportunities. It is, therefore, crucial that you work now to prevent any formal punitive measures that could make your student's future more difficult than it needs to be.
Depending on the severity of your child's academic misconduct, you may simply speak with your student's teacher to resolve the affair. On the other hand, you may receive an invitation to a formal hearing with school officials after your school has conducted a full-blown investigation. Your school's disciplinary procedures will shed light on the specific policies and processes that you can expect.
After your school makes some decision as to your child's guilt, your family will receive a recommendation as to punitive or restorative measures. Typical punishments include:
- In-school or out-of-school suspension
- Education regarding their offense (e.g., anti-plagiarism training)
- Reduction of privileges, such as access to extracurricular activities or parking spots
- Behavioral contracts
- A failing grade for the assignment in question
- A failing grade for the course in question
- Expulsion, if the infraction was truly severe (or repeated)
You need to make sure that your student's school gives them a fair hearing so that your child has the best chance of avoiding these unpleasant ramifications. Holding your school accountable to your child's rights during the adjudicative process is paramount. Strategizing with a smart, seasoned student defense advisor to build a case for your student's innocence is vital, as well.
Joseph D. Lento is Ready to Fight for Your Student's Rights
If your student faces academic misconduct allegations, it can be easy to feel like you're all alone. As the paperwork and invitations to intense meetings pile up, you could get frustrated, confused, and overwhelmed very quickly. You need a competent, capable expert who is experienced with school discipline processes to help you navigate through due process to a successful outcome for your student.
Joseph D. Lento can help you with that. At your Maryland high school, your student could expect a litany of harsh punishments. Help your student avoid the unpleasant consequences of their alleged actions by hiring a legal advisor to guide them through hearings, investigations, paperwork, and more. For years, Joseph D. Lento has aggressively and successfully represented thousands of student defense cases across the nation. He can do the same for you and your family.
Maryland high schools where Joseph D. Lento can help as your child's student's academic misconduct advisor during investigations, hearings and appeals include, but are not limited to, the following school districts:
- Acton School Department
- Airline Community School District
- Alna School Department
- Arundel School Department
- Auburn School Department
- Augusta School Department
- Bangor School Department
- Bath School Department
- Beddington School Department
- Berwick School Department
- Biddeford School Department
- Bowerbank School Department
- Brewer School Department
- Bridgewater School Department
- Brunswick School Department
- Bucksport School Department
- Buxton School Department
- Cape Elizabeth School Department
- Caratunk School Department
- Caribou School Department
- Carrabassett Valley School Department
- Caswell School Department
- Chebeague Island School Department
- Coplin Plantation School Department
- Deblois School Department
- Dedham School Department
- Deer Isle-Stonington Community School District
- Dennistown Plantation School Department
- Dresden School Department
- East Machias School Department
- East Range Community School District
- Easton School Department
- Ellsworth School Department
- Falmouth School Department
- Fayette School Department
- Five Town Community School District
- Flanders Bay Community School District
- Franklin School Department
- Freeport School Department
- Gilead School Department
- Glenburn School Department
- Glenwood Plantation School Department
- Gorham School Department
- Grand Isle School Department
- Great Salt Bay Community School District
- Hanover School Department
- Harmony School Department
- Hermon School Department
- Hersey School Department
- Highland Plantation School Department
- Isle au Haut School Department
- Islesboro School Department
- Jay School Department
- Kittery School Department
- Lake View Plantation School Department
- Lewiston School Department
- Limestone School Department
- Long Island School Department
- Lowell School Department
- Madawaska School Department
- Maine School Administrative District 1 - 77
- Maranacook Community School District
- Medford School Department
- Millinocket School Department
- Monhegan Plantation School Department
- Monmouth School Department
- Moosabec Community School District
- Moro Plantation School Department
- Mount Desert Community School District
- Nashville Plantation School Department
- Norway School Department
- Oak Hill Community School District
- Old Orchard Beach School Department
- Old Town School Department
- Orland School Department
- Peninsula Community School District
- Pleasant Ridge Plantation School Department
- Portland School Department
- Raymond School Department
- Richmond School Department
- Sanford School Department
- Scarborough School Department
- Schoodic Community School District
- Seboeis Plantation School Department
- South Portland School Department
- Southern Aroostook Community School District
- The Forks Plantation School Department
- Topsham School Department
- Upton School Department
- Waterboro School Department
- Waterville School Department
- Wells-Ogunquit Community School District
- West Forks Plantation School Department
- Westbrook School Department
- Westport Island School Department
- Windham School Department
- Winthrop School Department
- Wiscasset School Department
- York School Department
It is critical to make certain academic misconduct charges at your child's Maryland high school are handled properly and that the accused student's interests and rights are protected from as early as possible during the investigative and disciplinary process. One reason, among many, is because even at high schools where a finding of responsibility for academic misconduct is made at a hearing, the investigation will set the stage for what the hearing panel is provided prior to a hearing (and what the hearing panel will in large part rely on at a hearing), and at high schools where the finding of responsibility is made solely through the investigative process, what takes place during the investigation itself will determine whether the accused student is found responsible or not responsible for academic misconduct.
Unfortunately, some parents make the mistake of not taking the necessary precautions as soon as possible when their child is accused of academic misconduct. Some people will mistakenly believe that if they "just explain what happened," their school will be fair and impartial and will arrive at the truth. In a perfect world this may be the case, but in a perfect world, being called to answer for alleged academic misconduct would not exist.
Fighting passionately for the future of his clients at schools throughout the nation for many years, Joseph D. Lento knows how important it is to mount the strongest defense because he understands that an accused high school student's academic future is on the line. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph Lento is a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted as an attorney pro hac vice in state and federal court if needed when representing clients nationwide, and serves as an academic misconduct advisor to high school students facing investigations and disciplinary cases in Maryland and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National High School Academic Misconduct Defense Attorney Joseph D. Lento today at 888-535-3686.