High School Academic Misconduct Advisor – Massachusetts

Academic misconduct is a major issue in high school and colleges across the nation. The unfortunate reality is that many students use deceitful methods to get ahead. A survey of 43,000 high school students in public and private schools revealed just how big of a problem academic misconduct remains. According to the survey, 59% of high school students admitted to cheating on a test in the last year and 34% reported doing it more than twice.

Massachusetts schools are cracking down on academic misconduct. Students caught violating academic integrity policies face considerable consequences like failing grades, suspensions, and blemishes on their records. If a Massachusetts school accuses your child of academic misconduct, you need to know what you're up against. Here are some details to help you during this difficult time.

Understanding Academic Misconduct

The definition of academic misconduct varies from school to school. In general, academic misconduct refers to acts that give students an unfair advantage. Common examples include cheating, plagiarism, unauthorized collaboration, and sabotage. These acts undermine teachers' ability to fairly evaluate student work.

Boston Public Schools defines misconduct in their academic dishonesty policy. They consider the following acts as violations of academic integrity:

  • Plagiarism or submitting an author's work as one's own without properly crediting the author. They prohibit paraphrasing and using part or whole works of others without proper acknowledgment.
  • Submitting materials obtained from an individual or agency and presenting them as one's own.
  • Submitting materials produced through unacknowledged collaboration with others.
  • Using unauthorized material during an exam, like notes, tests, or calculators.
  • Obtaining answers to exam questions from another person (with or without that person's knowledge.)
  • Giving answers to exam questions to other students.
  • Distributing unauthorized copies of notes from an exam.
  • Taking an exam in another person's place or submitting someone else's exam as one's own.
  • Using or seeking to use unauthorized computer files of a student or faculty member.

Academic misconduct policies are typically available in student handbooks and codes of conduct. You can check these documents to see specific academic misconduct rules at your child's school.

How Massachusetts Schools Handle Academic Misconduct

Every high school has a set procedure for handling academic misconduct cases. The school response will vary based on many factors, including the severity of the offense, the evidence of misconduct, and the student's prior offenses. For minor infractions, the school might resolve the matter quickly. Students accused of more serious violations may undergo a disciplinary hearing and meetings with school faculty.

Students accused of academic misconduct do have a right to due process. Massachusetts schools provide students the right to defend themselves and refute charges. Falmouth High School near Cape Cod gives students the following rights in their academic dishonesty policy:

  • Students, with a parent/guardian if desired, can meet with the teacher and the respective department head and, if requested, the grade level assistant principal to dispute academic dishonesty charges.
  • Students can appeal the decision by submitting the appeal in writing to the principal.

If your child's school notifies you of an academic integrity violation, you should review the school handbook to familiarize yourself with their procedure. You can also meet with an attorney to decide your next steps. A student discipline attorney can advise you on how to communicate with the school, challenge the charges, and file an appeal.

Consequences of Academic Misconduct in Massachusetts Schools

Since academic dishonesty undermines the integrity of schools, the penalties can be severe. Students caught violating academic integrity rules may receive a failing grade for their assignment or course.

Penalties often compound for repeat offenders. A known offender caught violating academic integrity policies may lose their academic standing and their eligibility for clubs and awards. In some cases, students will face suspension, expulsion, and a violation on their permanent record.

In Massachusetts, penalties for academic misconduct can be just as severe. Falmouth High School’s Academic Dishonesty Policy describes their consequences for misconduct:

First Offense: The student will receive a zero on the assignment involved. The student may also face additional consequences like losing access to honor societies, student leadership positions, and school activities.

Second Offense: The student will receive a zero on the assignment involved and may lose eligibility for awards and scholarships. If the second offense is in the same course as the first offense, the instructor may impose additional penalties.

Third and Subsequent Offenses: The student will receive a zero on the assignment involved, the student will be ineligible for awards and may be ineligible for scholarships. The student will lose student leadership positions and have honor societies memberships rescinded. If all the offenses occur in the same course, the student will receive an “F” in the course for the semester, potentially impacting graduation and athletic eligibility.

Academic misconduct can follow your child for years to come. They may struggle to gain acceptance to a university or to receive scholarships. An attorney-advisor can help you and your child pursue a reduction in charges and penalties.

Why You Should Hire a Student Defense Attorney

An academic misconduct charge can threaten your child's future. With such high stakes, you need to put your child in the best position to defend themselves. An experienced attorney can help you tackle the academic disciplinary process head-on. They can gather evidence, create a defense, and guide you on how to present your case to the school.

Attorneys can also review the school's code of conduct and identify any violations made by the school. Many school policies make it mandatory to report violations to parents, to allow parents to attend disciplinary hearings, and to provide families with the right to appeal decisions. An advisor can hold the school accountable to their rules to ensure your child receives fair treatment.

Although attorneys are not always allowed to attend disciplinary hearings, their knowledge and experience are invaluable to the outcome of the case. Using an attorney gives you the best chance to attain a positive outcome and to create a brighter future for your child.

Academic misconduct allegations are serious business. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has fought tirelessly for students for many years. The experienced attorneys at the Lento Law Firm will guide you every step of the way. Contact the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 to schedule an initial consultation today.

Massachusetts 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:

A

  • Abington School Department
  • Acton School Department
  • Acton-Boxborough Regional School District
  • Acushnet School Department
  • Adams-Cheshire Regional School District
  • Agawam School Department
  • Amesbury School Department
  • Amherst School Department
  • Amherst-Pelham Regional School District
  • Andover School Department
  • Arlington School Department
  • Ashburnham-Westminster Regional School District
  • Ashland School Department
  • Athol-Royalston Regional School District
  • Attleborough School Department
  • Auburn School Department
  • Avon School Department
  • Ayer School Department

B

  • Barnstable School Department
  • Bedford School Department
  • Belchertown School Department
  • Bellingham School Department
  • Berkley School Department
  • Berlin School Department
  • Berlin-Boylston Regional School District
  • Beverly School Department
  • Billerica School Department
  • Blackstone-Millville Regional School District
  • Boston Public Schools
  • Bourne School Department
  • Boylston School Department
  • Braintree School Department
  • Brewster School Department
  • Bridgewater-Raynham Regional School District
  • Brockton Public Schools
  • Brookfield School Department
  • Brookline School Department
  • Burlington School Department

C

  • Cambridge School Department
  • Canton School Department
  • Carlisle School Department
  • Carver School Department
  • Central Berkshire Regional School District
  • Chatham School Department
  • Chelmsford School Department
  • Chelsea School Department
  • Chesterfield-Goshen Regional School District
  • Chicopee School Department
  • Clarksburg School Department
  • Clinton School Department
  • Cohasset School Department
  • Concord School Department
  • Concord-Carlisle Regional School District
  • Conway School Department

D

  • Danvers School Department
  • Dartmouth School Department
  • Dedham School Department
  • Deerfield School Department
  • Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School District
  • Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District
  • Douglas School Department
  • Dover School Department
  • Dover-Sherborn Regional School District
  • Dracut School Department
  • Dudley-Charlton Regional School District
  • Duxbury School Department

E

  • East Bridgewater School Department
  • East Longmeadow School Department
  • Eastham School Department
  • Easthampton School Department
  • Easton School Department
  • Edgartown School Department
  • Erving School Department
  • Everett School Department

F

  • Fairhaven School Department
  • Fall River Public Schools
  • Falmouth School Department
  • Farmington River Regional School District
  • Fitchburg School Department
  • Florida School Department
  • Foxborough School Department
  • Framingham School Department
  • Franklin School Department
  • Freetown School Department
  • Freetown-Lakeville Regional School District
  • Frontier Regional School District

G

  • Gardner School Department
  • Gateway Regional School District
  • Georgetown School Department
  • Gill-Montague Regional School District
  • Gloucester School Department
  • Gosnold School Department
  • Grafton School Department
  • Granby School Department
  • Granville School Department
  • Greenfield School Department
  • Groton-Dunstable Regional School District

H

  • Hadley School Department
  • Halifax School Department
  • Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District
  • Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District
  • Hampshire Regional School District
  • Hancock School Department
  • Hanover School Department
  • Harvard School Department
  • Harwich School Department
  • Hatfield School Department
  • Haverhill Public Schools
  • Hawlemont Regional School District
  • Hingham School Department
  • Holbrook School Department
  • Holland School Department
  • Holliston School Department
  • Holyoke School Department
  • Hopedale School Department
  • Hopkinton School Department
  • Hudson School Department
  • Hull School Department

I

  • Ipswich School Department

K

  • King Philip Regional School District
  • Kingston School Department

L

  • Lakeville School Department
  • Lanesborough School Department
  • Lawrence Public Schools
  • Lee School Department
  • Leicester School Department
  • Lenox School Department
  • Leominster School Department
  • Leverett School Department
  • Lexington School Department
  • Lincoln School Department
  • Lincoln-Sudbury Regional School District
  • Littleton School Department
  • Longmeadow School Department
  • Lowell Public Schools
  • Ludlow School Department
  • Lunenburg School Department
  • Lynn Public Schools
  • Lynnfield School Department

M

  • Malden School Department
  • Manchester-Essex Regional School District
  • Mansfield School Department
  • Marblehead School Department
  • Marion School Department
  • Marlborough School Department
  • Marshfield School Department
  • Martha's Vineyard Regional School District
  • Masconomet Regional School District
  • Mashpee School Department
  • Mattapoisett School Department
  • Maynard School Department
  • Medfield School Department
  • Medford School Department
  • Medway School Department
  • Melrose School Department
  • Mendon-Upton Regional School District
  • Methuen Public Schools
  • Middleborough School Department
  • Middleton School Department
  • Milford School Department
  • Millbury School Department
  • Millis School Department
  • Milton School Department
  • Mohawk Trail Regional School District
  • Monson School Department
  • Mount Greylock Regional School District

N

  • Nahant School Department
  • Nantucket School Department
  • Narragansett Regional School District
  • Nashoba Regional School District
  • Natick School Department
  • Nauset Regional School District
  • Needham School Department
  • New Bedford Public Schools
  • New Salem-Wendell Regional School District
  • Newburyport School Department
  • Newton Public Schools
  • North Attleborough School Department
  • North Middlesex Regional School District
  • North Reading School Department
  • Northampton School Department
  • Northborough School Department
  • Northborough-Southborough Regional School District
  • Northbridge School Department
  • Norton School Department
  • Norwood School Department

O

  • Oak Bluffs School Department
  • Old Rochester Regional School District
  • Orange School Department
  • Orleans School Department
  • Oxford School Department

P

  • Palmer School Department
  • Peabody School Department
  • Pelham School Department
  • Pembroke School Department
  • Pentucket Regional School District
  • Petersham School Department
  • Pioneer Valley Regional School District
  • Pittsfield School Department
  • Plainville School Department
  • Plymouth School Department
  • Plympton School Department
  • Provincetown School Department

Q

  • Quabbin Regional School District
  • Quaboag Regional School District
  • Quincy Public Schools

R

  • Ralph C. Mahar Regional School District
  • Randolph School Department
  • Reading School Department
  • Revere School Department
  • Richmond School Department
  • Rochester School Department
  • Rockland School Department
  • Rockport School Department
  • Rowe School Department

S

  • Salem School Department
  • Sandwich School Department
  • Saugus School Department
  • Savoy School Department
  • Scituate School Department
  • Seekonk Public Schools
  • Sharon School Department
  • Sherborn School Department
  • Shirley School Department
  • Shrewsbury Public Schools
  • Shutesbury School Department
  • Somerset School Department
  • Somerville School Department
  • Southampton School Department
  • Southborough School Department
  • Southbridge School Department
  • Southern Berkshire Regional School District
  • Southwick-Tolland Regional School District
  • Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District
  • Springfield Public Schools
  • Stoneham School Department
  • Stoughton School Department
  • Sturbridge School Department
  • Sudbury Public Schools
  • Sunderland School Department
  • Sutton School Department
  • Swampscott School Department
  • Swansea School Department

T

  • Tantasqua Regional School District
  • Taunton School Department
  • Tewksbury School Department
  • Tisbury School Department
  • Topsfield School Department
  • Triton Regional School District
  • Truro School Department

U

  • Up-Island Regional School District
  • Uxbridge School Department

W

  • Wachusett Regional School District
  • Wakefield School Department
  • Wales School Department
  • Walpole School Department
  • Waltham School Department
  • Ware School Department
  • Wareham School Department
  • Watertown School Department
  • Wayland School Department
  • Webster School Department
  • Wellesley School Department
  • Wellfleet School Department
  • West Boylston School Department
  • West Bridgewater School Department
  • West Springfield School Department
  • Westborough Public Schools
  • Westfield School Department
  • Westford School Department
  • Westhampton School Department
  • Weston School Department
  • Westport School Department
  • Westwood School Department
  • Weymouth School Department
  • Whately School Department
  • Whitman-Hanson Regional School District
  • Williamsburg School Department
  • Williamstown School Department
  • Wilmington School Department
  • Winchendon School Department
  • Winchester School Department
  • Winthrop School Department
  • Woburn School Department
  • Worcester Public Schools
  • Wrentham School Department

It is critical to make certain academic misconduct charges at your child's Massachusetts 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 Massachusetts 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.

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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact our offices today, and let us help secure your academic career.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website.  In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton County.  In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County,  In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties.  Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law.  The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship.  The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

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