Living in New Hampshire, your student not only made it to high school, but they've made good friends and stellar grades. You're proud of all their accomplishments, and you're even more excited for what's to come. Their dreams and hopes are so close to becoming a reality, whether it's to enroll at their dream college or start a promising career right away. But when there are allegations of academic misconduct and school officials are considering disciplinary action against your child, what do you do?
The fear and frustration you feel are understandable, but there's no need to let an academic misconduct violation on a school record hurt your child's future. Rather than navigating an allegation alone, you can work to protect your child's rights and build a strong case for their innocence with the help of an experienced lawyer.
New Hampshire Academic Misconduct and Your High School Student
You may remember the cheating scandal that took place at a public high school in New Hampshire where nine students allegedly stole advance copies of final exams. Now, most New Hampshire high schools lay out specific academic honesty policies and honor codes as part of their expectations for learners to produce work with integrity. In fact, many schools require teachers to provide written explanations for complying with their school's academic integrity policies in their classes and facilitate discussions regarding those expectations. Students who not only act dishonestly but are caught before the act has been completed are also considered to be in violation of such policies. You and your child should take the time to carefully review your school's rules, definitions, and procedures related to academic misconduct.
Here are some examples of academic misconduct in New Hampshire high schools:
- Verbatim repetition or paraphrasing without acknowledgment of another person's writing or research
- Submitting work, ideas, images, or data from someone else without giving proper credit to the source or author
- Submitting papers found on the Internet as one's own
- Providing one's own work to someone else to be used as his/her own
- Accessing a test for the purpose of determining the questions in advance
- Copying or sharing answers to a test, quiz, or exam
- Possessing unauthorized materials (e.g., cheat sheets, notes, etc.)
- Any activity in which a student deliberately misrepresents their actual academic achievement
Other violations include fabricating or falsely presenting data, quotations, sources, or other information, helping other students to cheat or plagiarize, and asking or persuading other students to engage in any of the aforementioned behaviors. Most schools now also have updated their guidelines to specifically mention inappropriate or questionable use of technology, adhering to policies laid out by their school districts.
Penalties for Academic Misconduct
Policies vary across the state of New Hampshire, depending on school board policies for each district. So, be sure to look at your school's handbook to understand the penalties for the violation of its honor code. The class teacher may assign a zero for the assignment or exam or even a failing grade for the entire course. You may be immediately dismissed from all leadership positions, athletic teams, and extra-curricular clubs. Schools see and treat instances of academic dishonesty as major disciplinary infractions. Actionable violations and repeated offenses may lead to administrative disciplinary action as well, which could include in- or out-of-school suspension or expulsion.
If your child is accused of violating their school's policy, the school will usually notify you and discuss the reported violation and possible next steps. The Dean of Students and your child's other teachers may also be notified to then make a determination of an appropriate consequence.
You also need to keep in mind that these penalties do not include the effects of having academic misconduct on your child's permanent record. Faculty members all have access to official disciplinary records documenting these violations, which becomes a major obstacle when your child is ready to ask their teachers for letters of recommendation. Did you know that many college recommendation forms ask whether the student has been academically dishonest? With such a blemish, a lot is at stake.
An Academic Misconduct Advisor Can Help
As a parent, you might think you can handle the school's disciplinary proceedings yourself. Although academic misconduct is not illegal, it can certainly have serious consequences. Schools will have different rules and restrictions regarding who can be present at the hearings, but an attorney-advisor can still work with your child by reviewing the code of conduct at their New Hampshire high school and thoroughly preparing them to refute the charges.
Academic dishonesty and code of conduct violations are serious offenses that can threaten your child's future. Don't let these accusations and violations interfere with their studies or aspirations. With many years of experience representing students across the country, attorney Joseph D. Lento has a successful track record in handling these kinds of cases. Contact the Lento Law Firm for a case evaluation by calling 888-535-3686 or by filling out the online form.
If your child has been accused of a disciplinary offense, there is potential for action by your child's school. With so much at stake, don't delay seeking the right help in protecting your child during the investigative and disciplinary processes. Accusations of academic misconduct can be life-altering for your child, making it difficult to continue their educational or career path.
Whether you have recently been accused of an academic offense or are currently in the appeal process to overturn an unfavorable decision, learning the process and successfully navigating the process is crucial. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have unmatched experience in advising families facing stressful hearings like yours. They can assist you in evaluating the accusations and ensuring a fair proceeding to protect your child's rights. They know how to craft the strongest defense because they understand your child's academic future is on the line. Don't leave it to chance. Contact Joseph D. Lento today online or by phone at 888-535-3686 to schedule a consultation.