High School Academic Misconduct Attorney Advisor – North Carolina

Academic dishonesty is a solemn matter in most North Carolina high schools. Students feel pressured to succeed in school, along with their many other activities, and might think shortcuts are the only way to juggle it all. Academic misconduct lingers on a student's record, however. An academic integrity infraction squashes opportunities for honors, awards, scholarships, participation in extracurricular activities, and college admission.

When your child's future is on the line, you don't want to leave anything to chance. A student defense legal advisor can help defend your student's rights in an academic misconduct charge.

What is Academic Misconduct?

Academic misconduct is any dishonest or unethical behavior by a student to gain an unfair advantage on academic work. High schools expect students to abide by the rules when it comes to completing tests, assignments, and projects. To get the most from their education, students must present their best, most honest work. When they are dishonest, it prevents them and other others from learning fully.

Most high schools in North Carolina state their honor code or academic misconduct policy in the student handbook or code of conduct. They also list the penalties for academic misconduct violations. Both you and your student should review these policies at the start of a new school year. If you're familiar with the school's rules, it'll be much easier to defend your student if they're brought up on academic dishonesty charges.

What are common examples of academic misconduct in North Carolina high schools?

  • Plagiarism: Plagiarism is taking someone else's work and passing it off as one's own. It could be stealing passages from a book, article, or essay, violating intellectual property rights, using photos or artwork found online with properly citing, or taking work from another student and claiming authorship. If students aren't familiar with proper citation styles, they could also commit accidental plagiarism. Taking work previously done for another assignment and copying it into a new one is also plagiarism—even if the student authored both works. High school students should always ask their teachers about proper citation and self-plagiarism if they have concerns.
  • Cheating: Cheating is any unethical behavior that goes against the rules set forth for academic work. By the time they reach high school, students should understand what is acceptable when completing homework or taking assessments. Cheating could be obtaining copies of a test without permission, copying another student's work, allowing another student to copy one's own work, or using resources the teacher has forbidden.
  • Falsification: Falsification is misrepresenting information to gain an unfair academic advantage. It includes putting another person's name on an assignment or test, forging documents to be excused from class on a test day, or paying for anything of value to complete a school assignment. Deceitful misconduct is a grave academic offense that teachers and school administrators take seriously.
  • Altering school documents: Tampering with report cards, official school passes, notes, or other school documents pertaining to academic performance are forms of academic misconduct. Altering data on such documents is also misrepresentation and students could be charged with academic dishonesty.
  • Unauthorized use of technology devices: Students typically aren't allowed to use school computers, devices, or phones without permission. If they use school devices to cheat or falsify information, students might violate their school's honor code. Many schools also prohibit students from using personal devices to cheat, misrepresent information, or plagiarize.

How Do North Carolina High Schools Handle Academic Misconduct?

Many schools decide on their own academic misconduct policies so cases vary by school and district. For minor infractions, a teacher might ask the student to re-do the assignment or give them a zero grade on it, with no further disciplinary action. For more serious offenses, like falsification and altering school documents, penalties could be more severe.

Penalties of academic misconduct in North Carolina

Charlotte-Mecklenburg public schools consider dishonesty, such as cheating and altering report cards as honor code violations. Administrators and faculty can use “Level I” or “Level II” responses to these offenses, including contacting parents, verbal warning, signing a behavior contract, service learning, removal from extracurricular activities, out-of-school suspension for up to 10 days, and others.

Wake County Public Schools has an honor code to promote integrity and self-discipline among students. The code prohibits cheating, plagiarism, and falsification. Penalties for violating this code include teacher intervention, zero grade on the assignment in question, an alternative assignment, Level I or Level II disciplinary action, or removal from extracurricular activities.

Disciplinary hearing

If your student is accused of academic misconduct, will they have to attend a disciplinary hearing? It depends on the seriousness of their accusation, or if it's the first time they've violated the school's academic misconduct policy. Both Charlotte-Mecklenburg public schools and Wake County public schools state that the repeated offenses of academic misconduct could lead to more severe punishments, such as in-school or out-of-school suspension.

If your child receives a long-term suspension from school, they have a right to know why and a right to due process. Due process in a high school setting usually means the student's case is referred to a panel of faculty or staff members, and the student can defend their case. In North Carolina, students also have a right to an informal hearing with the school principal if they're facing a short-term suspension.

Can a High School Academic Misconduct Legal Advisor Help?

North Carolina law also allows parents to retain legal representation for their student during a disciplinary hearing. An experienced attorney-advisor can review the relevant school, district, or county policies with you so you know your student's rights. A legal advisor can also speak at the hearing on your student's behalf.

Academic misconduct isn't illegal—it's subject to school policies. You shouldn't try to navigate the school rules on your own, however. A student defense advisor has a better chance of ensuring a fair process and securing a favorable outcome. If your student is facing academic misconduct charges and you want professional advice, call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 for an initial consultation.

North Carolina 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:


  • Alamance-Burlington Schools
  • Alexander County Schools
  • Alleghany County Schools
  • Anson County Schools
  • Ashe County Schools
  • Asheboro City Schools
  • Asheville City Schools
  • Avery County Schools


  • Beaufort County Schools
  • Bertie County Schools
  • Bladen County Schools
  • Brunswick County Schools
  • Buncombe County Schools
  • Burke County Schools


  • Cabarrus County Schools
  • Caldwell County Schools
  • Camden County Schools
  • Carteret County Public Schools
  • Caswell County Schools
  • Catawba County Schools
  • Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools
  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
  • Chatham County Schools
  • Cherokee County Schools
  • Clay County Schools
  • Cleveland County Schools
  • Clinton City Schools
  • Columbus County Schools
  • Craven County Schools
  • Cumberland County Schools
  • Currituck County Schools


  • Dare County Schools
  • Davie County Schools
  • Duplin County Schools
  • Durham Public Schools


  • Edenton-Chowan Schools
  • Edgecombe County Schools
  • Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Schools
  • Elkin City Schools


  • Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools
  • Franklin County Schools


  • Gaston County Schools
  • Gates County Schools
  • Graham County Schools
  • Granville County Schools
  • Greene County Schools
  • Guilford County Schools


  • Halifax County Schools
  • Harnett County Schools
  • Haywood County Schools
  • Henderson County Schools
  • Hertford County Schools
  • Hickory City Schools
  • Hoke County Schools
  • Hyde County Schools


  • Iredell-Statesville Schools


  • Jackson County Schools
  • Johnston County Schools
  • Jones County Schools


  • Kannapolis City Schools


  • Lee County Schools
  • Lenoir County Public Schools
  • Lexington City Schools
  • Lincoln County Schools


  • Macon County Schools
  • Madison County Schools
  • Martin County Schools
  • McDowell County Schools
  • Mitchell County Schools
  • Montgomery County Schools
  • Moore County Schools
  • Mooresville Graded Public School District
  • Mount Airy City Schools


  • Nash-Rocky Mount Schools
  • New Hanover County Schools
  • Newton-Conover City Schools
  • Northampton County Schools


  • Onslow County Schools
  • Orange County Schools


  • Pamlico County Schools
  • Pender County Schools
  • Perquimans County Schools
  • Person County Schools
  • Pitt County Schools
  • Polk County Schools


  • Randolph County Schools
  • Richmond County Schools
  • Roanoke Rapids Graded School District
  • Robeson County Schools
  • Rockingham County Schools
  • Rowan-Salisbury Schools
  • Rutherford County Schools


  • Sampson County Schools
  • Scotland County Schools
  • Stanly County Schools
  • Stokes County Schools
  • Surry County Schools
  • Swain County Schools


  • Thomasville City Schools
  • Transylvania County Schools
  • Tyrrell County Schools


  • Union County Public Schools


  • Vance County Schools


  • Wake County Public School System
  • Warren County Schools
  • Washington County Schools
  • Watauga County Schools
  • Wayne County Public Schools
  • Weldon City Schools
  • Whiteville City Schools
  • Wilkes County Schools
  • Wilson County Schools


  • Yadkin County Schools
  • Yancey County Schools

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

Contact Us Today!


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 the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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