High school is full of changes for every student. Even when faced with those changes, however, students are expected to engage with their homework, exams, and other assignments honestly. Failure to do so can result in accusations of academic misconduct. Those accusations, in turn, can make it much more difficult for a high school student to achieve their goals even after the incident has long faded into the past.
What is Academic Misconduct?
Each high school in the District of Columbia defines academic misconduct differently. There are, however, consistent circumstances that tend to fall under this category of behaviors. These include:
Cheating On an Exam
Students should not come into possession, seek out, or otherwise procure answers to quizzes or examinations without authorized permission. Doing so or using otherwise unapproved, provided exam answers while taking any manner of assessment can see a student brought forward under accusations of academic misconduct.
Cheating on College Board Assessments
High school students preparing to take any manner of college board exams, including the SAT, ACT, PSAT, or any AP exams, may not use unapproved materials during their testing. Similarly, students may not collaborate on college board exams or share information regarding these board exams outside of those bounds permitted by the parties creating and proctoring the exams.
The use of these materials or other behaviors deemed outside of the bounds of the exam by attending supervisors and exam representatives can see a student's end-grade dismissed in addition to any consequences that attending proctors and other supervisory bodies deem appropriate given the student's existing record.
While the rules of citations are often still being taught to students in high school, no student should engage in the act of plagiarism, or the willful misrepresentation of another party's thoughts or ideas without proper citation. Examples of plagiarism that can result in an accusation of academic misconduct include but are not limited to:
- Using a word-for-word passage written by another party, contemporary or otherwise, in a paper or examination without proper citation.
- Representing the ideas or data produced by another person as one's own without proper citation.
- Paraphrasing another party's ideas or basing one's work off of another person's efforts without proper citation.
Plagiarism as a category also includes the act of self-plagiarism. No student should try and submit a paper, art project, or another form of data to one teacher when they have already submitted it to another unless said submission was approved ahead of time by both participating teachers. In that same vein, students should avoid using similar prompts or quotes from previously-submitted assignments without proper citation.
Consequences for Academic Misconduct in the District of Columbia
The consequences a student may face when accused of academic misconduct will vary based on the wording of their high school's honor code and student conduct guidelines. That said, students living in the District of Columbia who are accused of academic misconduct and choose not to appeal their accusation may endure:
A Failing Class Grade
Should a student have an otherwise clean academic record, the teacher or other affiliated party involved in a case of high school academic misconduct may opt to first file a report of that misconduct with the school and the Chief Integrity Officer of the District of Columbia's public schools. From there, the teacher or supervisory body can award the student in question a failing grade in their course. Students accused of academic misconduct who do not appeal their accusations cannot drop or otherwise disregard these failing grades and instead must mark them on their permanent records. These grades will have a noted impact on the student's GPA even if the teacher or other body involved in the case chooses not to pursue additional consequences for that student.
If the case in question seems to inspire more severe consequences for the accused student, then a teacher or other supervising body may choose to request a suspension or similar punishment – several weeks in detention, for example – of the affiliated high school's administrative board. In-school suspensions and out-of-school suspensions are both marked on a student's permanent record. However, after the amount of time during which a student is suspended has passed, they will have the opportunity to resume their studies and to make up for time spent out of the classroom.
Should a student have multiple accusations of academic misconduct on their record, or should the misconduct in question be especially severe, then the administrative board affiliated with the high school in question may deem it appropriate to expel that student. Expulsion not only disrupts the learning process, but also makes it significantly more difficult for the student in question to pursue an alternative education at a later date.
Delayed or Denied College Attendance
While high school juniors and seniors are bogged down in the details of applying to college, even freshmen can face considerable trouble getting into their preferred colleges if they have an accusation of academic misconduct on their permanent record. Universities across the United States and beyond can deny students entry if they believe that the student in question will not uphold their affiliated honor codes – many of which require incoming students to uphold standards of integrity and honesty throughout their academic careers.
Even after a presumed acceptance, universities can revoke their offers of admissions should a student be accused of academic misconduct. So too can accused students lose scholarships or otherwise be denied the financial assistance they may need to further their academic career.
Working Through an Academic Misconduct Accusation With an Academic Integrity Attorney-Advisor
Accusations of academic misconduct can threaten a high school student's academic and professional career after their graduation. That's why the Lento Law Firm takes its academic misconduct cases seriously. Joseph Lento helps high school students first understand why their cases have come to light and how, in turn, they can present their arguments or issue appeals regarding decisions made by school boards throughout the District of Columbia. To schedule a case consultation, students and their families can call 888-535-3686 or fill out an online contact link.
Washington, D.C., 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 high schools:
- Anacostia High School
- Ballou High School
- Bell Multicultural High School
- Benjamin Banneker Academic High School
- Booker T. Washington Public Charter School
- Cardozo Education Campus
- Coolidge Senior High School
- District of Columbia International School
- Duke Ellington School of the Arts
- Dunbar High School
- Eastern High School
- Friendship Collegiate Academy Public Charter School
- D. Woodson High School
- McKinley Technology High School
- Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School
- School Without Walls
- Theodore Roosevelt High School
- Thurgood Marshall Academy
- Washington Latin Public Charter School
- Woodrow Wilson High School
It is critical to make certain academic misconduct charges at your child's Washington, D.C., 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 Washington, D.C., 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.