Although West Virginia has a higher-than-average high school graduation rate, it is among the country’s lowest-ranked for test scores and system quality. With chronic pressure on teachers to perform and the burden of distance learning, some students take undesirable routes to improve their scores. The umbrella term for these routes is academic misconduct – and it can affect your child's chances of going to college.
Everyone makes mistakes, especially teenagers starting to explore their boundaries. Yet academic misconduct comes with long-term reputational challenges, especially with multiple offenses. However, even first-time offenders may receive an unjustifiably harsh penalty if they take the matter lightly.
If your teen faces academic misconduct charges, you may feel angry and worried about their future. You can still take steps to clear your child's name, but you must know how to approach the case. A legal advisor's guidance significantly improves the chances of a favorable outcome for your teen, especially with minor offenses and genuine mistakes.
Defining Academic Misconduct
Academic misconduct is a deliberate act of dishonesty that a student uses to gain an advantage over their peers. While school administrations know that some students will cheat when given a chance, academic misconduct is more than merely copying answers. The most common forms include:
- Falsification: Changing grades on a report card or report, altering or making up statements/correspondence from a teacher to a parent, citing untrue information from a publication or book.
- Collaboration: Multiple students working together to facilitate cheating, obtaining answers to tests, or ask someone's help without a professor's permission.
- Cheating: Multiple actions fall under this category, such as copying, using unauthorized assistance from others, paying others to complete assignments/tests, and procuring answers by means not sanctioned by the teacher.
- Fabrication: Making up information or data and using it as part of an assignment. Other forms include presenting a counterfeit document or certification as genuine.
- Violating Intellectual Property: Some professors use intellectual property that only their students can access, such as a book or a research study. The student may copy this material and publish it without the consent of the author.
- Plagiarism: Taking work from others and claiming that it is one's own. Or using the ideas of others and not giving credit to the creator.
- Unauthorized Aids: Using a smartphone, tablet, or other electronic devices to cheat during an exam or quiz.
- Technology and Apps: With distance learning, many students use technology to find test and homework answers. Websites like Cymayth and apps like HWPic make an answer available with the snap of a picture.
When a teacher suspects that a student is cheating, they gather evidence and present it to the administrator in charge of student affairs. This person can be the principal, assistant principal, or Dean. Most schools have strict and intimidating processes to handle such allegations but still give the student a chance to explain their actions.
If the student cheats during a College Board exam, they lose the right to continue the test and receive a zero. They also need to apply again, pay the fees, and retake the test. The College Board reserves the right to share the names of banned test-takers with schools and universities.
Students suspected of academic misconduct receive notice of the alleged infarction. The student usually has a chance to defend him or herself to the administration by presenting evidence or witnesses that support their claims.
In some cases, there is a genuine mistake or misunderstanding by the administration. However, most teachers arm themselves with evidence before confronting the student and present it to the administration before approaching parents.
Do not wait until your child's school makes a decision that you may have to fight or appeal. Contact a student defense advisor once you learn of the allegations to improve the odds of a favorable resolution. If the school administration makes a decision, it is usually final, leaving your child at a disadvantage and without a way to fight back.
Advisor Joseph D. Lento examines the allegations against your child and the code of ethics in your child's high school to detect inconsistencies. With his no-nonsense approach and aggressive defense strategy, Mr. Lento makes sure your child has a fighting chance.
Repercussions of Academic Misconduct in West Virginia
Most high schools have a code of conduct that outlines the procedures administrators use to investigate misconduct cases. While each policy is unique, the severity of the action determines the extent of the punishment.
First Time / Minor Offenses
- Deducting the student's grade
- Receiving a zero on the assignment or test
- Not being able to take a make-up exam
- Coming to school on Saturday
- Failing a class
- Removal from honorary societies
- Barring participation in extracurricular activities
- Revoking school privileges
- Receiving an “F” in the character or citizenship segment of the student's term/report card
- Repeating a grade
- Recording the incident on their permanent record
- Suspension from school
- Expulsion from school
- Not receiving recommendations and character references for colleges
While most administrations don't rush to conclusions and want to see students excel, it is not uncommon to hear how first-time offenders receive the harshest penalties. With an advisor by your side, you can decrease the chances of a worst-case scenario from becoming a reality for your child.
Call the Lento Law Firm
As the parent of a student facing academic misconduct allegations, you want to reduce the likelihood of their actions becoming long-term impediments. Attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento understands what you are up against and has the knowledge to get to the bottom of allegations before they wreak havoc on your teen's future.
Joseph D. Lento handles hundreds of similar cases every year, helping students fight unfair claims that threaten their academic success. By creating a strategy and gathering strong evidence, advisor Lento gives your teen a fighting chance during this frustrating time.
You don't have to face the administration alone, especially when the repercussions are unreasonable and disproportionate to the action.
Don't let a slip in reason undermine your teen's years of hard work and chances of going to college. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to discuss the specifics of your case.
West Virginia 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:
- Barbour County Schools
- Berkeley County Schools
- Boone County Schools
- Braxton County Schools
- Brooke County Schools
- Cabell County Schools
- Calhoun County Schools
- Clay County Schools
- Doddridge County Schools
- Fayette County Schools
- Gilmer County Schools
- Grant County Schools
- Greenbrier County Schools
- Hampshire County Schools
- Hancock County Schools
- Hardy County Schools
- Harrison County Schools
- Jackson County Schools
- Jefferson County Schools
- Kanawha County Schools
- Lewis County Schools
- Lincoln County Schools
- Logan County Schools
- Marion County Schools
- Marshall County Schools
- Mason County Schools
- McDowell County Schools
- Mercer County Schools
- Mineral County Schools
- Mingo County Schools
- Monongalia County Schools
- Monroe County Schools
- Morgan County Schools
- Nicholas County Schools
- Ohio County Schools
- Pendleton County Schools
- Pleasants County Schools
- Pocahontas County Schools
- Preston County Schools
- Putnam County Schools
- Raleigh County Schools
- Randolph County Schools
- Ritchie County Schools
- Roane County Schools
- Summers County Schools
- Taylor County Schools
- Tucker County Schools
- Tyler County Schools
- Upshur County Schools
- Wayne County Schools
- Webster County Schools
- Wetzel County Schools
- Wirt County Schools
- Wood County Schools
- Wyoming County Schools
It is critical to make certain academic misconduct charges at your child's West Virginia 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 West Virginia 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.