Belding students disciplined for ‘academic dishonesty’

By Cory Smith • Last Updated 11:24 pm on Friday, May 17, 2013

BELDING — A matter of academic dishonesty involving a cell phone, answers to a test and several students at Belding High School has resulted in disciplinary action for the students involved.

According to Superintendent Sara Shriver, during the week of May 6, Belding High School Principal Brett Zuver became aware of a potential academic dishonesty situation amongst the high school students.

“Principal Zuver was alerted that a student’s iPad was found,” Shriver said. “On the iPad, answer documents were found. As with any situation with potential academic dishonesty, Mr. Zuver met with the student. Through his investigation, it came to light several additional students may have had some level of involvement.”

Zuver arranged for a class meeting to provide an opportunity for any and all students involved to come forward and discuss their knowledge or participation in the situation.

According to Shriver, through student admission to academic dishonesty, consequences were imposed.

Students came forward and shared how they had obtained an answer key and made a photo of it using cell phones. The answer key was forwarded to many students via use of the cell phone’s messaging.

Consequence ranged from receiving zeros on the test, to losing course credits, to removal from the National Honor Society, and athletic suspensions.

“We do not have any students that are not going to graduate because of this,” she said. “Every student who was involved was remorseful and brought themselves before Mr. Zuver. We are very proud and appreciative of the students for coming forward when they were given the opportunity to do so.”

Students have been offered the chance to earn back lost credits in order to complete the Michigan Merit Curriculum graduation requirements. Parents of each student involved were notified by Zuver as well.

Zuver said he does not necessarily blame advancements in technology as the sole factor as a reason for cheating in this situation, which involved student cell phones and iPads.

“The technology to do this, to take a photo and send it, has been around for students for four to five years,” he said. “It’s unfortunate, but that comes with new technologies. The reaction by the students when confronted has been very, very good.”

In finalizing the investigation, Shriver conducted follow up interviews with each student to determine fair and consistent consequences for the multiple levels of involvement.

“As a district we are truly disappointed with the situation as it unfolded, however, we will use this an an opportunity to learn and put internal processes in place to avoid, or at a minimum, limit academic dishonesty going forward,” she said.

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