Harbinger investigates cheating epidemic

By Abby Kousouris

     The typical Hereford student participates in sports and dabbles in a few clubs on the side, all the while taking two or three AP classes. Activities take up time. School takes time. Homework takes time. The clock is ticking constantly for students. Assignments, due dates, and events fill up the student’s calendars. And as each hand ticks away at the clock, it bears even more weight, putting students under constant stress to manage everything and excel in school.

     For some, Hereford is this perfect community of perfect families, and each family has a perfect child who is a perfect student with perfect grades. It becomes too much to handle. So, students are left to continue their never-ending juggling act of school, work, friends, and family. It is difficult to manage, but instead of dropping the ball, they look for other ways to solve their problems: cheating.

     Cheating is the glance across the room to tell your friend that the answer to number six on the college algebra test is actually “A”, x= 65.463. It’s the students who copy homework secretively. It is the students using their phones to look up answers on Google. It’s the girl who is glancing down at the vocabulary words that she scribbled down on her leg before the test. It’s all cheating, and it’s a big part of student life.

     In order to get to the bottom of this, The Hereford Harbinger met with a group of anonymous students who revealed to us just how important cheating is in school. One student even revealed, “It’s necessary… It’s human nature to cheat.”

     So why has it gotten to the point that students feel so much pressure that they are willing to compromise their integrity to get a better grade? There shouldn’t be a need to cheat, but from what students explained to us it’s impossible for students to avoid it. One student said, “I cheat because cheating equals good grades, which equals getting into a good college, which equals getting into a good job, which equals money… and power.”

     It’s amazing what lengths some students have gone to in order to do well on assignments. One student said, “I used a water bottle label and cheated.”

     Students know that cheating is wrong. We were all taught from a young age that “Cheaters never win” and that “Honesty is the best policy”, however those lessons are harder to follow when students are in a crunch to finish an assignment. If students feel that they are receiving a lot of homework, instead of losing sleep and stressing out they find a justifiable way to get by. “I feel great [after I have cheated]. I feel better because I got a good grade. Who wouldn’t be happy about that?”

     It seems that students tend to cheat more in different classes. It is not as if they aren’t learning in all of their classes. It is just that they are cheating in select classes, just to get by. “Physics is cheating,” said one student, “It’s a necessary evil.” Most of the AP classes that students are involved in also require a lot of time to be spent on homework.

     Most students in the panel agreed that if their parents caught them cheating that they would be punished. One student said, “My mom would kill me.” However, a lot of parents have been encouraging students to do better in class, and subsequently, they condone cheating. Another student said, “My dad told me, ‘Just take a look and copy ‘er down!’” A fellow student agreed, “My parents know I cheat. You gotta do what you gotta do.”

     Mr. Keller, a science teacher here at Hereford, preaches to his students that “If you were going into surgery you wouldn’t want the last thing you think of before everything goes blurry to be ‘Did this guy cheat his way through med school?’ would you?”