2016 was not a good year for Mill Creek High School, Gwinnett County, Georgia. A summer reading assignment turned into a huge plagiarism scandal and prompted a full-blown investigation.
It is not often that we cover high school cheating cases, but it doesn’t mean high schoolers do not plagiarize. This particular scandal got on our radar because of the big number of no-plagiarism rule violators.
Let’s look into this scandal’s details and see if we can make any conclusions about plagiarism in the academic circles.
Investigation of Mill Creek High School Plagiarism Case
In the face of the scandal, the Headmaster of Mill Creek High School had to issue a letter in which he disclosed details on the matter.
The fraud was discovered by language art teacher. Initially, there were only 80 plagiarized assignments discovered, but as the investigation continued, number of students who plagiarized their assignment numbered to an outstanding and shocking 190, which shocked the community and even resulted in news channel coverage.
Journalist Nicole Carr from Channel 2 interviewed Mill Creek students and found out people worked in groups on the assignment and used internet to complete it, which is absolutely fine as long as it doesn’t cripple academic performance.
Inevitably, a question arises: why so many students think they can plagiarize and get away with it? With a myriad of plagiarism scandals in recent years, both in academic field and in politics, one would think young people should be knowledgeable enough in plagiarism and academic integrity.
If you would like to read more on plagiarism scandals, visit Monica Crowley’s plagiarism scandal, as one of the latest and loudest.
Punishment for Students and More Questions
What’s the result of Mill Creek High School scandal for the perpetrators and the community?
One day of suspension from school was deemed as the appropriate punishment. The school rules also provide it possible to lose a status of honor grad. We have not heard of this clause applied to any of the wrong-doers in this story.
Some students voiced an opinion that such punishments were too severe; others treated it as sufficient and fair.
This divide seems to represent the same divide in the community. There are those who strongly believe plagiarizing is unacceptable, and those who feel it is not such bad offence. The latter clearly shows that our community needs further educating about plagiarism and intellectual property ethics.
This proves to be a global problem. Nowadays, plagiarism scandals happen so often and blow over so fast that less and less people treat them as something worthwhile. Plagiarism ceased to be a mortal sin of writing community and young generation picks up on it.
Educators in K-12 strive to motivate students to read and to stay engaged in learning, especially during a summer break. Determining what is worse: working on an assignment and plagiarizing it; or not working on it all – is a question for another day.
One thing is absolutely clear: in our schools, plagiarism starts early. By the time pupils become college students, some of them get used to solving problems by plagiarizing, cheating or dishonoring themselves and their schools in other such ways.
This shows the urgent need to educate youngsters about ethics in academia and to promote academic honesty, starting in K-12 schools and onward. This, in turn, will help shape future leaders that value honesty and hard work.