Updated: Thursday, 03 Jun 2010, 6:53 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 03 Jun 2010, 6:52 PM EDT
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - The Hamilton Southeastern School District is dealing with a plagiarism scandal that could have prevented almost two dozen seniors from graduating. 24-Hour News 8 has spoken to students, teachers and the district spokesperson.
The spokesperson will not identify what course the students were taking, but we've learned the students are accused of cheating in a class that could not only affect whether they graduate, but also whether they get into the college of their choice.
The web site, turnitin.com was the undoing of almost two dozen Hamilton Southeastern High School seniors. The educational software system is accepted among academics as a near fool proof way to catch a cheater.
During the second semester, district administrators began using the software, informed the the students, and made them sign a no plagiarism pledge. That's why everyone was shocked when Advanced College Project students, college-bound seniors taking courses for college credit, were being investigated for cheating on the final. Paige Copeland is a graduating HSE senior and a friend of some of the plagiarizing pupils.
"For the entire last week [of school] even throughout all the lunches, we'd all be discussing all the things going on with the ACP final possibly not being able to pass," said Copeland.
Failing the final could have serious consequences. In a statement, HSE superintendent Brian Smith wrote, "Several students were in danger of not graduating on time. We found a teacher who was willing to step up and administer a complete but highly accelerated online version of a class that would replace the credit that was lost due to cheating. Each student who wishes to graduate on time and participate in commencement now has the opportunity to do so." [click here to read the entire statement]
But ACP classes are given in conjunction with Indiana University. Teachers and students have confirmed to 24-hour news 8 that the cheating may mean some students are not accepted to I-U.
"Some people might not even be able to get into I-U because it's a dual credit and I-U has a zero tolerance policy so they might not be able to go there," said Copeland.
That's big. A lesson learned in a tough way.
"If you're going to do something dishonorable, there's going to be consequences for it," said Copeland. But she says she sympathizes with her friends who were caught cheating. She claims students have been cheating for years, but this is the first year teachers have used the software system that gives them the ability to easily catch cheaters. She believes this incident likely serves as a lesson for students for years to come.
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