INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - The Hamilton Southeastern School District is dealing with aplagiarism scandal that could have prevented almost two dozenseniors from graduating. 24-Hour News 8 has spoken to students,teachers and the district spokesperson.
The spokesperson will not identify what course the students weretaking, but we've learned the students are accused of cheating in aclass that could not only affect whether they graduate, but alsowhether they get into the college of their choice.
The web site, turnitin.com was the undoing of almost two dozen Hamilton Southeastern HighSchool seniors. The educational software system is accepted amongacademics as a near fool proof way to catch a cheater.
During the second semester, district administrators began usingthe software, informed the the students, and made them sign a noplagiarism pledge. That's why everyone was shocked when AdvancedCollege Project students, college-bound seniors taking courses forcollege credit, were being investigated for cheating on the final.Paige Copeland is a graduating HSE senior and a friend of some ofthe plagiarizing pupils.
"For the entire last week [of school] even throughout all thelunches, we'd all be discussing all the things going on with theACP final possibly not being able to pass," said Copeland.
Failing the final could have serious consequences. In astatement, HSE superintendent Brian Smith wrote, "Several studentswere in danger of not graduating on time. We found a teacher whowas willing to step up and administer a complete but highlyaccelerated online version of a class that would replace the creditthat was lost due to cheating. Each student who wishes to graduateon time and participate in commencement now has the opportunity todo so."
But ACP classes are given in conjunction with IndianaUniversity. Teachers and students have confirmed to 24-hour news 8that the cheating may mean some students are not accepted toI-U.
"Some people might not even be able to get into I-U because it'sa dual credit and I-U has a zero tolerance policy so they might notbe 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 tobe consequences for it," said Copeland. But she says shesympathizes with her friends who were caught cheating. She claimsstudents have been cheating for years, but this is the first yearteachers have used the software system that gives them the abilityto easily catch cheaters. She believes this incident likely servesas a lesson for students for years to come.
1:30 P.M. UPDATE: Indiana State Police handled 20 slide-offs in the Bloomington district because of the winter weather, as of 12:30 p.m. Troopers also reported 14 car crashes and 16 cases of helping a motorist.
An Illinois man was killed late Thursday when the car he was driving was struck by a semi tractor on I-70 about three miles west of the Cambridge City exit.
Click to see photos from the First Prairie Creek Church Fire.