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Is cheating OK?

Illustration by Rachel Chung, L.A. Youth archives

There’s too much pressure

I believe that cheating is wrong, but sometimes school can be so stressful you’re tempted to look at your neighbor’s paper or bring a cheat sheet. In high school, your main focus is to get good grades, so you can get into a good college. When teachers hound you with homework and give you a test on top of that, you feel the need to cheat despite any possible consequences. Many of my classmates cheat, so when you see them cheat and get good grades, you want to as well.
Stacey Avnes, 14, Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies

Learning is what’s most important
Students should not cheat. It is the student’s responsibility to learn the material for college and life. People should know that cheating is wrong and feel some kind of guilt when they do it.
Crystal Huh, 16, Crescenta Valley HS
I resisted temptation
It makes me feel good when I have an opportunity to cheat then don’t. In eighth grade our math teacher was way too trusting. We were taking a test and everyone got up out of their seats when he left the room. It was a big cheat fest, but I didn’t. I’d like to have a report card and say, “this is my grade.”
Edison Mellor-Goldman, 17, Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies

Competition leads to cheating
I have never cheated and I think it’s wrong. Yet the pressure placed on this generation has forced teenagers to cheat. From the constant, “What did you get?” when grades are posted, to trying to maintain the 4.0 that elite colleges require as almost “standard,” students find themselves turning to cheating. Although I’m pretty mad when I see people cheat while I study, I think part of the blame should be put on all the pressures that kids deal with. If the dog-eat-dog viciousness in the classroom would cool down, kids would not cheat. Teenagers cheat so that they can reach an artificial sense of success. But people’s morals really do reflect karma: what goes around comes around. Just like in Disney movies, the good guy will win and the cheater will lose.
Stephany Yong, 15, Walnut  HS

Studying is easier
There’s no doubt that cheating is wrong. Also, it’s unfortunate that so many students feel the pressure to cheat. For me, cheating is just a waste of time because it takes more effort to cheat than to study. At my school there is a lot of cheating. I’ve cheated in the past, but because of moral reasons, I stopped. I figured that studying and taking the test would be easier than working to cheat. But I can definitely understand the pressure to cheat. I can see why students cheat, but I don’t agree with it.
Sharon Kim, 18, Beverly Hills HS

Students cheat because they’re overworked
If teens cheat more than ever it’s because they are stressed out more than ever. I don’t know if it’s right for teens to do it though. The teens who are dependent on copying papers and cheating on exams will never become used to doings things on their own. But telling students not to cheat is not a solution. Teens will continue to fold under the pressure because we have no power over how much work teachers impose on us. We can’t say, “Wait, hold on, that’s too much.”
Rene Franco, 17, Providence HS (Burbank)

I don’t know if it’s wrong or right
It’s so hard for me to say whether cheating is wrong or right. I think, well, cheating is OK if it’s the teacher’s fault. You know, if a teacher isn’t making the material understandable, you have to do something to keep your grades up. But it’s not OK when the motive is just “oh, I’m lazy,” “I’m tired,”  “I don’t feel like it,” or “I would rather sleep in class.” How can I say whether it’s wrong or right when it’s both? And how can I say it’s right when my conscience says otherwise?
Fiona Hansen, 16, Marlborough School

Do what you have to do to pass
I think that cheating is OK. As long as an individual knows that there are consequences, like getting caught or failing a class, everything should be peachy. Cheating is looked at as wrong and immoral, but I see that person as determined to pass.
Amani Alexander, 16, Pasadena HS

I’m too afraid of getting caught
Many of my classmates don’t think cheating is a moral issue. There is so much pressure to get into college that no one cares if it’s wrong. In fact, even though I think cheating is wrong, the fear of getting caught and ruining my GPA is a stronger motivator not to cheat than my integrity.
Lia Dun, 17, Marshall HS

Failing is better than cheating
When people cheat it’s admitting “I can’t do it, so I’m going to take the easy way out.” When I see people cheat, what it tells me is they don’t believe in themselves that they can do it. I don’t see what’s wrong with failing as long as you tried.
Aaron Sayago, 18, Fairfax HS

To read more about cheating go to …

An honest grade.
Cheating is tempting when you see everyone else doing it, but Fred, 17, has chosen not to. (May – June 2007)

I got caught.
Feeling unprepared for a quiz, Christina, 17, peeked at her neighbor’s paper. (May – June 2007)