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Judge Rules Cheating Student Cannot Return to Honors Class

A judge has ruled that a student who admits to cheating in his honors English class must accept the school’s decision to remove him from the class. A legal action filed on behalf of the student had sought to allow the student to return to the class pending the outcome of a court case challenging the school’s decision.

Cheating%20on%20test.jpgJudge George Miram of the San Mateo County Superior Court issued the ruling on the grounds that the student’s attorney did not give him enough reason to believe the student will win his case when it gets to court.

In his decision, Miram pointed out that the fact that there is no dispute that the Sequoia High School sophomore cheated by copying another student’s work. He also stated that the argument presented by the plaintiff fails to acknowledge the seriousness of the boy’s actions.

The suit, which was initiated by the student’s father, Jack Bergman, names Sequoia Union High School District, as well as the district superintendent and the student’s principal as defendants. In court documents, the plaintiff alleges that the defendants violated the student’s right to due process.

Bergman admits that his son cheated. His case argues, however, that the school’s cheating policy is unclear and, as a result, is unenforceable. As evidence, he points to conflicting statements about the consequences of cheating that were included as part of an anti-cheating pledge his son signed when he was admitted to the class.

Furthermore, the case claims that the punishment does not fit the crime, since being forced to attend the school’s regular English class will have a negative impact on the boy’s future. It argues that the regular class will leave the student unprepared for future honors classes in English.

Miram disagreed with the argument, stating that Bergman and his attorney had failed to demonstrate that putting the student in a regular classroom prevents him from learning.

If you are a California school administrator with a question about student/teacher safety, special education, accommodations, student rights, free speech or discipline, or school employment law, feel free to call attorney Richard Oppenheim at 818-461-8500. There is never a charge for an initial consultation and we can help you choose the best direction to resolve any school district issue.