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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

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Laziness, stress encourage plagiarism

The weight of extra-curricular activities piled on top of the usual academic requirements can lead to unrelenting anxiety for some students.

This stress, coupled with a lack of time for homework, can lead to one of the most rampant problems facing schools today: plagiarism.

“Plagiarism, and cheating in general, is a huge issue for high school students,” Molly Sargent, English teacher, said. “Things are easily available online; it’s a constant temptation for students to cheat.”

According to a survey published in Education Week, 54% of students admit to plagiarizing from the Internet; 74% would describe themselves as engaging in “serious” cheating within the past year.

Stress and laziness are common motivators for plagiarism. Essays take lots of work and thought, and some students simply do not want to put in the required effort.

“I would consider cheating if I thought the assignment was really dumb,” Cale Livingston, ’04, said. “If I don’t think it’s worth my time, I’m not going to put in the effort.”

Some students simply do not understand the legal implications of plagiarism.

“I don’t see why plagiarism is illegal,” an anonymous student said. “It seems to me that if something is online for anyone to read, there’s no reason to have to attribute the ideas we discover. The internet is free domain.”

For others, however, the consequences of plagiarism far outweigh any immediate benefits.

“I would never plagiarize a paper,” Melissa Jimenez, ’05, said. “You may get a good grade on the paper, but if you get caught, the consequences are huge, and completely not worth it.”

However, the consequences of cheating reach far beyond the temporary discomfort of bad grades.

“I believe that cheating and plagiarism are moral issues,” Sargent said. “The more people cheat and the more they lie about schoolwork, the more comfortable they become with being dishonest in their personal lives.”

Campus teachers are implementing programs to combat the prevalence of plagiarism in the high school world.

“Our school is installing prevention software used by colleges across the nation,” Sargent said. “This way we can easily target downloaded papers, simply by typing in a phrase or sentence from the assignment in question. Teachers are always on the lookout for cheaters, but we are loath to accuse a student without being fairly sure our suspicions are true.”

While teachers keep close tabs on their students’ academic honesty, their motivation for intervention reaches beyond playing the role of watchdog.

“One of the primary jobs of a teacher is to hold students accountable to a high moral standard,” Sargent said. “In order to do this, we must crack down on students who feel comfortable with cheating.”

For more information, and tips on combating plagiarism, visit www.plagiarism.org.

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