Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Bad Parenting and Cheating:

Correlation or Causation? A really, really, crummy situation. Which, of course, the parents are working hard to make worse.

Shi Huang admits to getting a friend to break a password to allow him access to some AP Biology test questions. This proved to be a tremendous help – if you know the questions in advance, it’s easy to get a good grade by looking up the answers and doing some memory work. It’s also nice to have advantages that the rest of the class didn’t get.

That’s why it’s called “cheating”. Huang essentially admits to the facts of being a cheater (well, after he got caught):

“’I admit that it was the wrong decision but we feel the school has blown this way out of proportion,’ said Shi Huang, who goes by the nickname Carl. `My only intention was to study for the test and get a better grade on the test. They viewed it as somehow I got into their (computer) system and they see me as a big threat... All I wanted to do was study for the test.’”.

As a result, Huang got an F, was suspended for 5 days, and faces criminal charges for hacking into the school’s computers. I agree that the criminal charges might be a bit over overkill, but the rest should be considered run of the mill penalties for a cheater.

After all, as far as we know, it’s a first offense, even if it does tend to call the rest of his transcript into question. So, like many high school kids, Huang made a bad decision, got caught, and will now pay the price associated with cheating, and learn a sharp lesson, and get on with life, right?

Nope. Enter Bad Parents:

“’We don't think what Carl did was cheating,' Nianyuan Huang said. `It's totally different from the cheating we think. He did study hard.’”

Uh-huh. And the All-American response: Blame the teacher, and file a lawsuit:

“The lawsuit, filed last month in Portage County Common Pleas Court, names as defendants: the superintendent, the Kent Board of Education, Assistant Superintendent Joseph Giancola, Principal Roger Sidoti, Assistant Principal Arden Sommers and teacher James Zagray.

In addition to monetary damages, the suit seeks to remove the record of Huang's suspension, eliminate the failing grade from his official transcript, restore his class rank (third at the time), resend midyear transcripts to colleges and drop a charge of
complicity for unauthorized use of property, which is pending in juvenile court.”

Not content with attempting to beat the rap on the criminal charges (understandable), they are attempting to clean up the mess, cash in with monetary damages, and reward their son for cheating by getting his ill-gotten grade restored.

Important lessons that parents teach their children: Cheating is OK. If you get caught, blame someone else. Sue to get records of your wrongdoing expunged. Being honest is for suckers.

Nice going, folks.

Note to the parents: Since more top colleges are tending to Google applicants, it may well be too late to save admission at an elite school.