Cooper James, Staff Writer

Recently, someone in my sociology class did a survey about cheating for a project, and the results made me ponder. I thought about cheating and how it seems like just another thing that goes on in high school, but there were kids in the class who thought that it wasn’t a problem at FHC. I wondered at first if maybe they were right, but I just couldn’t make myself believe it. Yet, however much you believe it occurs, I think there’s no arguing that cheating does happen at some level, and I think the reason it happens is a much larger scale problem than just the individual person.

Do I think cheating is a result of laziness and lack of preparation? Of course that’s a factor. Do I think that people choose not to do their homework because they know someone will have it for them to copy? Yes, I think that happens. But do I also think that cheating has something to do with the expectations that kids have on them to perform in the classroom? Definitely.

People don’t cheat to learn. That’s obvious. If they wanted to learn, they would’ve tried to understand the material in the first place. People cheat for the single letter they get assigned that represents their entire knowledge on a subject. They try to improve that single letter because they know that’s what counts. It doesn’t really matter if they know what they’re talking about, they just need to look like they know. Cheating isn’t a case of laziness all the time, sometimes it’s even the opposite. We’ve been taught that studying will earn you better grades, so when people study and still don’t know the answers, they feel cheated. Cheated by the system that is high school. They feel driven to cheat because they’ve put in the work and feel entitled to the better grade. However, for right or for wrong, even though the system rewards hard work and studying, it pays even more dividends to cheat because the outcome is the same as knowing the material in the first place.

Another big factor that causes cheating is that kids don’t feel the need to know what is being taught. They don’t feel that what they’re writing in their notebooks will ever come up in their life again beyond a single test. So why not cheat? Why not get the answer right once and forget it because it will never be needed again? It may not be the case for everyone, but for those who don’t see a point in knowing what they’re being taught, cheating is just a way to get a through a pointless class. It’s not worth the effort to try to understand something that’s a difficult concept because it will all be irrelevant in the future. Complete obsolete and utterly useless. So kids think cheating is just a way to get through an annoying class.

They also feel the pressure of grades because that single letter they earn is more valuable than what is being taught. It seems ridiculous to me that this is the case though. And there may be people who disagree and think that the teachers and parents are more focused on the knowledge being gained, but I don’t think that’s what’s coming across. What comes across is the expectation to always get the best grade and that’s it. No parent ever questions their kid on if they’re learning enough, but I’m sure plenty of conversations take place about why a certain grade was earned. We have been brought up as students that a single letter or number like GPA represents us and nothing else. Not our drive or passion for a subject, not our work ethic, but our ability to attain a grade. So if cheating is the way to a good grade, whether morally right or wrong, I can at least empathize with the people who feel the need to do it, whatever the reason.

So what’s the solution to all this? What does all this hodgepodge of thoughts add up to? Well, I think the takeaway from this is that there are more reasons to cheating than people might initially think. It might not be completely the individual’s fault, but there still needs to be some responsibility. Even if a subject seems useless now, it may not be in the future and there’s always a chance you’ll need it. So do the work now, don’t be the lazy kid who copies the homework, and actually study to attain knowledge. Because even though that grade may seem enticing now, the real value of classrooms is what you remember when you’re no longer in it.