This Cheating Scandal Teaches an Unexpected Lesson

Cal Thomas | Syndicated columnist | Friday, October 19, 2001

This Cheating Scandal Teaches an Unexpected Lesson

Remember when cheating in school got you disciplined by the teacher and your parents? This story gets it half right.

A high school junior in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., was caught with 150 key facts on a tiny piece of paper inside his baseball cap while taking a final exam in history last June. The teacher flunked him on the test, flunked him for the course and the boy was suspended as president of the student government. So far, so good.

But the school superintendent overruled the principal, restored the student's passing grade and student government presidency, apparently succumbing to pressure from the boy's father, who happens to be employed by the New York Times in its Washington bureau. The Timesman, Carl Lavin, also wanted the student newspaper which reported the story to be confiscated and some TV footage about the cheating deleted. Whatever happened to the First Amendment?

This kid sure learned an important lesson, didn't he?