Sunday, July 01, 2007
Convicted Without A Trial
Two of my kids were accused of cheating on the math regents. Did they really cheat? I'm not sure. I wasn't in the room. I know some of the boys answers were probably copied off of the girl behind him. His long answers were the same wrong answers as she had, only he had no work to support his results. His short answers were different than hers. Both kids had their papers disqualified. The girl (a 90 student) had her grade lowered by 5 points) and the boy (a 65 student) failed.
I have some problems with all of this. The kids parents were never called. The kids were never allowed to come in, face charges and try to defend themselves. Even if they were guilty, they were entitled to a hearing. When the girl came into the ofice to talk to my a
AP, the teacher who saw her yelled out "that is the girl that cheated." The poor kid felt branded. She never got to open her mouth. She went to the dean. The dean wouldn't let her write a statement and told her not to worry. I wrote a letter to Principal Suit about both students. I didn't say that they cheated or didn't cheat, since I was not present during the regents. I just told him about the kids, about the girl's hard work that took her from a double period class to almost honor Math B class and how the boy who is probably going into special education spent every lunch period with me in the library, getting tutored. I think this poor kid freaked out when he saw questions on the Part III and Part IV that were so different from anything he had ever done.
It is not my job to decide penalties for these kids. Principal Suit made the decision, never asking me anything about either one of them or even acknowledging the letter I wrote. My own AP screamed at me for not coming down on the kids. I told him, I didn't see anything and did not feel comfortable accusing them on another persons word.
School teacher just wrote a piece on discrimination and racism in the schools. She is so on target with what she has written. These kids are from immigrant families, practicing a religion that is not in favor with most of the country. I wonder, would their treatment have been better if they had been while, middle class kids? I think the answer must be yes. I would never allow any school to treat my child this way and I don't know too many American parents that would. Immigrant parents don't always know their right and because of this are not given fair treatment. That is what has happened in this case.