The Liberty school superintendent wants everybody to be on the same page when it comes to the policy.
By TIM YOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
LIBERTY -- Liberty pupils return to their classrooms Aug. 26 facing stiff penalties if they plagiarize.
Superintendent Larry Prince said under the new "academic honesty" policy adopted by the school board, pupils who steal the work or thoughts of others can receive a failing grade for the assignment.
Prince explained that although plagiarism isn't a problem in the district, the case of a Midwest teacher who resigned over the issue brought it into focus locally.
The teacher disciplined her pupils who had pulled information from the Internet for a research project without giving credit to the creator.
When the school board questioned her punishment as being too harsh and did not support her, the teacher resigned.
The teacher felt so strongly about the issue that she quit her job, the superintendent said, which prompted the development of a policy for Liberty Schools.
"Let's get everybody on the same page," Prince said of the need for an academic honesty policy.
A group effort
As a result, faculty, pupils, parents and board members collaborated to formulate the policy after reviewing other districts' policies.
"They [the board] felt it was the right way to go," Prince said of the combined effort. "It's not a plagiarism policy, but academic honesty."
Academic dishonesty includes plagiarizing information in any form, submitting a paper written by another person, submitting a paper completed for a previous course without approval of each instructor, or failing to submit all sources when requested by the instructor.
Other areas of misconduct are acquiring unauthorized material for and/or during a quiz, test, exam or assignment and forging or improperly altering any school documents.
Opportunity to redo work
Besides a warning and a failing grade as a penalty, teachers can give the pupil an opportunity to redo the work.
Prince said the use of technology such as the Internet has made it easier for pupils to find sources of information.
However, the use of technology doesn't mean a pupil isn't responsible for documenting the source of the material.
In discussing the formation of the policy, Prince pointed out that teachers felt pupils are under pressure to succeed.
That pressure to get the best grade possible may come internally from the pupil of externally, such as from parents, the superintendent explained.