Bentonville School Board Approves Academic Integrity Policy In A Bid To Curb Cheating!


The Bentonville School Board on Monday, June 20 gave the go-ahead to a revived policy on academic integrity, ignoring apprehension of a few members who doubted the success of this approach.

According to the revamped policy, a student caught plagiarizing or cheating could face two consequences. Students found at fault will be placed on academic probation, while high school level students, on the other hand could also have their honor statuses nullified. In addition, the said student must establish mastery over the subject in question on a different assignment, Northewest Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported.

But that's not all. As specified in the preceding policy, parents or guardians of the student will be informed and the student will be directly placed on step four on the discipline plan, which could result in either a four days detention, a day of in-school suspension or a Saturday suspension.

The policy further entails a new technique which implies subsequent violations will engender all first-offense consequences, in addition to advancement on the step discipline plan. In addition, the student's parents will be called for a meeting.

The aforementioned policy changes have been tossed around by the board members on several occasions over the past few years since administrators confirmed numerous reports of students cheating, particularly at the high school.

The board finally approved the new policy designed by administrators on Monday in the midst of continuing that debate, voting 4-2, ArkansasOnline reported.

One of the board members, Brent Leas noted that they gave administrators enough input and in return they gave back exactly what the board wanted.

Leas, along with Willie Cowgur, Travis Riggs and Rebecca Powers voted for the change.

Joe Quinn and Grant Lightle, on the other hand voted against the change as they believed the language should be tougher in order to make sure a student suffers academic ramifications for cheating.

Lightle explained his point saying that students must feel the pressure of being caught and punished severely - if this fear is not injected in students, they might simply get away with doing several offenses and "still get honors."

Although Quinn accepted that the new policy is indeed an improvement on the earlier one, he felt the board is actually diluting the consequences.

Administrators debated that according to law, the students are required to have a grading school that's built on academic performance only.

Executive director of student services, Tanya Sharp further establishes the idea noting that they do not want the grade and discipline to be mixed; and this has been noted since the beginning of the debate on academic integrity.

Lightle believed it was obvious that if a student is caught cheating, he/she would get a zero.

Moreover, this is about giving students a second chance, Lightle added.

During a board meeting earlier this month, Judy Marquess, who serves as director of instruction for grades seven through 12 confirmed that the high school has an issue with academic integrity.

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