By Teddy Siker
Committing plagiarism at OES is no joke. Whether it be accidental, intentional, or just a full on misunderstanding, punishments will surely follow.
Gabriel Edge, a math teacher here at OES, assigns a specific project every year called “The Stock Project”, where students must write a multiple-page essay analyzing stock statistics. Recently in Edge’s Honors Algebra II class, a large plagiarism incident rose to the spotlight.
According to Asa B. ‘20, “Two thirds of our class plagiarized, where one third had to speak with Dana Lewis and received interims.” Interims are a note sent home to parents when a student performs poorly on a test (specifically below a C grade) or plagiarizes. Asa continued, “People who had to speak to Dana lost their “freebee” visit. The next time they offend a school rule, consequences could potentially reach suspension.” I asked Asa how this affected the final grades of the project, to which he replied, “People who plagiarized severely, such as copying/pasting directly, had their grades halved.” Dana had to visit the classroom to read from the handbook and review OES policies.
I made sure to interview Gabriel Edge about the plagiarism incident. I first asked him about the rarity of a problem such as this, “Never has this happened in such a problematic, intense way for thirteen years.” Edge continued, “I trust my students. I don’t believe they tried to trick me when they handed in their projects. This was fueled by stress, anxiety, and a mismanagement of their time.” When I questioned Edge on how he could tell who had plagiarized, he replied, “It was obvious. Some students used words and phrases that I wouldn’t even expect a tenth or eleventh grader to know.”
I think this situation should be viewed positively. Even though the event wasn’t positive itself, there can be a lot to take from it. Students of that class have certainly learned their lesson on plagiarism. It was thoughtful of Edge and Dana to turn this into a learning situation instead of a painful suspension.