I love it when you guys send a little something my way. The following was sent to my by a Dallas friend and MOAT.

This article is in response to a an issue which occurred in late April. Apparently in Redwood City, Ca, a 10th grader was caught cheating and subsequently kicked out of the Honors class in which he cheated. According to CBS San Fransisco, “when he started classes at Sequoia High School in Redwood City, the boy signed an Academy Honesty Pledge warning him that cheating is grounds for immediate removal from the advanced-level English class.

Jack Berghouse (the boy’s father) and his wife filed a lawsuit … against the school district claiming their son’s due process rights were violated.The suit said the school’s policies regarding punishment for cheating are vague and contradictory and shouldn’t be enforced.”

Here’s a brief portion of Scott Herhold’s (Mercury News) response. Click on the link to read the whole story:

Herhold: Memo to Sequoia High Dad: Let kids face consequences

When Sequoia High School in Redwood City kicked the kid out of an English honors class because he had copied another student’s homework, Berghouse sued the school district in San Mateo County Superior Court to get him readmitted.

Let’s grant that Berghouse is acting out of love, standing up for his kid. Maybe a few of us can see ourselves in his situation. He feels that his son has to pay a disproportionate price for a stupid mistake.

And as a loving father and family law attorney, he chose the route of defense he knows best, a lawsuit. Berghouse probably can make a case that the district’s policy against cheating isn’t perfect. Few schools have unassailable rules.

But let’s deal with what’s most important here — what Berghouse is teaching his son. The lesson his lawsuit imparts is you can find a way around a system and a penalty. You can sign an honesty pledge, but you don’t really have to pay the price for violating it.

And no, I don’t count as a real option other penalties the family offered, like having the kid stay around after school as a teacher’s assistant. That’s the justice of a polished apple.

If you doubt that Berghouse is giving his kid precisely the wrong message, consider the son’s actions after the bust. He went on Facebook to protest the “tyranny” of the school.

Run that past your common-sense meter. The kid copies someone else’s homework and turns it in as his own. He’s signed a pledge of honesty. His mother signed it. And now that he’s caught, it’s tyranny?

What Berghouse missed — and I pity him because the man is getting beat up with phone calls to his law office — is that this was a moment to let his kid learn a powerful lesson in life: Actions have consequences. Seedy actions have unwelcome consequences.

Sure, his son would have had to go through the rest of the year in regular English. But it’s hard to think that would have spoiled his life forever.

After reading it, I forced myself to move beyond being appalled and a bit, “You’ve GOT to be kidding me!!” to ask myself the question I probably don’t want to answer. When am I, though maybe not as blatant, racing in and saving my kid from lesson-infused consequences? Hmmm… worth pondering.

Often consequences are a good thing. The price for withholding them, though seemingly more comfortable in the short run, can be far more staggering in the long. Here’s to letting the chips fall where they may.

Thanks Shirley for sharing! And thanks for walking the road with me.


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