It’s only wrong if you get caught. That was always a feeble rationalization for doing something illegal. Now, with some parents in the Los Angeles area, it’s gotten even worse. For them, it’s not even wrong if you get caught.
Recently, several students at a middle school were suspended for a day, along with other less serious punishments, for cheating on a homework assignment. The teachers caught on when they noticed that several of the students’ answers were exactly the same. After confronting them, the school administration gave out the suspensions, then took it one step further by posting a message on the school signboard that cheating was unacceptable.
One would think that the parents of these cheating kids would back the punishment, maybe even extend it at their homes by grounding them or something like that. Yet when interviewed by the L.A. Times (which was reporting on the parents’ protests of excessive punishment), several of these parents (anonymously) came to the defense of their kids and said it wasn’t that big of a deal and that everyone cheats, “my kid just happen to get caught.” They said the school overreacted because it was only a homework assignment, not an exam.
The reason these kids cheated is obvious, because they watch their parents do the same thing. For example, I stopped counting the times I’ve seen adults race through red lights. It’s not because they want to save a couple minutes (which is the rationale they use), it’s because they’re confident they won’t get caught.
I hope some of these kids learned a lesson at a point in their lives when the repercussions are less severe than they will be later in life. They’re certainly not learning at home.