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Assignment due 8am, sent to friend to be color copied at 10:15pm. Plagiarism?

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I received a note from my junior son's science teacher, stating that because he sent a lab report to be color copied to a friend, since we do not have a color copier, that is considered plagiarism.

The lab was basically determining what made some things glow vs. sparkle.  The teacher allowed a few students to take photos, and the students then begged friends on-line for copies of said photos to be delivered so they could be added to the lab report.

DS spent a fair bit of time answering questions, some on a FaceBook page, helping others who were struggling. 

The assignment was due 12 noon Friday. Since DS has zero study halls, he had to have it printed by school start at 8am. 

He asked, via FaceBook, if anyone could print it out for him.  He sent it at 10:15pm the night before. 

A student on the page asked him why he did not just draw the petri dish lab results, and DS responded, "I am a perfectionist and do not have time nor drawing skills!"

DS does not believe the girl changed her report after receiving his, but she did receive a grade of zero.  DS got a 50%, since his teachers know he meant no wrong-doing, plus he has a 99% in the class. 

(Except in her e-mail, the teacher reported he had a 90, and now an 89, since his grade was docked 5%)  So I need to confirm his progress report, just given out last week.

Here is the policy that took a bit of work and digging to find:

Scientific Integrity: Plagiarism is the act of incorporating anotherís ideals or expression in your written work without proper reference, thus misrepresenting someone elseís work as your own.  Carefully document the sources for your work.  Plagiarism represents a lack of scientific integrity, and will not be tolerated. Sharing electronic files containing work that will be submitted for a grade is considered plagiarism and students involved will be treated under the plagiarism rules. 

Also, in the lit department, the students have been told several times, "a broken printer is not an excuse.  have a friend print it out."

Yes, in lit they are to do electronic AND hard-copy submissions. 

I asked DS if he could have sent a file to the teacher, instead.  "No, she only will take hard copies."

We realized that what he should have done was to have a friend print out ONLY the two pages of photos, and he could attach them to his lab report after meeting her before school. 

Or, yes, he could have sent it to a copy store, but that would take travel time and money, and he knows our house shuts down at 10pm.

So, I guess we should be happy that he was only docked 5% off his overall grade. 

And I told him that in college, he would not have such good character witnesses in his teachers.

So, lesson learned.

Any advice from here on out?

Should we talk to the teacher, and explain that with kids sending required photos electronically, and with lit teachers saying hard copies can be sent to friends for delivery if a bad printer, that logically this seemed ok?

Plus, we need to confirm his actual grade. 


It sounds like the science department's rules state a no-tolerance policy for sharing files. It doesn't matter that they didn't actually use each other's information; they broke the rule and the policy says this will be treated under plagiarism rules. It seems unfair to me that the girl was docked so much more severely than your son, as they both broke the rule.

The literature department may well have a different policy, which would have applied if they'd been in lit class.

Well the policy is pretty clear, and he violated it.  And were the photos "required" or could he have drawn the diagrams and simply chose not to?  Also is there are reason it was so last minute (10:15 the night before/your home "shuts down at 10")?

Wait, is he being docked because there was photo sharing (then all the students using them would be docked) or because he asked someone to print something?
If it's the later I find it soooo wrong, no way to go above and contest? - because yeah, he broke the rule, a stupid one that should be rewritten.
I would be raising hell if I was the girls parents.
For me that's the equivalent of being accused of plagiarism if my friend ask me to staple his report because I'm the one who has the stapler.
You don't even have to open a doc to print it.

How did the teacher find out anyway, is she snooping on the kids facebook pages?


--- Quote from: WillyNilly on February 13, 2013, 07:06:40 PM ---And were the photos "required" or could he have drawn the diagrams and simply chose not to? 

--- End quote ---

This is another really good question. Would the assignment have been accepted with drawings, or with B&W copies of the photos? Color photos seem a cosmetic touch and not worth the risk he took.

I drew all sorts of things in school and have never had any drawing talent. I'm sure none of my geometry diagrams will end up on the walls of the Louvre.


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