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Illustration by Tom Garrett; Debate photos courtesy of families

Should You Tell On a Cheater?

You’re halfway through a test when you look up—and spot a classmate cheating. No one else seems to have noticed. You consider telling your teacher. After all, cheating isn’t fair. But then you think twice. Maybe this is none of your business. And it won’t affect your grade.

Scenes like this one are common. A recent study showed that most U.S. high school students admitted to having cheated at least once. Should you tell your teacher if you see someone cheating?

Here’s what two of our readers think.

I saw a classmate cheating on a math test and told our teacher. It wouldn’t have been fair if that student had gotten a higher grade than someone who had studied hard.

But it wasn’t just about fairness. When students cheat, they’re learning less. Also, it’s better for kids to learn now not to cheat. If they cheat later in life, they could get kicked out of college or lose a job.

Cheating is wrong. But instead of telling on the kid, you could talk to them. What if it was a onetime mistake? Maybe they were sick and fell behind. They deserve a second chance. And if a classmate knows you saw them, they might not cheat the next time.

Besides, when a classmate cheats, it doesn’t usually affect your grade. Cheaters are only hurting themselves.

What do you think?
Should you tell on a cheater?
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