Vista del Lago High School is committed to providing a learning environment where intellectual curiosity, perseverance, responsibility and academic integrity define a school culture that celebrates academic and moral excellence.  As a result of this commitment, we refuse to view pressure for grades, busy schedules, poor time management or unrealistic parental expectations as justification for academic dishonesty. As life-long learners, we strive to instill an intrinsic respect in our students for grades earned honestly through hard work and good study habits; we believe that students should be motivated by their desire to “learn for the sake of learning.” Consequently, any form of academic dishonesty erodes what we are attempting to build here and violates the trust that bonds all members of the Vista community.

    Academic Dishonesty Defined:

    Academic dishonesty is using a person’s work, concepts, designs, data, ideas, research, or documentation, without giving proper credit to the source. It goes beyond plagiarism to also include lying, cheating, using or providing unauthorized materials in preparation for a test or assignment, or using or providing unauthorized materials during a test or quiz. It also includes the theft or falsification of records and files.

    Forms of Academic Dishonesty include, but are not limited to the following:

    • Any sharing, digital imaging, photocopying, or using unauthorized assistance while taking a test, quiz, or other individually graded assignment without the express permission from the teacher is considered cheating. This includes looking on another student’s paper, sharing answers, copying another student’s assignment/paper, allowing someone to copy your paper, or using unauthorized notes or an electronic device while testing.
    • Any falsification and/or invention of data, citation, or another authority in an academic exercise, such as laboratory data.
    • Copying work or collaborating on assignments that was assigned to be done independently. Unauthorized collaboration includes any intentional attempt to copy or share an assignment, a paper, and/or test information with another person or the act of giving information, materials, answers, or an unfair advantage to another person.
    • Any representation of another’s ideas, words, or work as one’s own. Plagiarism includes the misuse of published material, electronic material, and/or the work of other students. The original writer who shares his/her paper for another to copy, without the permission of the teacher, is engaged in plagiarism. Recycling or re-using papers, projects, and/or assignments without authorization in multiple classes is also considered plagiarism.
    • Any unauthorized alteration or theft of student, teacher, library, school data/information and/or electronic materials.
    • Collusion occurs when any student knowingly or intentionally helps another student perform an act of academic dishonesty. Collusion is an act of academic dishonesty and will be disciplined in the same manner as the act itself.

    Teacher’s Professional Judgment

    The classroom teacher is ultimately responsible for setting expectations, explaining the consequences, evaluating any evidence of student misconduct, and determining whether Vista’s Academic Dishonesty Policy has been violated. Students should avoid behavior or actions that suggest academic misconduct. Ignorance about what constitutes cheating is not a defense. If a student is uncertain if something is academically dishonest, he or she should consult the teacher.

    Consequences for Academic Dishonesty

    All Vista students must sign an Academic Honesty Contract which requires them to adhere to the rules of responsible scholarship, requiring all grades to be earned honestly through hard work and effective study habits.  Consequences for cheating are as follows:

    • Student will be monitored for academic misconduct for this, and all future years at Vista.
    • The incident will be recorded in the student’s discipline file. 
    • The student receives a lowered citizenship grade, which may impact the student’s ability to participate in student activities, sports and clubs.
    • Honors and AP students will be moved to the bottom of the wait list for future Honors and AP courses.
    • Students are ineligible for NHS and CSF.
    • Counselors and teachers may refuse to write senior letters of recommendation.
    • Many private colleges and universities require students to document any disciplinary action for academic dishonesty on their college application which may negatively impact their ability for admission.

    First Offense: 

    • Parent contacted by teacher.
    • Discipline conference with Administrator.
    • Incident documented in discipline record.
    • Student placed on academic contract.  
    • Suspension or Saturday School assigned.
    • Student must complete reading/writing assignment focused on the importance of honesty and integrity with regards to school and the workplace. 
    • Provided the student satisfactorily completes the above assignment, he/she may be allowed to redo the original or an equivalent assignment for partial credit, depending on the department policy. Any make-up work will be considered late and subject to the same penalties as any other late work. 

    Second/Continuing Offense:

    Consequences listed in the first offense, and one or more of the following:

    • The student will attend a hearing before the Academic Integrity Committee, a panel of teachers, counselors and administrators who will recommend appropriate disciplinary action.  
    • The student will be given an “F” for the six week grading period in which the incident occurred.
    • The student will be dropped from the class with a grade of “F.”
    • The student will be suspended from school.

    The Bottom Line:

    Vista teachers recognize and celebrate the dedication and hard work of our students. When students cheat, they deprive themselves of the opportunity to learn and become the best version of themselves. We are committed to doing whatever necessary to giving every Vista student the opportunity to become that person. Enforcing the Academic Dishonesty policy is just one way we support these efforts.


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