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Plagiarism: A Pestilence In Education Essay

1830 words - 7 pages

Plagiarism: The Pestilence in Education

When I think of plagiarism, I imagine a person literally stealing from another individual. The term plagiarism is derived from the Latin word plagi rius, which essentially represents the felony of kidnapping. An individual who kidnaps anothers work is a felon. Obviously, this form of larceny is not as immoral as the form for which one can be imprisoned; however, most educators and honest students view plagiarism in this manner. Within education I conceive that there are two kinds of plagiarism: copying a paper word-for-word and not providing the correct recognition to the original author when utilizing their composition. I believe that each situation of plagiarism should be considered serious enough to investigate in order to determine an appropriate consequence. If an individual is not clear on how to cite works properly within the context of an essay, then the omission should be determined non-intentional and, therefore, not subject to punishment. However, if someone deliberately duplicates somebody elses work, then he or she should be reprimanded. This form of pilfering usually occurs in the higher levels of education, as in high school or college.

Steiner 2 When I attended Calabasas High School, I was caught cheating in my tenth grade European History class by my instructor, Mr. White. This offense consisted of giving a fellow student, who sat in front of me, my homework. My friend told me he intended to compare his homework to mine. Not only did my peer betray me and copy my work, but I was punished for being so gullible. This homework assignment was worth two points out of a class that was worth close to three hundred total points. I was awarded a threatening letter sent home to my parents and a failing grade for that assignment. This teacher wanted to make an example out of this form of plagiarism and, therefore, did not allow me to plead my case. Of course, I did not have the right to explain, because I was deemed a cheater, one who could not be trusted, for the rest of the semester. In addition to being demoralized that day, my instructor continued to scrutinize my work and me very closely for the remainder of the term, and I felt humiliated from that day forward. Although I have since learned never to allow anyone to peruse anything that I have written, the failure to allow me to defend myself and give me the benefit of the doubt was cruel and unusual punishment given that this was my first offense, and might not even be deemed an offense if a poll had been taken. Whenever we had a test or quiz, the instructor requested that I sit in the front, near his desk. Projects and papers were also graded harshly. All of this happened because I was unfairly accused of assisting an act of plagiarism.

Steiner 3 Another example of plagiarism occurred in my English class in high school. I was obligated to submit all computer-typed work to turn-it-in-dot-com. This concept of surrendering my hard...

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