One of the things I tell my kids often is that there are always consequences for the choices you make. Some of them are good (usually called rewards) and some of them are bad (punishments).
Choices have consequences and those consequences will always involve more than just the person that made the choice.
You are assigned homework and you complete it to the best of your ability, hand it in on time and as instructed. You get a grade, a check-mark for completion and if you keep doing that at the end of your 13 years of primary and secondary education, you eventually get a diploma. You also lose sleep, spend money on printer ink and paper, missed out on the best party ever and maybe even irritated your siblings and/or parents.
This choice involved your parents, your teacher, your classmates, friends and siblings and even the school district; if you don’t graduate you end up having to make some more difficult decisions that again effect and involve more than just you.
You made a choice to do what was asked of you and you received notice for that choice. You have a diploma, a GPA, your parents are proud of you and you can choose to go to college, get a job, or play video games for the rest of your life.
Let’s say you decided to have someone else do the homework for you but you turn it in under your name and still receive all that great stuff. No one knows that you cheated, right? No consequences there; you still have that diploma, your choice of colleges and a beautiful life. Except at some point SOMEONE will find out that you cheated. No big deal, it was just a stupid homework assignment in High School, right? The big deal is that EVERYTHING after the point where you made the decision to lie about who did the assignment is a lie. A false representation of you and your abilities. And everything you accomplish after that lie is also a lie. Even if you’ve never ever done it again.
Bellevue High School (Bellevue, Washington) has been accused of cheating on a number of levels; from bringing students from outside their District boundaries, to over-paying stipends to coaching staff. Parents, players, staff, coaches and booster clubs are all affected by the investigation, WIAA Report and ultimately the penalty assessed.
The players and parents have complained that it’s not fair for the team to be punished for the actions and decisions of the coach. The Coach claims the District knew; the Booster club claims that ‘everyone else is doing it, too’. I’m going to cover each of these briefly.
- It’s not fair for the team/players to be punished for the actions of the coach.
Win as a team, lose as a team. Rob a bank, drive the get-away car, assist in any way and you are considered (by law) as guilty as the person who actually robbed the bank. In this case, MAYBE the players didn’t know the rules were being broken; but most certainly the parents and the coach knew. Sorry kids, sometimes you have to pay for the poor choices adults make.
2. Everyone knew what I was doing so it wasn’t wrong/they should be punished as well.
What did your mother used to say? ‘If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you, too?’ The lemming defense only works when you want to indict your co-conspirators as well as yourself. And unless the coach is planning on turning informant, I think he’s out of luck with this defense. In any case, he made the choices to do what he KNEW was wrong. It doesn’t matter if the District or Booster club or athletic league knew or approved. HE KNEW. And he took the ship down with him.
3. Everyone else is doing the same thing, so that makes it okay.
See point #2.
I’m sorry for the kids who play football in Bellevue. The adults in their lives made some really bad choices (and kept making them for a long time). However, at some point, I’d bet that at least one of the players, parents, coaches, staff or booster members thought that something wasn’t quite right. Every one of them are at fault in this mess as they sat by and watched the W’s and the trophies stack up. Winning isn’t wrong, but cheating tarnishes every effort made in honesty by any person or persons. It cheapens the purpose of competition, which isn’t just about winning and awards; it’s about teamwork and family and work ethic and integrity.
Choices have consequences; consequences have repercussions. Repercussions have a very broad range for a long time for a great number of people.