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Cheating, Lying Student! (long!)


Senior Member
I had to vent about this today. One of my students, who has lied to my face on at least 2 previous occasions, has had difficulty with division by a 2-digit divisor (I teach 4th grade). His mom told me that they have a math tutor to help him because he doesn't understand the concepts. Fine.

Today the class did a worksheet of twelve problems, all with answers that had no remainders. There wasn't a lot of room to work out the problems, so I told them to work them out on scratch paper and attach it to their worksheet. He was the 2nd student done, and put his paper in my basket. I took out his paper, and noticed there was no scratch paper attached. When I asked him, he said, "I worked out all the answers in my head." Uh, I can't even do that! And he with the tutor and difficulty with the concept can do it in his head? Don't think so! When I pressed further, he said, "My tutor showed me a trick to do it in my head." Hmmm. He sat down, his neighbor came up to me and complained that ____ was looking at her paper. Aha!

Because this was not the first incident of lying to me, I typed up a long letter to mom, basically telling her we are trying to teach the kids good character and integrity, and he's going down the wrong road. I explained what happened today, and asked her to speak with him. I told her if I couldn't trust him anymore, he'd have to be separated from the group and show me all his work before it goes in the basket. I folded it, put it in a sealed envelope, with mom's name on the front. I also wrote "personal and confidential".

Student _____ not only rips open the envelope and obviously reads the letter, but leaves it opened in his now-empty cubby. I was able to find him after school and yelled at him. I told him he needed to take it home to Mom. :mad:

Principal will call him into her office tomorrow morning, and I am going to have him redo the same worksheet, but use scratch paper. Let's see if he gets the same answers as yesterday. But what else can/should I do? I also know Mom will of course deny it. Any ideas would be appreciated.



Yes - lying makes my blood boil. I would separate the child tomorrow and keep him separated until he proves he can do his own work. He may still deny that he lied and you really can't do anything about that, but the little girl told you he cheated. If you have never had any reason to doubt her, ask the boy why she would lie to you when she hasn't in the past. It's a good lesson in the importance of keeping one's reputation in tact. Point out to him that he has lied to you in the past and you have more reason to believe her than you do him. He also proved himself untrustworthy by ripping open the note and leaving it at school. Let him know you are disappointed and he will have earn back your trust. Just present the facts and if he whines and complains, tell him you are going to count to five. Let him know he will have extra homework if he keeps it up. End of story.

If mom denies it, all you can do is present the facts and tell her you know what you saw. Also let her know that a trustworthy student told you about the cheating. Is she going to accuse that child of lying? Let her know that until her little darling shows his work and puts more effort into his math, he will be seated by himself. You have to do what is in the best interest of all of your students. Remember, you have the final say as to what goes on in your classroom. She doesn't.

If she happens to be supportive, make sure you let her know how much you appreciate it and that you are glad you're working together to help her son improve.


You know, I think

this kid should be DOUBLE-BUSTED, because he was dishonest AGAIN when he opened the envelope. I had a kid do that to me (I teach sixth) and it took him at least two weeks and a shoehorn to get my foot out of his butt. I wrote a referral, and he got three days in the SSC (euphemistically, the Student "Support" Center). It not only was dishonest for him to open the envelope, it was insubordinate, not to mention disrespectful.

Let this dishonest little cheat really have it. He needs to learn this now. We are going to cream him in middle school, and I don't even want to THINK about what they'd do at the high school. I'm in a grad class with a few high school teachers, and those guys can get mean!


Senior Member
Thanks for the replies...

I feel better now. I do agree with the above posters that change needs to start TOMORROW. He will be sitting by himself in the back of the room. Ripping open and reading the envelope, and leaving it at school, really was the straw that broke the camel's back. He'd better watch out!

Barefoot Gal

I agree and more

Well, let me say this, if that were a student in my class who did all of that lying ,cheating and dishonesty in 1 day, lets just say that this child would have had a REALLY SORE behind when he got home. You are doing the right thing "SO-CAL TEACH". He needs to learn about values, honesty and intergity BEFORE her progresses to the next grade level. And seeing how this child likes to cheat, ANY AND ALL work he has done to this point should be questioned.



Senior Member

Well, I expected Mom to come see me this morning, and she did. First thing out of her mouth? "Was there math homework on Monday? I thought you said it was Wednesday and Thursday". To which I replied, "Uh, did you get the note?" She told me she saw it this morning. I told her I think that takes precedence over a problem over math homework. She told me to do what I want with him (I already had a desk set up for him in the back of the room, away from everyone else). After speaking with him once more, she comes up to me and has the NERVE to say, "I told him to prove Miss ____ (me)wrong, and show the class he can do it." Prove me wrong? What's to prove? She totally made it out to be my fault.

Funny thing - when he had to redo the paper, guess who came to me saying he needed help? Yep, he, who just yesterday was so adamant that he did all 12 problems in his head! I told him it must be done tonight. If not, I already have it set up for him to work in the 1st grade classroom, facing the wall. He will miss the movie we are watching as well. UGH!