Case Study: A Matter Of Honor

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In the case study A Matter of Honor, Sheila Allison is an African American Newton High School senior who is popular and athletic. In addition, she is a good student and received a congressional appointment to a national military academy. Soon after she received the news, Sheila is accused of plagiarizing a book review in an honors English class. Regardless of her extenuating circumstance, her teacher Mrs. Durnitz believes Sheila should be responsible for violating the plagiarism policy. The district’s policy is listed in the student handbook and states that students found guilty of plagiarism must receive a failing grade plus repeat the course. The honor classes teachers recommended this rule and the principal and superintendent approved it …show more content…
Although there is a clearly stated disciplinary consequence for her action, the administrative staff conflict with enforcing that punishment. Mr. Furtoski, the principal, especially struggled with the decision because he did not want to supersede the teacher’s autonomy and rights to follow district mandated rules; which he helped to approve. At the same time, his moral consciousness played a role. He thought the punishment was unwarranted. In addition, Mr. Furtoski was concerned about jeopardizing Sheila’s honorable achievements and the renewed sense of pride it will bring to the school and community. Being a former athlete himself, he was excited about the implications of Sheila’s honorary scholarship. If the student lost her esteemed appointment, the ramifications for all members involved can be severe. Enforcing a zero tolerance policy means there are no exceptions when implementing the stated disciplinary action. In this regard, Sheila may be held responsible and face specific consequences irrespective of her claim to have innocent intentions. Furthermore, it is the students’ responsibility to read and understand the handbook, then abide by it. With that said, Mr. Furtoski recommending an alternative penalty is another ethical issue. As principal, he should be aware of student requirements. He, however, struggles with following through and easily accepting the strong disciplinary action in …show more content…
The situation was supposed to be kept privately until all involved came to a suitable decision. As the principal met with Mrs. Durnitz to examine evidence of Sheila’s plagiarism, he then learned that Mrs. Durnitz forwarded a copy of the incident to the teachers’ association president. This intensified the possibility of the issue becoming public and it did. Sheila’s parents, the media, and the community became aware and involved in the occurrence. This caused the solution to become farther from the classroom imposed. These situations ought to be handled in the most appropriate and confidential matter. Using the principle of subsidiarity and dealing with challenges at the lowest level of proficient authority is essential. This incident involves a student whose huge future can be threatened. The reputation of the school, the educators, and the administrative staff can be tarnished also. Not to mention, the case is occurring while there is political dissatisfaction, a broadening racial divide, and economic deterioration. In an already declining school district and community, handling problems discretely are the most effective way to manage these situations.
Ultimately student discipline is a controversial issue because it almost always involves contradictory professional, political, and ethical dilemmas. It is important to remember who are

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