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Detroit Lakes Public Schools Giving Second Chance to Cheaters - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Detroit Lakes Public Schools Giving Second Chance to Cheaters

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 Details are still being ironed out, but cheaters in Detroit Lakes Public Schools may be offered a second chance.

 The Detroit Lakes school district is implementing a new outlook toward academic dishonesty within its transition to a standards-based system of learning and grading. Valley News Team's Mellaney Moore found out how they plan to deal with those filling in the blanks unfairly.

For years, getting caught taking a peek over your neighbor's shoulder or now, using your smart phone to "google" the answer to an exam question earned you... a zero.

"The problem with receiving a zero is that a student cannot under a percentage system statistically recover," says Superintendent Doug Froke.

Detroit Lakes leaders say grades should not be a reward or a vehicle for punishment, so they're taking a different approach toward what they say is a behavioral issue.

"Cheating is not about what a kid knows or what a kid is able to do. Cheating is a choice...if we opt to plagiarize a paper," says Froke.

If a student is caught cheating, they may have to do an assignment again, talk to their teachers or peers about making the decision to cheat, write a paper or receive a reduced grade.

"There are things that we need to work through as school districts going down the path of changing grading," says Froke.

We took the matter to detroit lakes streets where we found mixed opinions:

"I think that if they're cheating, they're cheating. That was their choice to cheat. No matter the circumstance, they were cheating, they get a zero," says Susie Reitmeier from Detroit Lakes, with grandchildren in the district.

"They can take it as a learning experience in the rest of their life just because someone gave them a second chance," says JoAnn Andringa from Crookston, with family children in the district also.

"Zero is zero. Cheating is wrong," says Detroit Lakes resident Mike Gunderson, who had three kids go through district's schools. "I can't imagine any other way to do it," he says.

Despite conflicting views from the public, the school district plans to implement the changes this fall. The superintendent says further discussion about exactly how to handle students who cheat will happen this summer and will be finalized before the start of the school year.

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