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Stress Puts Honor on the Line

By Michael Park ’15, Staff Writer

There has been a significant rise in the number of AHC cases over the past three years. According to Head of Peer Tutors Julie Schloat, one possible reason for the rise may be weak enforcement of the Honor Code.

“I would define the honor code as being conscious and aware of your work and the expectations of your teachers in school,” Ms. Schloat said. “I think the honor code gets fuzzy for students when they are not aware of the individual expectations of their teachers.”

In the beginning of the school year, an orientation session devoted to academic honesty gave students the opportunity to read and contemplate the Plagiarism Statement. 

The Student Council and faculty are considering whether to expect students to sign an honor pledge before submitting graded work.

“The honor pledge was instituted to encourage students to ask clarifying questions before submitting work,” Student Body President Cleo Siderides ’13 said. “I think we reside in a community where honor is upheld the majority of the time. Having an honor pledge will further instill within the community the ideals on which Deerfield was founded.”

However, it is also true that students feel a lot of stress from pursuing success. Anxiety often puts students’ moral choices on the line, which may lead to academic dishonesty if the student does not balance pressure with sufficient moral awareness.

“There were times, I admit, when I was very tempted to take a shortcut in order to finish my assignment on time,” confessed Taylor Yancey ’15. “The answers were online, and I could have easily taken them from the site. However, I remembered what my goal was in Deerfield. It was not to cheat, but to improve. I decided to turn in the work late.”

Jade Moon ’13 agreed. “I think people are just pressured to do well at Deerfield, but don’t have the time. Most of the cheating isn’t “bad” either. It’s usually momentary lack of judgement on the cheater’s part.”

“If I were a student, I might look at the outside world and not see how to be ethical.” said Academic Dean Peter Warsaw. “I understand if a student says he or she is receiving mixed messages from the external world, but students should be getting clear messages within Deerfield.”

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