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Published on April 16th, 2015 | by Discussion Questions

How do you deal with cheating and academic dishonesty?





KATIE WRITES: A couple girls in my history class are sharing notes and class discussion answers even when the teacher specifically told us not to. They ask other people who have already taken the test about the questions on it even though they aren’t supposed to, because it’s considered cheating.

Two of the girls in the group are in my homeroom and they talk about it all the time in front of me. Even though we sign an honor oath, the girls still cheat. What do I do? How do I confront them without being rude or judgmental?


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are submitted by real rebelutionaries who are looking for godly answers to tough questions and lively conversation with other young adults. You can join the conversation by commenting below. If you'd like to submit your own discussion question, email us at [email protected]



  • Cheating is a hard topic to confront and a common thing among teens today.
    When you approach them, do so with humility and honesty. Remind them of the honor oath they signed, and point out that what they are doing goes against that oath. Explain to them that you know cheating is the easy route but that in the end, it isn’t rewarding.
    They could ignore your advice. They might even shun you. But if you stand up for what you know is right, you shouldn’t be upset about how they think of you.
    I’m not sure if going to the teacher is the right thing. It’s snitching… but for something that is important to recognize. Is it okay to do that if you’ve already confronted the girls? Help, guys?

  • Cassie

    I totally agree with @brooklynmm:disqus – confront them gently, and… well, just read her comment. 😛 Also, if they persist, I’d let a person in authority know. I know, I know, it sounds like tattling, but seriously, if someone won’t obey rules there should be consequences. Just make sure you approach the authority with humility as well, or it might seem you’re deliberately slandering them. But I think if you put thought in how you can alert them to it graciously, and with respect for the girls, you’ll be fine.

  • Ruthie C

    If you’ve already talked respectfully with the cheating girls, I would just go tell the teacher the truth. It won’t make you popular, but it’s the right thing to do.
    But since it sounds like you haven’t talked with them yet, the next time they start talking about cheating I would say something along the lines of, “Hey guys, do you really think you should be doing this? I mean, if the teacher found out you could fail the class [or whatever your school’s punishment for cheating is]. Isn’t that pretty risky?” You likely won’t change their minds, but it’s a good idea to at least try.
    I also agree with what @brooklynmm:disqus said. Be humble and honest, maybe reminding them of the honor oath they took. Know that no matter how others may treat you, doing what’s right is wayy more important in God’s eyes.
    I’m so sorry you’ve been put in this situation!

    • Kate

      Yeah. I always try to work up the nerve to tell them humbly that it’s wrong, but I am sacred to be honest. I’m not worried about not being popular, I’m just worried about doing this process right. I am an introvert and it’s hard for me to confront people,especially about things like this.

      • Samuel Gonzalez

        I know introvertism…..(don’t think that’s a word but, okay).

  • Kaira PrairieFrogs

    “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” Matthew 18: 15-17

    In this case, I don’t think you should go to the church, but the teacher. But first go to them, and tell them that you don’t think what they’re doing is right.

    • Cassie

      Amen!

    • Josiah J.

      Good response, Kaira.

    • Maybe along with that, you can encourage them to tell the teacher themselves.

  • I think you should tell the teacher. Maybe have a recording device (like your phone) in your pocket when you hear them, for proof.

    But regardless, cheating is wrong and it needs to be addressed. It’s tough, but it’s definitely important. But I don’t know the total situation. 😀

    • Ooh! A recording device… never thought of that. Good plan.

    • Haha…a recording device. XD

    • GodsThespian

      I like the recording device idea… sounds like a spy movie!

  • Josiah J.

    I would say @kairaprairiefrogs:disqus has the best answer so far.

    First go to the person and confront the humbly.

    Use the ten commandments as the one of the reason they shouldn’t be doing that.

    When addressing them perhaps have a recording device like @trent_blake:disqus said.

    If they respond well, then delete the recording.

    If they don’t, go to the teacher with it, and ask his or her advice.

    Well that’s my 2 cents. :)

    Anyone else?

    • Caleb Norman

      The main thing is to do it in love because you care about them. So far, there have been a lot of great suggestions!

    • Rob Rittel

      If they are not believers, they aren’t going to care one bit about the ten commandments…

      • Josiah J.

        Maybe, maybe not. The point is that the ten commandments are God’s standard for us. It is the expectation, whether or not we can live up to it.

        The law exposes sin for what sin really is, whether we choose to ignore the law does not negate the fact that the law is truth.

        All this to say, if they are unbelievers, use it as an opportunity to share the gospel of Christ.

        If they are believers, the ten commandment should mean something to them. If it doesn’t then it may be good to give them a re-run of why Christ came and died for their sin, and why we need salvation, and why the law is so important.

        One other thing, if we are saved, we are not under the law, but under God’s grace. Most importantly, we should love our God and everyone else as our self.

        If I am confusing, I apologize.

        • Rob Rittel

          I would not feel comfortable sharing the gospel in this circumstance. I’m not saying you’re wrong. But I think sharing the gospel in the same conversation as telling them they are sinning runs a high risk of portraying God as a judgmental and condemning God instead of the God of grace and love that we know Him to be.

          If I were going to confront a non-believer about something they are doing wrong (sin) I’d probably leave talk of Salvation for another conversation.

          • Josiah J.

            But what if the person died tomorrow?

            I don’t think we should be conservative in sharing the gospel.

            Because God is loving, He condemns evil. He gives grace (that we don’t deserve) though His Son.

            But, I also don’t condone a “I am better that you.” type attitude ether.

            Present sin and grace as inclusive to everyone. (Everyone sins, but everyone is offered the gift of salvation though Christ.)

    • Good input 😉 Have you ever had this experience before?

      • Josiah J.

        No, I can’t say I have.

        But, cheating is no good, I have done that before and regret ever doing it.

        That is why standing for what’s right is so important; we can be examples to other people, for the better.

        Doing hard things is, naturally, hard, but it is worth it.

        • Totally. I went to school for one year before our family started homeschooling, and I can remember other people copying my work because I’m good at Maths. I’m sure I did it too, but I can’t remember (of course!)!

  • Are any of the girls cheating Christians? If they are I think there’s a lot more ground for them to listen to you.

    • Kate

      Most of them say they are agnostic, but one of them claims to be Catholic.

      • Josiah J.

        Witnessing time! :)

  • Elizabeth Marie

    It’s not rude or judgemental to be honest….

    1) Confront the girls who are cheating: explain why cheating is wrong.

    2) If they continue to cheat… then tell those in authority at your school.

    3) Last but not least… pray for these girls.

  • Rebekah Dukes

    I have a question along the same line. What do you guys think about students helping each other with online quizzes, and take home tests? No one can see the answer until everything has been turned in but I still feel kind of funny about it. What do you guys think?

    • I commented, but it’s awaiting moderation, not sure why. So I do have a thought for you that will come soon :)

      • GodsThespian

        haha :) I know the feeling…

    • Skylar

      So, me being homeschooled, we kinda do this anyway. Helping each other with certain things, but not actually giving the answer (unless we are supposed to). I (personally) think it would be okay. *shrugs*

    • I think it would be OK; like Skylar, I’m homeschooled, so I help my sister’s with their schoolwork if mum’s busy. Are you hschooled? 😉

      • Rebekah Dukes

        I was homeschooled all my life, and I agree that there is nothing wrong with helping someone with their homework. I guess I am still processing what is right and wrong in a college setting. There is so much that my classmates do without giving it a second thought, not caring if it is right or not. I’m learning though.Thank you guys for your thoughts :)

  • tmselden

    The real issue here is that neither girl is a Christian according to scripture. You lose leverage as they are lost. We, as Christians are not to judge those outsider he church. We are limited to judging those inside the church. I would not make a huge issue of it as they do not know why they shouldn’t cheat, as it is common behavior nowadays. The word of God is foolishness to those who are perishing. I would first and foremost ask God to intervene. I would not share this info with others, unless they are older mentors who have proven their faith and can guide you biblically. You make sure that your “slate is clean” if you choose to talk to them. Your concern predominantly must be the condition of their souls.

    • gdb

      Whether they are Christians or not,we are called to love our neighbor. To me, it doesn’t seem loving to have no one try to stop them from doing something that is so damaging.
      I feel that them not knowing they shouldn’t cheat makes it more important, not less, because it’s like they don’t have the option not to cheat. Just my opinion.

      • tmselden

        Thank you for your comment. While I struggle with the best way of handling this, I know that the law of God is written on all of our hearts. You shouldn’t have to tell teenagers that it is wrong to cheat. They already know. They will reap the consequences of their sin. The Bible is very specific that if our “brother offends” us, we are to go to Him. I personally would give it some time before approaching them. I believe that petitioning God on behalf of those girls is maybe a better way.

  • Really it depends on the situation. But, at least at my school, the best route would be to tell the teacher about what’s going on without naming anybody in particular. You don’t want to come off as a complete jerk to the people who are cheating. I just don’t think it’s really your place as a peer to call them out on it unless they are fellow believers.

    • Skylar

      Yes, but this could also be a time for sharing the Gospel with them….
      And also what they are doing is wrong..whether they are a Christian or not.
      *shrugs*

      • I’m not really sure it would be a good time. I’m kind of envisioning it going like this: “You’re doing the wrong thing” (stop judging me) “Now become a Christian!” (you’re a judgmental religious jerk). Not to say God couldn’t use the situation, but it’s not really our job to be the “moral police” of the world (1 Cor. 5:12-13). Conviction is the Holy Spirit’s job (John 16:8-11).

        • Skylar

          True. I’m sorry but the whole ‘judging’ thing made me crack up! My family has a thing where we say “Huh” alot and so now when someone says that we go “That was judgmental!”
          But good point!

  • Samuel Gonzalez

    You know, being on the outside of the situation, its easy for me to say: “Do the hard thing about it. Confront and put yourself out there! Do it!” But I also realize that it’s a tough situation that you are actually living through. Not just a drama that I’m watching in my imagination. And that if I were in the situation, I would probably try my best to avoid such a delicate situation entirely!
    What I do know is that confrontation wouldn’t be a bad idea, hard as it is. Also that we were not called to save the lost. Jesus does that. We were called to show them Him by our love and compassion. As well as using words to stand up for what is right.
    Many people have said it already, but don’t expect someone that is unsaved to act like someone who is. Because Jesus changes a person, not religion.
    Maybe this helps, maybe not. I realize that it’s a touchy situation and I will be praying for you, Katie.

    • Hey Samuel, I think you showed a lot of maturity in recognizing how easy it is to tell people what to do when you’re removed from the situation — but how much more complicated things look and feel in the midst of things.

      I think your advice is right on, but I liked how you prefaced it with acknowledging that actually DOING what you are describing is hard. This sort of approach will serve you well in many other situations where you are giving counsel to others.

      • Samuel Gonzalez

        Thanks Brett! That really means lot!

  • Rob Rittel

    They are ultimately cheating themselves out of the opportunity to learn. I saw this all the time back when I was in high school. My mode of action was to leave them alone and just be extra careful to not participate in it myself. Whether that was the right thing to do, I am not sure, but I just didn’t see much coming out of me confronting them on it.

    • Ruthie C

      I hadn’t thought of it that way!

    • Kate

      Thank you this helps me!

    • gdb

      But if you don’t confront them on it, you tell them it is okay. It isn’t .

      • Ruthie C

        I disagree; they still know it’s wrong even if they’re not confronted. You don’t have to be a Christian to know that breaking the honor oath you signed isn’t right. Just my opinion, though. :)

        • Kate

          Every human being is born with a longing to do right, that is because we are made in the image of God, regardless if we are Christian or not.

          • Ruthie C

            Yep! The problem is when the world teaches a completely different standard of “right” than God does.

          • Kate

            The “Right” is universal. Because God made everyone in His image.

          • Clare

            I think that man is born with some measure of morality, but if you ignore that twinge of conscience long enough, the lines start to blur and eventually you lose sensitivity to discern right and wrong.

          • Kate

            Exactly!

          • Josiah J.

            If God doesn’t exist (He does) then morality is irreverent.

            But, you can’t be consistent in a Godless worldview.

            I suggest, that you share the gospel.

          • Kate

            But He has created us with a longing for Him, so we long to do right.

          • Seth Yoder

            Just to expound on what you’re saying, our spirit may long to do right, but the flesh does NOT long to do right. We were born sinners, so our natural tendency is to do wrong. Only through Christ can we be saved and “do right.”

          • Kate

            Are you saying that conscience or an internal moral law is non existent? We know it’s wrong, but we just choose to do wrong (human nature). My point is that when we see wrong, like bullying or discrimination, we know it’s wrong. He has created us in His image, and evil of this world hasn’t destroyed our conscience. Thanks for your input!

          • Seth Yoder

            No that’s not what I meant. You said we as humans “have an inborn long to do right.” Maybe I just misinterpreted it, but I don’t think humans we’re made with an inborn “longing” to do what is right. We can know what is right and what is wrong, and there definitely are moral standards, but ever since the fall, doing the wrong thing comes more naturally to us than doing the right thing. Hence the need for God’s grace, mercy, and salvation through Christ.

          • Kate

            Oh I am so sorry, I didn’t mean to misinterpret what you said. And you are absolutely right about our fallen nature. Thanks, I wasn’t very clear. We are kind of like little gross snot chunks until God’s grace gets to us! Haha

          • Seth Yoder

            Lol good comparison! XD

          • Josiah J.

            But, your not suggesting that we are inherently good?

          • Kate

            Agh, I am so sorry! I am not being clear. Ok, so I believe that we have a measure of morality, despite our sinful nature. We have a conscience because God created us with one. I think that even non believers have a conscience because He created them too. At my secular high school, people do a lot of charitable and compassionate things like book drives for underserved kids, canned food drives and bake sales to raise money to aid the Ebola crisis. This is because of their conscience.
            However, Christians believe that we serve God through others. We do good things to point back to His Goodness. The good in us is God. (Psalm 16:2 “I said to Yahweh, “You are my Lord;I have nothing good apart from you”)
            Thanks!

          • Josiah J.

            Thanks for clarifying. I agree. :)

          • Kate

            No problem! It was really cool talking to you!! :)

          • Josiah J.

            Thank you, same here. :)

  • gdb

    Whatever you do, do something. I would start by casually talking to them about it, in a nonconfrontational way. If that doesn’t work, consider going to the teacher, but know that they will require you to name names.

  • Zipporah

    I agree with the other comments that you need to do something: if the girls ever got caught by someone else, you don’t want people to think that you are associated with them because you didn’t say anything. Talk to the girls casually about what you think. If they ignore you (and they most likely will) then tell someone of higher authority. whatever you do, don’t let people think you are okay with cheating.

  • Prov. 27:6 “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” What the girls are doing isn’t just wrong because of the rules, it’s also really damaging their character. If they are willing to be dishonest and submit faulty work (and support each other in doing it), it is obvious that there are and will be multiple consequences for their decisions. This easily spreads to other areas in a person’s life (including other people), and it’s very important they understand now what affect their decisions are having. It will be difficult to take action, but remember that in doing so you are doing the right thing and being a faithful friend. It might just take them a while to realize it.

    • Lydia Schroetlin

      That’s pretty insightful!

    • Kate

      Thank you so much!

    • Josiah J.

      Indeed.

    • Connie Eugenia Eugenius

      That is a great answer :)

  • Seth Yoder

    I like the Bible verse Jewel used. Prov. 27:6. I believe, as a friend, it is your duty to confront them about such matters (always easier said than done, though…). Do it in love. Pray and ask God to help you see the matter as He sees it, and to give you a passionate love for the girls, but a hate for the sin. Also, the greatest testimony you can show the girls is the way you live your life! So parallel your walk with your talk. :)

  • Lydia Schroetlin

    Coming off of what Jewel S. said I would encourage you to pray to God about this. If you truly feel He is calling you to speak with them, pray strongly about it. If you need to, I would take a day or so to fast and pray about when and how you should tell them. Whenever something greatly burdens our hearts we must run to God and He will show us what to do. Remember, God will never call you to walk through a door that He has not already opened! If it is His will for you to speak with them He will give you the knowledge of what to say. He will have prepared their hearts. This doesn’t mean that they will not get angry or offended (often it is the opposite) but you will have done all that God has asked you to do. It really boils down to what He is asking you to do and whether or not you are willing to except the rejection of others. I would encourage you to seek the Lord. He will show you!

  • Lauren

    Personally, I cannot stand cheating. I know “confronting” them is hard; and even harder depending on your relationship with them. Like many other people, I think you should pray about this :) Also, if you decide to talk to them about it, I would go about it from a not-so-accusing angle, because you might not seem judge mental and they will probably be more willing to listen. Maybe start by saying how you have noticed what they are doing and maybe say that it might be a good idea to stop in case the teacher was to find out. If the teacher found out then they would be in a lot more trouble and you do not want that to happen to them. Because if you noticed, there is a good change that other people have too. You might also want to remind them of the oath. Using this technique might be easier because you are coming from their level and not telling them how bad of people they are. I am not saying that what they did is okay (because its NOT) but I might try this approach before going to a teacher/higher authority. You gave them a fair warning/chance to stop but it is their decision whether they do or not. They might realize that potential consequences are a lot more of a burden then the initial studying/homework. I have a very strong opinion on cheating, but I also don’t like getting people in trouble. I hope this helps…? :)

    • Emigb4

      Good point. Saying something like, “Cheating is wrong. You really shouldn’t do that. Plus, it’s a sin.” isn’t going to win anybody over. Is it true? Yes, but sometimes you’ve got to be both truthful and kind, which can complicate things sometimes, but is much better on relationships. Nice comment.

  • That’s a hard one, Katie, but I think the best thing you can do is show them a good example and witness to them about not cheating.;-)

  • Josiah J.

    I think, to often we focus on the outward symptoms of sin, rather than the core issues. Cheating is an outward symptom.

    These people need Christ, and they need to learn to depend on Him for everything.

    We can’t save anyone, but God can and did.

    Living for Christ and sharing the gospel with those who need Him is our duty, our purpose, if you will, on the Earth.

    This reminds me of some of the lyrics from a Keith Green song, “People need the Lord.”

  • HeartSeed

    Don’t join them in cheating during tests. Don’t go with the works of darkness, but show that they are wrong. Tell them. Don’t sugarcoat. Open rebuke is better than secret love. Just tell them directly but tactfully.

    You may want to suggest to your friends about having a study time* together before the test. With snacks of course (hehe). Invite an honor student too so you can have someone to help you in the hard topics.

    *Study time is study time. Leave the other things for later.

    • Kate

      Wow! Great advice. Thank you!

  • Yes same here. I see my friend cheating on math test and he gets higher grades than me. But I don’t cheat I tried my hardest. But he is my friend and I am not sure if I should tell on him or just let him do it.

  • Faith

    This same thing happened in my WHAP class this past year (World History Advanced Placement). These two girls that sit next to each other would always hide some sort of study sheet in a textbook they put on their desk after the teacher passed out the test booklets. They always got hundreds on vocab. tests and did decent on the harder multiple choice tests even when students who studied really hard and read the textbook got grades in the C- range. This type of behavior seems to happen in any class where people have found they can get away with that sort of stuff by cutting corners and as a result they get all A’s. In the end though, it is as everyone has said so far, as Christians we must witness to others through our actions and our words, not through just one of the two. My mom gave me some advice once when I was confronted with a person who was staring at me in a strange creepy way that felt as if his mind was not thinking the right thoughts; ask the person straight-on what it is that they’re doing so that they can confess it to God, themselves and to you. Sometimes hearing the truth out loud helps people realize that what they’re doing is wrong. If they don’t find a problem with cheating, try to explain in a humble, loving-your-neighbor type way why cheating is wrong. If they still blow you off then continue to pray for God to change their hearts and open their eyes to the truth while protecting the hearts of those who do not cheat from the temptations of the biggest cheater of them all, Satan.
    I shall pray to our Lord that He may keep us all strongly rooted in His truth.
    May God bless you all!

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