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Publication: Dear Abby
Honest Honors Student Has To Compete With Cheaters

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             ABBY - May 27, 2008 
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ABBY: I am a ninth-grade honors student in a highly rated 
public school. I have never cheated on any assignment, nor 
have I ever helped anyone else to cheat. However, I know 
several of my classmates cheat on quizzes and homework 
assignments because I have seen them.

Abby, many of these students have better grade point 
averages (GPAs) than I do. In my school, the competition
to become valedictorian is cutthroat. The valedictorian 
typically graduates with a 4.5 GPA.

It's frustrating to see the honor code at this school, as 
well as the hard work of honest students who are trying to 
make it to the top, undermined by the cheaters. Yet I'm 
hesitant to turn them in to the teachers if I see it happen 
again. What would be the appropriate thing to do? 

CONTENDER: The thing to do is let the teachers and the 
principal know what's going on. If you are reluctant to 
do this for yourself, then do it for all the other honest 
students who are diligently trying to earn excellent 
grades and improve their chances of acceptance at the 
better colleges and universities.

Over the last 10 or 15 years, many people's standards of 
ethics have taken a nosedive. By "ethics," I mean doing 
what is right because it is the right thing to do. We hear 
about it daily when stories appear in the media about 
court-appointed conservators who cheat the frail elderly 
they were hired to protect, banks selling clients 
inappropriate retirement funds, mortgage brokers 
encumbering first-time homeowners with loans they can't 
keep up with, the theft and abuse of personal information, 
drug companies sponsoring "research" that influences the 
approval of questionable products, and educators who lie 
about their credentials.

Drivers speed and ignore stop signals if they think no one 
will see them, and residents of high-crime neighborhoods 
cling to a code of silence when innocent children and 
young adults are gunned down simply for being in the wrong 
place at the wrong time.

We are ALL responsible for creating the world we live in. 
And little will change in the face of ethical lapses and
criminal behavior until more of us are willing to take a 
stand and do something about them when we see it happen.

Readers, your thoughts on this would be welcome.


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ABBY: My husband and I purchased a home 2 1/2 years ago. 
Today we received an e-mail from the previous owners 
telling us they are coming here on vacation and would like 
to visit us and see the house again.

We don't want to visit with the previous owners. When we 
bought their house we never expected to see them again. My 
husband and I are very private people. How do we tell them 
we do not want to see them again or have them in our home? 

INVADED: You are under no obligation to have any contact 
with the previous owners. E-mail the couple and tell them 
that a visit at that time is "not convenient" and a house 
tour is not an option.

ABBY is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as 
Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline 
Phillips. Write ABBY at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box  
69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. 

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