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'AITA for allowing my son to fail a major assignment and telling him he deserved the zero?'

'AITA for allowing my son to fail a major assignment and telling him he deserved the zero?'


"AITA for allowing my son to fail a major assignment and telling him he deserved the zero?"

My son “Devin” plagiarized an essay for English by copy-pasting most of the sentences from Cliffnotes and replacing one of the letters with a specific Russian letter that looked the same as the original English letter. It wasn’t as if Devin plagiarized without meaning to. My son knew exactly what he was doing.

Devin’s essay did bypass the plagiarism software but his teacher immediately recognized that it was from Cliffnotes and informed me that Devin would be receiving a zero, which is how I became aware of the situation. Devin’s grade dropped to a D. Devin asked me to essentially fight with the school to get his grade fixed. I told him no and that he deserved the zero.

If you’re struggling with an essay, you reach out and ask for help. You don’t try to cheat your way out. He knew better than that. Devin’s mom “Emma” called me because she just received the physical report card in the mail and saw the D in English. Devin hadn’t told his mom about what happened and it’s too late to challenge the zero now since grades have already been finalized.

Emma tried to interrogate me on why I didn’t challenge the zero when it was possible. I told Emma that I wanted this lesson to stick with Devin. Devin will graduate high school in two years. Getting a D in high school is better than getting kicked out of university or fired from a job for trying to pass off someone else’s work as his own. Emma argued that a D will seriously hurt Devin’s university prospects.

She said she doesn’t condone what Devin did and would have been in agreement with a home punishment such as grounding Devin. But that I was a terrible parent for making our son experience a punishment that she says can seriously impact his future.

Unless Devin was applying to an Ivy League (which he has not had any interest in) then I doubt one D will destroy his university prospects. I’m struggling to understand Emma’s perspective and need more opinions. AITA?

Redditors had all sorts of thoughts.

SirRabbott wrote:

NTA. I failed a class in highschool and had to take an online class through a university which was incredibly more difficult and cost more. The reason I failed? I plagiarized a paper. Wanna know what never happened again through the rest of my schooling? You guessed it, Plagiarization. It's a hard learned lesson, and he honestly got off easier than I would expect.

Latter-Shower-9888 wrote:

NTA - good job! You’re parenting your son. So many people can’t figure out how to do that nowadays. He experienced the consequences of his actions - no more, no less. Hopefully, he will have learned his lesson!

Low_Reception477 wrote:

NTA. I am forced to question your kid’s intelligence. Not only did he decide to cheat but he decided that copy and pasting cliff notes was the way to do it when things like chat GPT exist? He definitely deserves the fail. Don’t cheat but if you are going to at least put a bit of thought into it lmao.

SkiPhD wrote:

NTA. University administrator here. Better to learn the lesson now rather than in University. I might recommend requiring him to complete the assignment and submit it to the instructor. He may get no points, but he will see that he is capable of doing the work, and the instructor will see he can do so, as well.

Plagiarism will impact his reputation, and this may allow him to recover from any damage he's caused himself.

OP is NTA, he's just doing the right thing as a father.

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