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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    1

    Default Falsely Accused of Doctoring a Graded Test Paper

    My question involves education law in the State of: Massachusetts

    Hello,

    I am in urgent need of help from juvenile attorney for my son who is falsely accused for forging a test at his high school.

    He is currently a senior at a high school with college acceptance and the graduation is next week Monday, May 25. He got falsely accused for what he didn't do a few days ago, and the SDC student disciplinary committee is planned for 7pm tomorrow. Today, the Academic Dean at his school informed him that he will likely be expelled from school if he goes through SDC tomorrow evening and continues to deny, so it'd be better off for him to "be honest" or withdraw from school before SDC tomorrow if he would like to avoid getting expelled. Without the high school diploma, however, our son's college admission will be cancelled, and it would break our heart to see our son go through that.

    My son had a conflict with the original date for the statistics test, so he took the test separately at a later date on May 4. Only a few days ago, the teacher claimed that he forgot about my son's taking the test and asked for the test paper he handed back. My son found the crumpled test (only the first double-sided page) from his backpack and handed it to the teacher within seconds after. After handing the test paper, the teacher got back to my son saying that my son forged/photoshopped the test paper, because it looks the same as another person's test with his markings on it (his graded markings with his pen looked precisely the same, not the written answers), according to the photos he took of another person's test paper with the markings.

    The teacher has previous history of forgetting things easily, according to my son. He forgot that my son took the test last time too when my son asked for his grade long time after taking the test, and he gave an arbitrary grade of 92, saying "I think you got a 90, but you probably did corrections so you get 92". The teacher also reported my son absent for one class and got him into trouble before, when it turned out that he actually was there. My son has evidence about all of this in his email.

    My son is innocent and he has a good academic standing, especially in the statistics course, with A+ and As in all windows of this semester, and my son would have absolutely no intention or motivation to forge the test to prove that he took the test with college acceptance and only few days left until graduation. He has been attending private schools in U.S. for about seven years now, and has no record of anything related to academic integrity.

    My son's advisor even told my son that my son would be better off admitting that he forged the test, because that will lessen the chance of expulsion for him, which is very defaming for my son because he is innocent.

    The most important thing is to find a way to delay the SDC planned for 7pm tomorrow May 21, because it is too soon and they claim that my son will most likely get expelled if he goes through SDC. The teachers have no intention of listening to my son's innocence, being biased about the test paper that has the same graded markings as the photo of another student's test that the teacher took. My son raised concerns about how the teacher may have intentionally framed him, as he thought it was truly bizarre how he took pictures of all student's tests just this particular time. The teacher is capable of photoshop or anything related as he is the assistant director of academic technology. He also refused to show anything such as his own test or the other student's test paper to my son after accusing him, and my son was extremely confused when he was informed about this as well. The teacher also refused to answer when my son asked him why he took the pictures, and only told him that he has done it before. The teacher also refused when my son tried to be nice and offered him to take the test again to prove himself innocent.

    We would like to accuse the school for false accusation and character defamation and we need your defense, but I feel like we are running short on time so we are not sure what to do. We would like to do anything possible to prove our son's innocence and prevent him from getting expelled from school so that he get a high school diploma. All his academic finals are to be completed by tomorrow morning and his final grades will be submitted in no time. We would not want his future to get ruined from what he didn't do.

    We really appreciate your assistance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Behind a Desk
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    98,846

    Default Re: Falsely Accused of Doctoring a Graded Test Paper

    Your story is unclear and seems to be partial.

    What you appear to be stating is: That the teacher had no record of your son's having taken the test and, upon your son's insisting that he had taken the test, asked your son to give him the graded test. Your son handed him the first page of a test that had his own answers, but had the teacher's markings from a test that had been taken by a different student. The teacher has documented that the markings on your son's test match the markings on the other student's test, through photographic evidence. Your son doesn't appear to deny that the markings on the test are the same markings that appeared on the other student's test, taken on the prior test date, but he is contending that the teacher is framing him. Your son apparently has no explanation as to why he would complete a test that had the teacher's marks and grade on it prior to his filling in his answers.

    If that's the story, I can understand the school's skepticism. If your son is contending that the marks were added to the test after-the-fact, through a laser-printed, photoshopped overlay, there would be some evidence of that visible upon document examination, but it would not prove that it was not your son who did the photoshopping. It's quite the stretch to believe that a teacher would go through that much trouble to frame the student, even before we get to the fact that you've not identified a motive. Even assuming your son is innocent, you must appreciate how bad this looks.

    It also appears that this is a private school, meaning that you have fewer legal protections than would exist in a typical public school setting.

    It's not really a case of your "running short on time" -- you're effectively out of time. You can try to find a lawyer in the morning who can advise your son based upon the specifics of the case and perhaps appear at the hearing, if allowed, but it's going to be difficult to find a lawyer who is both qualified and available on such short notice.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    372

    Default Re: Falsely Accused of Doctoring a Graded Test Paper

    Your son needs to complete one course to finish High School and go on to college. Therefore investigate Summer School programs. As I understand you the School Hearing is on Mon., May 25. Request a delay. It's certainly not reasonable to expect that a good defense can be thrown together in a couple of days. Ask for a couple of months delay. These are the things you need to do now.
    Can't make heads or tails of your story about the teacher conspiring against a student who is earning an A. Seems really unlikely.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    16,474

    Default Re: Falsely Accused of Doctoring a Graded Test Paper

    Quote Quoting DaveM
    View Post
    Your son needs to complete one course to finish High School and go on to college. Therefore investigate Summer School programs. As I understand you the School Hearing is on Mon., May 25. Request a delay. It's certainly not reasonable to expect that a good defense can be thrown together in a couple of days. Ask for a couple of months delay. These are the things you need to do now.
    Can't make heads or tails of your story about the teacher conspiring against a student who is earning an A. Seems really unlikely.
    I agree that it seems unlikely. My problem is that it seems equally unlikely that a teacher would accuse an historically good student of cheating in that kind of manner.

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