Homework and Ethics

High school students in action

I won’t write your homework speeches.

A girl called me recently. “Can you write a persuasive speech?” she said. Here comes the ethics conversation.

I then asked a series of questions regarding length, context, and subject.

“Anything. It can be about any subject at all. It is for a class.”

I knew this already. No one needs a persuasive speech for anything but a speech class, typically in high school. I pressed further.

“Will the teacher be judging your speaking or how you write a speech?”

“Speaking,” she said.

“Oh? Then why hire someone? Why not find a speech online or in a book? There are plenty out there.”

“The teacher is very particular about plagiarism,” she confessed. Of course the teacher is.

I went on to tell her it was unethical for me to write her speech. It is cheating.

I receive calls like this frequently. Graduations, student council events, etc. Parents over-eager to present their children as more articulate than they are contact me. Principals tell me this is not allowed, that it is implicit the students do not hire external help. I agree.

I’m not surprised. We live in an era in which pirating movies and music is not given a second thought. Our culture is full of those who will easily lie, cheat and steal. However, no client is worth lying. I won’t cheat for my corporate clients, and I won’t lie for a student. It is one thing to put something in the best light possible. It is another to distort the truth.

Step up your personal ethics, kids.

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