Students Bound by New Honor Code Rules

Violations become cumulative for a student’s career


Colby Brown, Opinion Editor

Wake Forest High School has undergone a major change this school year with the addition of the new WCPSS Honor Code to our school.

Geoff Belcher, chair of the English Department is one of the faculty members who wrote these new rules, in compliance with the WCPSS county-wide rules, and he believes they are a necessary addition for our school.

“Well, we’ve had a lot of trouble, academic teachers, teachers in my department, and other departments combating students cheating on tests,” Belcher said. “So we wanted a system that would keep up with the offences, and we wanted to be able to know that if a student cheated in first period and then did it later in the week in second period then that would be a second offense.”

Deana Jones, chair of the World Languages department was another faculty member involved in the creation of the new Honor Code. She hopes that other teachers will enforce the rules in their classrooms, but she is also realistic about how many teachers will handle the rules.

“I feel that enforcing rules and procedures consistently is important so that students know what to expect in each class.  The most difficult part is being vigilant.  Teachers really have to pay attention,” Jones said.  “You can’t sit at your desk and ignore the class during a test.  You can’t skim through assignments that have been handed in.  You really have to be aware of what is going on and know how students cheat.”

Belcher and other faculty members designed the rules to both have immediate and long-term effects to deter students from cheating on tests, as well as copying and plagiarizing others’ work.

“I think they are going to be extremely effective when some students realize that we have tracked them, and they incur their second one. I think when that happens, and they realize ‘oh my goodness my teachers are actually communicating somehow with each other’ then I think the word is going to spread, and I think it’s actually going to have a lot of effect. I think it’ll have some immediate effect because when I announced it to my students about how it was cumulative, I could see through some of their facial expressions that this carried some more weight,” Belcher said.

Jones hopes that the rules will be able to efficiently deter students from cheating and help them make the right decisions moving forward.

“I think any time students are held accountable for doing something wrong and taught how to do something correctly it is good for our school.  I would like to think that the honor code will discourage some kids from cheating, since they know that the offenses are cumulative.  I also think it is a good time for a teachable moment,” Jones said.

In the end, Belcher hopes that these rules will help students come to their teachers more often, instead of resorting to cheating.

Belcher said, “I think the policy is going to encourage students to ask their teachers for help, which is the whole goal. We want to coach young people up, we want to help them to do the right thing. I think it’ is going to have a positive effect in encouraging students to come have a conversation with their teachers and talk about what help they might need, and I think it will build more rapport between the teachers and the students.”