- 9:11 pm - Tue, Sep 18, 2012
- 33 notes
You guys. I just read the article in this week’s NY Magazine about the leader of a cheating ring at Stuyvesant High School and I am OUTRAGED!
I am so angry at these kids. Yeah, the system sucks and is in need of repair but what the actual fuck? Like, the dude didn’t think he’d get kicked out of (an elite) high school for getting caught cheating on a standardized test?! Something is seriously wrong if there is an entire generation of young adults who think they are above any sort of consequence or punishment for doing the wrong thing.
I’m a crazy woman muttering to myself (although I think the baby can hear me so good!) about this.
I’m about to tell a story that I really don’t like telling about people I don’t like talking about. When I was a senior in high school, the honors class had to take Physics. It was a really hard class taught by a woman who should have been teaching college level physics. She was from China, too smart for us, and it was really hard to understand her english. The class was brutal. Normal high school pains, right?
Well, a lot of us were flunking. C-’s, Ds, even a few Fs. We were a miserable lot. A few of us started to come in after school to get extra help. A few girls decided that instead of extra studying, they would go up to her desk to ask for help one day, watch her type her password then sneak in to the school during the weekend, change a bunch of the grades around and then they could get back to writing their valedictorian speeches.
The entire class knew what they were doing but who were we to stop them? Most of us casually listened in to their plans without looking up from our textbooks. The next day, the teacher saw that the grades had been changed (because, low and behold, she wasn’t a fucking moron!) and there was an immediate freeze on the release of all our transcripts to colleges. I had to watch my best friend sob in the bathroom because her four years of A+’s might be all for nought. She was going to miss her dream school application deadline. I can’t tell you how upset I was at these girls for ruining her chances to get into college because of their selfishness.
Each student was called into the dean’s office where the vice principal and academic counselor sat and were asked if we knew anything. Let me preface this by saying I am a good liar. I could have probably kept a straight face and feigned ignorance. But something about Marissa’s tears or my anger or bitterness that I stayed late and they didn’t was like truth serum. It just came out.
At first, the girls vehemently denied it and the lunch tables were full of ‘who told?’ whispers. Then, my vice principal made a decision he and I would both regret. He called me in to make the allegations straight to one of the girls—and I wish I could go into the detail that would paint an accurate picture of our tortured relationship but it is too convoluted and complex. We were simultaneously the same and opposite. Involved in the same things, but with opposite personalities. I had to sit in an office where she pointed her finger at my face and called me a jealous liar. I was so shocked that I think I almost forgotten that I was the one telling the truth. I had never been blatantly lied to. If you haven’t yet, I’ll tell you how it feels: really, really, really shitty.
After this, I would come to be known as a ‘rat’ for the better part of my senior year. That’s just the type of people I went to school with. It was better to have let those girls graduate with honors (as cheaters) than to have listened to my moral compass. The girls came clean later that day, though they argued that I had still been lying because I couldn’t have known about what they did (besides the fact that everyone in my class knew the truth…). I think some teachers never believed me again. The three girls were suspended for a day but there were no real consequences. To their parent’s shock and agitation, they weren’t allowed to be selected as the valedictorian or salutatorian (at my, and a few other, parents urging).
On days I didn’t feel like having ‘rat’ whispered in my direction at lunch, I ate in my math teacher’s classroom and kept to myself. The girls eventually apologized in a nonchalant fashion when the moment presented itself at our senior retreat. We’ve gone on to completely separate lives; one selling knives for a while then becoming a college financial aid counselor, one a recent university graduate with a degree in psychology and one a nanny.
I still wonder if I made the right decision that day, five years ago.