Q: I am a high school senior. On our first math test I saw one of my best friends cheat off of the person sitting next to her. I don't know what to do. I don't want to lose a friend, but what she did is wrong. On the other hand, is it so wrong? The person she cheated off of is really stupid, so she's bound to be worse off than if she'd just guessed. What should I do?
Anne: Whether or not the person off whom she cheated is worthy of being cheated off of isn't the question--it doesn't matter. I would find a way to ask your friend about the incident. Is there a chance you didn't see what you think? If she admits the cheating to you, it doesn't relieve you of responsibility. Your teacher needs to know.
Dee: At Virginia Military Institute, their honor code states that cheating, lying and stealing will not be tolerated and neither will people who themselves tolerate those things. This means that if you know your friend cheated and you do nothing, you're as much a problem as she is. You don't have to wave your arm in the air and shout, "Cheater!" but maybe there's a way you can alert your teacher to check the two papers. Send her a note if you don't want to talk to her in person, or talk to your parents and see if they will help. But once you let it go, it will always be there between you and your friend. Worse, she will be within her rights to say you're an accomplice.
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