STATEMENT ABOUT ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

The faculty of the Helena High School English Department is committed to the development of students who are both capable writers and ethical users of information. Concerned about the increased rate of plagiarism in our school and nationally, our first objective is working with students to develop effective research and citation strategies. Our most important objective remains our core educational mission, and we are committed to providing students with the information and skills necessary to avoid plagiarism in their work. At the same time, we are committed to instilling a sense of academic integrity and personal responsibility.

Students looking for more information about plagiarism (and how to avoid it) are encouraged to discuss the issue with their teacher or visit the English Department’s Plagiarism resource page at http://www.bengalenglish.org.

PLAGIARISM DEFINED

Wake Forest’s English Department defines plagiarism as:

“To put your name on a piece of work is to say that it is yours, that the praise or criticism due to it is due to you. To put your name on a piece of work any part of which is not yours is plagiarism, unless that piece is clearly marked and the work from which you have borrowed is fully identified. Plagiarism is a form of theft. Taking words, phrasing, sentence structure, or any other element of the expression of another person’s ideas, and using them as if they were yours, is like taking from that person a material possession, something he or she has worked for and earned. Even worse is the appropriation of someone else’s ideas.
… If you paraphrase, you merely translate from his or her language to yours; another person’s ideas in your language are still not your ideas. Paraphrase, therefore, without proper documentation, is theft, perhaps of the worst kind. Plagiarism is a serious violation of another person’s rights, whether the material stolen is great or small; it is not a matter of degree or intent … Your responsibility, when you put your name on a piece of work, is simply to distinguish between what is yours and what is not, and to credit those who have in any way contributed.”

Specifically, we define plagiarism as any of the following:

  • Directly copying a paper or portion of one without proper attribution.
  • Taking the ideas of another person without proper attribution. Changing the wording of another document does not avoid the problem of plagiarism. Plagiarism is as much about the theft of ideas as it is words.
  • Turning in someone else’s work as your own.
  • Citation of works that the student did not consult in the writing of the paper

The source of the original material is irrelevant in cases of plagiarism. Whether the original source is a book, a web site, a song, or another student, failure to cite properly can lead to serious academic and disciplinary consequences.

POLICY

  1. Each classroom teacher will work to educate students about proper citation of sources and how to avoid plagiarism in writing. In turn, students will be expected to act ethically in their work. Claims of ignorance about plagiarism will not be accepted as an excuse. Each student will be provided a copy of the Department’s Research Guidebook, which contains information about proper citation and tips for avoiding plagiarism. Students may also download/consult the Research Guidebook at http://www.bengalenglish.org or http://www.helena.k12.mt.us/teacherlinks/oconnorj/researchguidebook.pdf
  1. Each incident of suspected plagiarism is subject to review and consideration by the classroom teacher, and is subject to the penalties outlined in that class. The initial contact should be between the student(s) and classroom teacher, to determine the nature of the plagiarism.
  1. Once the classroom teacher has determined that plagiarism has occurred, we recommend the following actions be taken:
    1. Notification of parent(s)/guardian(s)
    2. Notification of the appropriate administrative contact
    3. Loss of credit for the assignment
    4. Notation by the principal in the student’s disciplinary record
    5. Notification of the National Honor Society advisor
  1. Students who are repeat offenders should face more serious consequences. These may include:
    1. Suspension
    2. Failure of the class for the academic quarter