I’m at a loss for words on this one

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You may remember a couple weeks ago, we caught Gavin plagiarizing on a homework assignment.  He was supposed to create his own sentences using that weeks vocabulary words. 

This isn’t the first time he’s had this type of assignment.

However, while we have had to take a mostly hands off approach to his homework, we do spot check it from time to time.  We do this so that we can keep tabs on where he’s at and what he’s doing. 

Lizze happen to be the one spot checking that assignment and she realized right away that Gavin didn’t create those sentences. 

When questioned, Gavin got upset because we were questioning him. 

He then admitted that he copied the sentences directly from the dictionary.  After we discussed why this was wrong with him, he admitted that he knew it was wrong but he just didn’t want to do the work and this was easier. 

He wasn’t sorry and we wanted to send a message that cheating won’t be tolerated. 

The following morning we met with his teachers and explained what happened.  She said that he knew he wasn’t allowed to do that.  Lizze and I wanted him held accountable for this and felt he should get an automatic zero.  We also wanted him to redo the paper correctly but insisted that the original paper be graded and he receive a zero due to him cheating. 

After several conversations about this, we finally went to the principal who agreed with our approach and let it be known that going forward, any cheating will result in a zero, without question. 

Gavin came home today bragging about his grades.  That’s not a bad thing because we want him to take pride in his work. However, this is what we found among the graded papers. 

This is the front side of the paper he cheated on.

She made him redo the paper and allowed him to earn a 97% on a paper he cheated on.  The grade should have even been lower but she corrected some of his mistakes. 


I feel like my fricking head is going to explode.  He’s bragging that he got an A on this paper and he knows how we felt and what we wanted to happen. 

It’s really hard to be proud of something like this.  He cheated and got away with it. 

This is one of those things that I have to decide whether or not to fight this fight.  Everything in me wants to march into the school and demand this paper be thrown out and his grade reduced to a zero.  At the same time however, we also has about a zillion other fights we have to engage in as well. 

Nothing we do is going to keep Gavin from doing this again but I want so badly for him to learn a fucking lesson.  For once, I want to see him held accountable by someone other than Lizze and myself.  I wish that people could see through his bullshit and help us keep him on the right path as long as possible. 

I’m at a loss for words right now… I’m so angry, frustrated and disappointed…..

Honestly, what’s the point of even trying with him anymore?

This site is managed almost exclusively from my Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Please forgive any typos as auto-correct HATES me. 😉

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Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
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You’re playing chess, not checkers. Set up a chore, or task that all your kids could accomplish. Make the reward for completing said task one that is geared towards Gavins likes, someting he would love. When the task/chore is completed, Gavin will want his reward. Dont give it to him. Give somebody else credit for his work. Let him protest, yell, scream and get worked into a frenzy about it. And while he reaches the peak of this emotional tornado, explain to him that you know he actually did the work. Then make it clear to him that the way he is feeling at that moment, cheated out of his just do, is the way others feel when he cheats by plagiarizing their work. He must be emotionally invested in this lesson so it sticks with him.

Of course, this is just a suggestion. I saw the video of him throwing a tantrum. I wouldn’t tolerate that and my parents would.have brought the hammer down upon me. I’m not diagnosed, but may be on the autism spectrum. Just trying to help. Good luck!

Lost and Tired

While that would result in very bad things, I like the way you think. I’d never thought about doing that. It would be a great message to send him. That’s the only way he ever learns. Talking and reasoning never works but experiencing something like that may provide him with enough insight to understand why we don’t cheat…

Great idea….. Thank you.. ☺


I think you have fought this as much as you can, and now it is done. Period. As we say in the south ” you have bigger fish to fry” let this paper go…as frustrating as that is (and I know your blood is boiling and your head wants to pop off your shoulders). Focus on the bigger fish, this little minnow is nothing compared to the whale you have to focus on.

Lost and Tired

Well said and sound advice. Thank you….


Is there a a graded paper in his possession that he maybe did not do as well on but he made a passably good grade on that he did the work himself? IF so, I would put that on the refrigerator or somewhere to display and talk and make a big deal out of how well he did on that one and the fact he did it himself and ignore the other one completely. He is wanting attention and he doesnt care if it is good or bad. Plus as a sociopath he doesnt care if you are disappointed it may actually make him feel more powerful if he can get you that upset.

Lost and Tired

We celebrate when he does good and we have a fridge full of papers and art work. This particular case was different because he chose to cheat. He knew it was wrong and he chose the easy way out, then lied to us and was going to lie to his teachers.

You make some excellent points. Thank you…


I think you are right not to fight this fight – that’s a good instinct. You mention wanting Gavin to be held accountable by someone besides you. I have older kids, and I can tell you that that will happen and when it does, it will be tragic and sad and you will wish you could shield Gavin from it. So don’t wish for that. Give him some good days, some days he feels successful, because in the end, the world is a cold hard place for a kid like Gavin. That is what was so poignant about that first article I read of yours, the heartbreak one. We are all human and suffering comes to us all — but it comes double to people with mental illnesses.

Lost and Tired

Thanks Dot. ☺


This, in my opinion is when you step back and look at the bigger picture. It isnt right, it isnt what you want, but the work was done. He will have a diagnosis of sociopath as soon as he turns 18, his whole perception of right and wrong are skewed. From his perspective he did the work, he got an A he wants praise. Period. Your feelings, your wishes arent a consideration in his world.
So, is it worth stressing out about? Not saying what he did was right, it wasnt, he cheated. But is this thing worth stressing? You withheld praise, it sounds as if you withheld any negative comments. So he ‘got’ a neutral from you. He got no reaction.
Will it happen again? Maybe- it depends on the teachers policy and you can only control so much. You have done all you can on this one paper. Keep checking his homework, and let this go. Its said and done.
You are already overwhelmed, let this slide. For your own sanity. You all are doing so much and doing it daily.

Lost and Tired

You make a really interesting point. Whenever he does well we praise him. He’s got tons of papers in the fridge, all the kids do. However, in this particular case, the fact that he got an A is not something we are proud of and neither should he be.

We knew he could do the work, he just didn’t want to and admitted that. We told him how we felt about that but also praised him for the other papers he did good on.

While it’s a fruitless effort, we just can’t not try to teach him right from wrong. Letting go and looking at the bigger picture as you say, is the right thing to do. It just feels wrong. It feels like we’re giving up on him and I’m not sure I’m ready to do that.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts…. 🙂