Teacher accused me for plagerism for using a definition?

I understand pulling any information from anywhere needs to be cited, but say for example 2+2=4, where would you cite that? I saw the definition as common knowledge, and said "the literal meaning is "....." " is there any way in which im NOT at fault? I just dont like being accused of cheating or doing something i havent.

Milwaukee, WI -

Attorney Answers (3)

Charles K. Kenyon Jr.

Charles K. Kenyon Jr.

Criminal Defense Attorney - Madison, WI

Better practice would have been to cite your source. Believe it or not, different dictionaries give different definitions for words. This does not sound like you are claiming credit for someone else's work (what I normally thikk of as plagiarism) but rather being a bit sloppy. There is a difference to me.

However, plagiarism.org, has a definition that includes quoting something without citation.

When you say the teacher accused you of plagiarism, what, exactly, was said and done? Did you get a failing mark on a project or reported to the principal? Were you threatened with suspension or some other sort of discipline?

Talk about this with your parents and counselor. See whether it can be straightened out. Unless this make a difference in your ability to go to school, I can't see involving a lawyer.

Confidential information should not be disclosed in this Internet forum. This answer is not legal advice, which... more
Christine C McCall

Christine C McCall

Administrative Law Lawyer - Pasadena, CA

Your school has an administrative appeal process for resolving these kinds of disputes. It is set forth in your student handbook, on the school's web-site and in your enrollment/admission materials. You must pursue this process, including timely satisfaction of all steps, before you have any right to bring any legal claim.

You have a right to utilize legal counsel in the admin appeal process and if the school is proposing serious discipline, you should have an attorney. Plagiarism is considered an "integrity violation" by all colleges and universities and discipline on that ground can keep you out of grad and professional school, professional internships, and other post-graduate educational programs. It can affect your eligibility for military service, state licensing, and of course post-grad employment.

If the evidence is weak, you may be able to defeat the allegation in the appeal proceeding. If the evidence is strong, an attorney can sometimes negotiate a "safe" resolution that accomplishes the school's purpose while keeping the matter confidential and allowing the student to go forward without a disciplinary record that limits so many future opportunities.

My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice.... more
Brian S Wayson

Brian S Wayson

Social Security Lawyers - Portland, OR

I agree with the fine answers of my esteemed colleagues, I trust you will heed their wise words.

Disclaimer Information on this site is provided by Brian Scott Wayson as general information, not legal advice,... more

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