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Commentary: Don't sue; make cheating episode a life lesson

April 18, 2014|By Ray Kennedy

This is an open letter to the parents litigating the expulsion of the Corona del Mar High School students. On behalf of many parents in the community, we ask that you stop litigating the expulsion of the CdM students involved in the cheating scandal.

We are all responsible in some manner for the environment that encouraged cheating. We celebrate coaches and artistic leaders who gain national recognition despite crossing ethical boundaries.

We glorify athletes through the Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week. When was the last time we had a DP Academic of the Week?

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The teachers and the administrators also share some of the blame. CdM has seen four principals in 10 years, providing little leadership within the school. Because of budget cuts, the overworked counseling department has seen significant turnover over the past few years.

However, none of these factors absolves some of these students of hacking into government computers and changing their grades. Any executive, artist or athlete will tell you that everyone makes mistakes – how you respond and react to the mistake is what defines you.

These students need to take responsibility for their actions, learn from their mistakes and go to the next level of personal improvement. Parents who shield their kids from this process are only hurting them and their personal development.

All parents have stories of falling down, getting back up, dusting off and moving on. I spent time in jail at age 18 for a DUI. My parents made me totally responsible for going to court and settling the issue at my cost and on my time. They didn't hire lawyers or try to get the charge expunged from my record. To this day, I have to check the box that says I was convicted of a charge. It was a great learning experience and today I am an uber expert. They let me fail and learn from it.

This litigation costs all of your friends, neighbors and in some cases, your customers in the local community. It comes out of the collective pocket of the community. The only winners in this litigation are the lawyers.

Please drop the litigation and be a parent!

RAY KENNEDY is the former president of The CdM Foundation, CdM Girls' Volleyball Foundation, CdM Girls' Water Polo Foundation, and a parent of CdM graduates in the classes of 2013, 2011 and 2009

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