The Cheaters We Punish

Cheating is wrong.

But a white judge sentencing three black educators  to seven years in prison because he was frustrated that they wouldn’t fess up to changing answers on student tests? That sounds like the principal deciding to teach an intractable fifth grader a lesson.

But then Judge Jerry Baxter went home, gave it a think, and decided he’d been wrong and reduced the Atlanta educators’ sentences to three years. Their sentences also include seven years on probation, a $10,000 fine and 2,000 hours of community service.

I guess I understand now why our prisons are overcrowded. What I don’t understand is why George Bush and crew aren’t on the next cell block. But hey, if we put every cheater in jail, it would be overflowing with war profiteers, Wall Street financiers and politicians who lied on their resumes.

The 35 educators involved in the Atlanta cheating scandal have lost their jobs. Sentences that include probation, fines and community service are more than sufficient punishment. Putting them in jail is ridiculous.

So here’s a lesson. If you want to avoid jail time, stick to causing an international financial crisis or starting a war.


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