At the Harlem High School for Math and Science, teacher Eva Malikova caught student Omotayo Adeoye cheating on a German exam. The tactic used was retrieving forbidden information from a smartphone. Confirmed by witnesses, Malikova chastised Adeoye in public.
Few adolescents can absorb that kind of emotional trauma. Science has confirmed that their brain isn't fully grown until about age 25. Adeoye will never reach that point of maturity. Allegedly, she committed suicide by jumping into the river. Her father confirmed that she couldn't swim. Here is the account from the New York Post.
Ethically and legally, the concept of "cheating" represents a broad category. It could be as simple as getting an unfair advantage by taking an authorized glance at what is on the instructor's desk. Those might be jottings about possible exam questions. Or it could be hacking into the school computer system and gaining access to the test before it is administered.
My hunch is that most teachers have done their share of cheating on the way to piling up the educational credentials to get where they are. We hope they have been able to forgive themselves. Why Malikova couldn't have compassion for a young girl in an elite school pressure cooker is puzzling.
Sure, Adeoye should have been disciplined. Moderately. In private. Lessons have to be learned in life about what shortcuts we can take. But those lessons shouldn't cost us our lives.
Teachers in the New York school system should take out an ad in The New York Times 'fessing up that they themselves have cheated along the way.