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Not So Smart: Academic Team Cheats Again

Just weeks after the coach of the Steinmetz High School academic decathlon resigned for cheating in last year’s event, the Board of Education announced Tuesday that several students have admitted cheating during the 1995 state competition.

“I regret to inform you that our continuing investigation uncovered deliberate acts of cheating by members of this team,” Patricia Whitten, the board’s general counsel, said.

She said several students admitted they received an advance copy of the test and were coached by their former teacher, Gerald Plecki.

Plecki resigned from his teaching and coaching posts last month after admitting he cheated in last year’s event, which Steinmetz did not win.

Plecki and current team members had insisted they did not cheat this year.

The team won the state championship March 11 by racking up the nation’s highest score in a battery of tests on various academic subjects.

But the team was later stripped of the title after the state Academic Decathlon Association said a analysis of the scores showed an abnormal pattern and team members refused to take another test to validate their performance.

Tags: ethics