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Editorial: Good parenting doesn’t include teaching kids to cheat


David and Manjy Sidoo, pictured at David Sidoo’s 2017 induction into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame. David Sidoo is accused of fraud in a scheme to have his sons admitted to elite U.S. colleges by paying someone $200,000 to have others write their entrance exams.


Fred Lee

There is an important piece of advice frequently shared by senior lawyers to young people entering the profession that can be applied to other careers and life in general: “At the end of the day, all you have is your reputation. It takes years to earn a good reputation and an instant to destroy one, so protect your good name as you would your life.”

It’s distressing, given the U.S. college admissions scandal and seeming routine dishonesty within politics, to realize that so many people in high positions are not following that advice.

While the 50 accused in the admissions frauds, including Vancouver businessman David Sidoo, must be viewed as innocent until proven guilty, it’s hard to imagine how they will ever fully repair their reputations.

Cheating to gain an unfair advantage over others — in this case, other people’s children — especially when already so advantaged by wealth, privilege or fame, isn’t something that many people will quickly forget, or forgive. Not only is our society struggling with an income gap, but now we are reminded of a morality gap.

The irony is that while the parents charged in the conspiracy — which includes Hollywood stars such as Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli, and wealthy businesspeople — likely justified their behaviour as “helping” their kids, the scandal will leave their offspring damaged as well.

Not only will reputations be tainted, but some universities caught up in the fraud are considering expelling students and even revoking diplomas granted to those who cheated to gain admission. How does a young person recover from all that?

A massive lawsuit has also been filed against the accused by qualified students who didn’t gain admission.

Good parents teach children right and wrong, the value of honesty, and of working hard to attain one’s goals. Something is terribly wrong when people of privilege — who should set an example of personal industry and integrity — teach their children to cheat.


Editorials are unsigned opinion pieces representing the views of The Vancouver Sun editorial board, which is made up of senior editors. The editorial pages editor is Gordon Clark, who can be reached at gclark@postmedia.com.

Letters to the editor should be sent to sunletters@vancouversun.com.

If you have a tip about a story, please email vantips@postmedia.comCLICK HERE to report a typo.


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