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When I first constructed this web site three years ago,
I had no idea how much controversy it would cause.
Honestly, I just wanted to post some of my own
writing here. Soon, hundreds of students were
e-mailing me their essays to add to my list.
Along with essays, I received tons of mail from
students who said they really appreciated my site, and
that it helped them more than I could ever know. I
received no complaints from teachers, just praise
from students. I suspected students were plagiarizing
from my web site, but I wasn’t sure.
It wouldn’t have taken much convincing for me to
take down this site. When it was first constructed, I
had to spend hundreds of hours processing essays
and answering mail. It was a lot of work, and if
someone had sent a polite e-mail regarding the ethics
of this site, I would have ended it in a minute!
Then one day, the judicial affairs department at my
university called me into their office. I had to have a
private meeting with the dean regarding my site.
I was shocked to find out that their department had
received approximately 50 calls from upset teachers!
Every single one of them was asking the dean to expel
me from the university — basically, kick me out!
I never received any e-mail from these teachers.
They never voiced their feelings to me, nor did they
try to explain how my site hurt their students’
education. They decided to ignore me as a human,
and try to ruin my future by taking away my chance at
a college degree. Aren’t these people interested in
protecting education? Obviously not, if they want to
expel me from school.
If any of these teachers had taken a minute to write a
polite e-mail, they would have found out that I am a
very reasonable, and compassionate person. They
might have also found out that getting through college
has been a major hardship for me. Neither of my
parents went to college, and they had no interest in
paying for my education. So, for the last six years of
my life, I’ve been working full or part time to struggle
through school. In my last year of school, those
teachers were going to take all of that work away
from me, without bothering to confront me about their
At that point, I knew who my friends were! The
students who sent me loving e-mail, praising me for
helping them were my real friends! I learned that the
First Amendment protected my right to have this site
up, and those rude, insensitive teachers couldn’t touch
me. So, I put more work into this site than ever
Three years later, judicial affairs continues to receive
vicious demands from teachers, and I hear nothing …
until today! The letter copied to the right is the first
polite e-mail I have ever received from a teacher.
Because of Ms. Ball’s thoughtful letter, I am
discontinuing this site. I don’t mean to “ditch” the
students who used this site, but I really don’t think my
essays are helping their education. In the long run, I’m
helping them more by taking down this site.
Please, let this be a lesson to everyone: if you are
offended by some action a person takes, you should
confront them and explain your feelings to them. You
will be much more likely to get your way if you treat
people with respect. If you blindly attack them
because you’re angry, you’ll never get anywhere.
Note: Can you believe I took down this site just short of one
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