Mishmeres HaSholom: Ask the Rav

Q: During one of our lessons in our elementary school class, a few girls from the parallel class joined us for a make-up test. When our teacher turned around to write on the board, one of the girls used the chance to get help from the girl sitting next to her. Because of the toeles involved, I was wondering if I should tell the teacher about it or not?

A: Experienced teachers are usually adept at controlling the class during lessons and especially during a test. It is the sole responsibility of the teacher to watch out for cheating, and students do not have to be the teacher’s policemen in this area, (unless otherwise instructed.) Nonetheless, it is forbidden for students to copy answers, as it is against school rules and involves other issurim.

In light of the above, if the cheating is a one-time occurrence then there is no obligation to apprise your teacher thereof, even if it is obvious that the student did something wrong. If, however, a classmate continuously cheats, which lends itself to an atmosphere of hefkeirus and disrespect among other girls, then you have an obligation to tell the teacher about it. Of course, you must be vigilant of the conditions delineated by the Chofetz Chaim in hilchos lashon hara l’toeles, especially to intend the toeles and nothing else.


Mishmeres HaSholom is the international organization for increasing the study and practice of the laws of shemiras halashon. To hear a clear, concise three- to five-minute shiur on the daily segment of hilchos shemiras halashon, dial (718) 887-9628. To learn more about our programs or to become a Mishmeres HaSholom member, please call (845) 694-3275 or email office@hasholom.org.

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