...girl in her last year of school. This girl is an honor student. All through her academic years, she has obtained straight A's, has many friends and has never been disciplined by the principal. However, near the end of the year, she fell sick with the flu and fell away behind in her school work. She missed three weeks of class, which resulted in her having to rush a report that would be worth 50% of her English, a required graduation subject in her curriculum.
She was so desperate about the report that she went online and passed off a report she found on that subject as her own. Her English teacher caught her and referred her to you. If you enter on her academic record that she plagiarized, she will likely not be eligible to be accepted into the best University of her country, a school she has always dreamed of attending all through high school and needs in order to fulfill her academic and future dreams.
Would you allow her to be approved so that she can fulfill her dreams or make her fail so that she has to redo the English subject?
Why would you take this decision?
I would not let her just get away with it. She had other options: she could have asked for extra time on the report, especially given that she was legitimately ill, or she could have turned in the best report she could manage and lived with a lower grade for that one class.
But I would also try to find an option that would not cloud her whole future, like re-taking the English course in summer school before the university year starts, or maybe spending a set number of hours doing something like scrubbing graffiti off the school walls.