I’m troubled. A friend of mine asked me to lie. Is it ok to ask a friend to lie? I mean it’s not a small lie. At least I don’t think it is. I thinks it’s a humdinger. I think it’s more than a lie. I think it’s a fraud. I refused, but it has been troubling me.
My friend wants to enrol his child in a school in my district. He doesn’t live in my district. He wants me to give my address as his address, his child’s address, so that the child can go to this school. How can that possibly even work? What about correspondence? What about friends coming home with her for sleep-overs and homework get togethers and birthday parties and etcetera? Parents want to see where they are leaving their children. They will notice if they are driving their kids out of the district. If they drive out of the district the lie is immediately exposed, so they will have to bring them here, and, naturally, they will want to see. Do I want that kind of intrusion into my life and privacy? And even if I did let them come inside to see, won’t it be clear that no child actually lives here? How will my friend and his wife ever entertain other parents? Will I have to leave my house when they entertain parents, so that he and they can pretend that it’s their house? How often? In fact these questions are ridiculous. The whole plan stupid and impossible.
What is that saying ‘what a tangled web we weave when first we venture to deceive’.
When the school discovers that this child doesn’t live here, surely they will eject the child from the school. Then what? His child will have no school. His reputation in the school district will be shot. My reputation will be shot for participating in the lie. How does anyone win in a situation like that? It’s fraudulent. What does it say about our characters? It says we are fraudsters and liars and that we have no decency. It’s impossible.
How does the child learn integrity knowing that she is in school because of a lie? How do you teach a child the importance of integrity when the premise under which they are in their institution of learning is a lie? I can’t get my head around it. I confess, I am shocked by the request.
His response to my refusal was ‘I’m sorry I asked you.’ But he didn’t sound sorry, he sounded angry with me and I felt that I had let him down, but I also wondered, how do you ask me that? How do you think of doing that? How do you think of committing a fraud against the entire school district and by extension the whole department of education, which ends up being a lie to the government? It’s huge. Don’t’ you have to provide proof of residence? Isn’t there a FICA situation here?
He says that he is planning to move to my district, but hasn’t yet found the right property. What if he never finds the right property? Will the lie then go on for his child’s whole school career? What if I decide to move?
I’m not comfortable with lies. I’m not comfortable with dishonesty. I’m especially not prepared to enter into the realm of fraud. It’s not who I am. I don’t have children, so maybe I’m missing something, but it doesn’t seem right. I’m not comfortable. I won’t do it.
And if, or when the lie is discovered, what are the ramifications? Do we get charged? Why would he want to put me in that situation? We are friends, yes and I would do many things for him, but the fact that I would do many things shouldn’t include fraud, should it? There are schools in his district. Perhaps these schools are not of the same calibre, I don’t know, but how bad can they be? He said that this is the school his daughter wants to attend. Will he really become a criminal because his daughter wants this school? Maybe, if he plans to move into this district, he should wait and when he has moved into this district he can revisit the possibilities.
Am I over reacting? I don’t think so. Is it less of a big deal than I think it is? I don’t think so. Do people do this all the time? Even if they do, is it something that I want to involve myself in? No! My instinct says no. My instinct says it is wrong. I’m going to trust my instinct. I’m going to trust my integrity. I hope I don’t lose a friend.