Opinion: The parents convicted in the college bribery scandal received just sentences

What kind of parent are you if you don’t want the best for your children? 

I’m pretty sure this is the question that pounded in Felicity Huffman’s mind when she involved herself in what many have called one of the biggest college scandals to the date. 

However, using bribery to get your children into college is not only a toxic approach to parenting, but a horrible example how to be a good parent. 

Drawing the line between what a parent should or should not do on behalf of their children can be hard, but it is a line that should be drawn where breaking the law starts. As much as you love your children, engaging in illegal matters on their behalf should never be the better option. 

Despite this seemingly obvious fact, over 50 parents were connected to this scandal when the story broke in March 2019, though not all have been found guilty of crimes. 

Most of these names were foreign to us, as they belonged to men and women who were more prominent in the world of business, but two names in particular seemed to make all of the headlines: Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, both successful Hollywood actresses. 

Huffman was one of the first to be tried, according to CNN. After pleading guilty and spending 14 days in prison, she also had to serve one year of probation, which she is currently serving, perform 250 hours of community service and pay a $30,000 fine, in accordance with her sentence.

Not everyone agrees Huffman received a just sentence. Many believe she got off the hook because of her fame and wealth. Others disagree, saying her sentence
was appropriate. 

According to CNN, Huffman paid $15,000 in order to rig her daughter’s SAT scores. Other parents paid as much as $200,000 to do the same and so much more. According to the New York Times, such is the case of Devin Sloane, who, like Huffman, pleaded guilty, and was consequently sentenced to four months in prison. 

When contrasted with the two short weeks Huffman was imprisoned, Sloane’s 16-week sentence seems like an eternity. 

Yet when his bribe is placed next to hers, it all makes a bit more sense. Although they both committed the same crime — bribery — it is safe to say they committed it on different scales. While Huffman’s bribe was $15,000, Sloane’s was $250,000 according to the New York Times. Rocket science is not needed to realize the monumental difference between these two amounts. 

Yes, both Huffman and Sloane served time for the crimes to which they pleaded guilty, and although the crime was the same, the bribe in itself was not. If the severity of the crime, although it falls under the same category, was different, then the sentences should also be different. This goes to say that it is unjust to believe Huffman got a smaller sentence because of her fame, when truly her fame could have given the judge an opportunity to provoke a bigger scandal. 

Huffman and Sloane both received the sentences they deserved for their illegal approach to helping  their children.

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