I witnessed three friends cheating on a test. I was tempted to report them, but I was afraid that there might be consequences for our friendship. My school has no official honor code, so I did not promise to report cheaters. Should I have? —Name Withheld


ANSWER If you’re out of step with your friends, it’s because you’re clear that cheating is wrong. The intervention you were considering was likely to be very costly to you. Whistle-blowers often suffer, sometimes more than those whose offenses they report. And the burden of dealing with cheating in your school shouldn’t fall on you. Still, there may be things you can do. You might write to the head of your school board and say that cheating is happening and not being detected (consult your parents first, of course).

Adapted from ‘The Ethicist’ in The New York Times Magazine