Two recent high school graduates made a surprising discovery about the commencement speech their school superintendentdelivered at their graduation: portions of it was copied from a speech given by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.
Jordan Cohen-Kaplan and Kylie Walters, who both recently completed their studies atNewton South High School in Massachusetts, first made the allegations in an article that ran in a special edition of the school's student newspaper The Lion's Roaron June 23. In the piece the pair noted the similarities between Superintendent David Fleishman's speech and a commencement address Patrick had delivered at Boston University on May 18. (Cohen-Kaplan was in the audience for Patrick's speech.)
"Five distinct phrases in Superintendent Fleishman's speech echo Governor Patrick's very closely," the pair wrote. The piece also noted that according to the academic policies of Newton South High School, had Fleishman handed in plagiarized work for an assignment, he would have received a zero for his work.
Since the publication of the special edition of the student newspaper, the committee that governs the school district announced in a statement that it would be docking Fleishman's pay for a week. The Superintendent himself released a statement apologizing for the error.
"In retrospect, I should have cited the Governor in my remarks as I did David McCullough Jr. In my judgment, it is essential that public officials not only accept critical feedback but acknowledge when we have made mistakes," he said.
Follow Lakshmi Gandhi on Twitter @LakshmiGandhi.