Principal Plagiarizes

High School Principal Plagiarizes Graduation Message, Congratulates Wrong School

A New York principal is under fire after it was discovered that he plagiarized the graduation message left in the Roosevelt High School student yearbook. According to Newsday, the evidence against the principal is pretty cut and dry.

The message entered into the yearbook to the Roosevelt graduating class of 2014 by the principal, Stephen Strachan, was almost verbatim of Ted Barone’s message posted to the Albany High School graduating class of 2013. In fact, the closing line in the Roosevelt principal’s message even includes, “Congratulations to the Albany High School Class of 2013!”

Strachan claims it was all a big misunderstanding and that the wrong version of the statement was released to the yearbook:

I sincerely apologize to the Roosevelt community and to the class of 2014 for the inadvertent clerical error causing mistakes to be printed in the 2014 yearbook. An unedited draft of my remarks was accidentally published rather than the final version, and I take full responsibility for the oversight.

Strachan did say that he “received permission to quote from one of my colleagues.” However, the quotation did not make it into the yearbook, but rather a copy and pasted version. In the version printed in the Roosevelt High School yearbook, the only difference in the two messages was in paragraph two. In the second paragraph, Strachan did include a list of Roosevelt High School students and their accomplishments.

The school board is not upset that Strachan cut and pasted his congratulatory letter, but rather that it made headlines. Alfred T. Taylor, vice president of the Roosevelt school board, called the matter an “unfortunate mistake that occurred.” He said:

It’s unfortunate that somebody thought it was newsworthy.

Is the issue being blown out of proportion since the school only has 170 graduating seniors? Though the principal claims it was an innocent mistake, what would have happened to a student if they made the same mistake, turning in a rough draft copy of an assignment with plagiarized content as opposed the the final version? According to the Roosevelt High School Handbook, students caught plagiarizing other’s work can expect to receive a failing grade for the assignment or even suspension as it is a level seven offense.

News12 reports that students at the school think the situation is embarrassing for the school. Roosevelt Senior, Jordan David, said:

That’s embarrassing…To use another person’s words when you could have taken five, ten minutes out of your time to write a nice letter to us.

Strachan is attempting to make the situation right by having yearbooks reprinted with the “final version” of the congratulatory message. All yearbooks have been taken back by the school and new ones are being printed. The reprinting cost is roughly $800. The cost is being covered by some of Strachan’s “discretionary funds.”

In other Inquisitr news, a Monroe high school principal was also under media scrutiny over the way he broke up a fight between two high school girls.

What do you think? Is the Roosevelt principal really guilty of anything, or was the plagiarism an innocent mistake?