David Fleishman, superintendent of Newton schools, will lose a week’s pay for plagiarizing Gov. Deval Patrick in a commencement speech, the Newton school committee announced today.
Fleishman was accused of plagiarism by recent graduates of Newton South High School, who published a special edition of the school paper, The Lion’s Roar, to make the charges—despite the fact that the article’s authors, Kylie Walters and Jordan Cohen-Kaplan, had already graduated from the school and that school was in the middle of summer break.
Several parts of Fleishman’s June 9 graduation speech were nearly word-for-word copies of Patrick’s address to Boston University graduates on May 18.
“In retrospect, I should have cited the governor in my remarks as I did David McCullough Jr.,” Fleishman said. “In my judgment, it is essential that public officials not only accept critical feedback but acknowledge when we have made mistakes.”
The fine will cost Fleishman about $5,000 of his $276,666 salary, but it could have been worse. Had he plagiarized a paper as a student at Newton South, he would have received a grade of zero, according to The Lion’s Roar. Or he could have decided to resign from his position, as Brenda Hodges, Mansfield superintendent of schools, did last week when she was accused of plagiarizing a graduation speech.