What A Fine, Fine Role Model This High School Principal Is…If The Idea Is To Graduate Short-Cut And Rationalization Addicted Students Who Try To Tap-Dance Their Way Out Of Trouble!

 

Abby Smith, a graduating student at Parkersburg High School in West Virginia, noticed something vaguely familiar about  the speech given by the school’s principal, Ken DeMoss, at her graduation last week. Later, she went home and looked for a video of a speech actor Ashton  Kutcher (formerly the goof on “The 70s Show,” the goof who succeeded Charlie Sheen on “Two and a Half Men,” and the guy who took over froim Bruce Willis when Demi Moore decided she wanted a husband with hair) gave at the 2013 Kid’s Choice Awards. Then she edited DeMoss’s speech and Kutcher’s together, and posted them on YouTube.

There’s no doubt about it, as you can see above. The principal ripped off the speech.

Some might say that what Smith did was mean and unnecessary. No, it was responsible, essential, and gutsy. Students are taught in school, or are supposed to be,  to do their own work, a lesson especially hard to convey when the internet makes plagiarism  easy to do and hard to detect. The distinction between being inspired by another person’s creative output, using it as a foundation for an original work, borrowing phrases and ideas (with attribution), and, in contrast, stealing intellectual property and presenting it as your own, is a crucial one for students to understand. When a role model, a school administer, flagrantly does what the school must teach students not to do, and worse, does this  in front of students, and even worse than that, does it in the course of a speech about the virtues of hard work, such cynicism, laziness, and cheating must not be allowed to pass unnoticed, and I hope, unpunished.

After he was caught, “Kenny” issued this epicly horrible statement, incorporating rationalizations, unethical apologies, multiple logical fallacies, a Jumbo and, of course, lies: Continue reading

Most Unethical Principal Of The Year? Maybe. Dumbest Unethical Principal Of The Year? Definitely

Principle Stenner giving David McCullough's speech. You can't see that his pants are on fire from this angle...

Principle Stenner giving David McCullough’s speech. You can’t see that his pants are on fire from this angle…

[NOTE: the original post’s headline ended with the creative word, “defeinitely,” I know not why. My demon proofer caught it yesterday, but I just read his alert. I’m sorry.]

Principal Mark Stenner delivered the commencement address for the May 22 graduation ceremonies for West Boca High School. It may have sounded faintly familiar to some of the those in the audience; after all,  Massachusetts’ English teacher David McCullough gave virtually the same speech to the class of 2012 at Wellesley High School.  That speech went viral on YouTube with more than 2.5 million views. Known as the “You Are Not Special” speech, it got McCullough, the son of Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough, a book deal. Principal Stenner repeated this famous, extensively circulated speech almost word for word,  never mentioning McCullough. He did make slight word changes and altered locations examples when necessary, but it was the same speech, and the plagiarism was noticed almost immediately.

Stenner still insisted that he didn’t  plagiarize the address . “I liked his idea. I should have said this was in part taken from him, ” he said. “In part,” in this case, means cutting some of the original, but including  details like referencing  ‘batty Aunt Sylvia” and the “maternal caped crusader,” and citing the same philosophers as McCullough, like Sophocles and Thoreau, but not crediting the man who wrote almost every word of the speech.
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Ethics Quiz: Farrakhan, Snooki, Senator Portman, and University Speaker Ethics

Pick your poison!

Your Ethic Quiz question for the weekend: Which of these is the most unethical choice to speak at a University?

Your choices:

A. Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, the over-the-top trashy break-out star of the bottom-of-the barrel cable reality show “Jersey Shore,” hired for $32,000 by Rutgers University to address students. Continue reading